Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage – Part II

Watch yourselves, so that you won’t lose what you have worked for, but will receive your full reward. Everyone who goes ahead and does not remain true to what the Maschiach has taught does not know G0d. Those who remain true to his teaching have both the Father and the Son. 2 Yochanan (John) 1:8-9

There is a great deal of confusion following the dissolution or separation of a marriage. Some say both mean the end of marriage and go about their life, including remarriage. Some pray to G0d for restoration of their marriage. To fully understand the discussion one must understand that there are two types of marriages; marriage among unbelievers and believer’s marriage, but this discussion is not about the categories of marriage.

The discussion which follows is about believer’s marriage and includes only unbelieving marriage in the sense of a new believer who confesses faith in Yeshua haMaschich (Yochanan 3:16) while their spouse does not.

Standing for Marriage

Among those who pray for restoration are two groups; one is general and rather broad, and the other is legalistic and pedantic. The first group comprises believers and the scriptures they rely upon to grow in their faith despite their circumstances. The second group is comprised of the radical, or fundamentalist standers whose definition of marriage is legalistic. This group would proscribe remarriage to anyone but the first person one married; even to demanding one commits the sin of divorce after remarriage to return to the first spouse, a blatant sin in violation of scripture (G0d’s will) which they  redefine ignore [Devarim (Deut.) 24:4)].

1 Kehillah in Corinth (Corinthians) 7:15 says (in plain language) that a believer is not bound when an unbeliever departs. The word translated enslaved or bound is the Greek word for slave (δοῦλος, a slave with no rights). The believer is not a slave to the marriage and is allowed remarriage following divorce. Stern’s commentary on this verse similarly states “if the unbelieving spouse separates himself, the believing spouse can get a divorce and remarry.”  Further, Yeshua speaking to the P’rushim (Mattityahu 19: 8, 9) allowed for divorce in the event of adultery (even between two believers), meaning a second marriage for the innocent spouse is recognized.

To say that someone cannot remarry under those circumstances amounted to what scripture forbids, “They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”                1 Timothy 4:3.

This discussion of marriage and divorce subsumes the concept of what is marriage and what is divorce. It is obvious that Rav Shaul (Paul) shifts the focus of 1 Corinthians at verse 15 and begins talking about marriages that are unequally yoked. The believer is not bound as a slave to the marriage. The believer has rights the unbeliever does not and is not enslaved to an unbeliever who sins in divorce (to) them. The corollary to not being bound is to be free. Yet, radical “standers” say if one’s spouse remarries we are to pray that the marriage falls apart and they remarry us. WHAT? But doesn’t D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 24:1-4 and Yirme’yahu (Jeremiah) 3 say this is forbidden? Yes, it does. They are acting as if the word of G0d changes with the pedantic moral code.

Engagement (betrothal)

Rav Shaul wrote that he had no command from the L0rd about virgins; therefore if Mattityahu 19 is about betrothal (as some have alleged), then scripture contradicts scripture. Why contradict? Rav Shaul writes that he has no command from the L0rd regarding virgins, and one would expect in the context of Israeli culture of the day a betrothed couple would both be virgins. If then Yeshua has taught that “except for adultery” He refers to a married couple. And if a woman puts her husband aside (using unilateral or no-fault divorce) she is at fault.

There are some who teach that what G0d hates is the setting aside of a lawful spouse. Historically what this refers to is when a man would set his wife on the street and take another wife. Without a legal document called a ‘get’ she would be forbidden to marry. So the setting aside that G0d hates more than divorce is divorcing her and refusing to give her documents to prove her status. Without the ‘get’ a divorced woman could not marry another man and would be forced to beg, or prostitute herself, or to marry a man who did not care it was adultery to marry her. With the ‘get’ she could remarry legally. How do we know that a divorced woman was out from under the authority of her once husband?

Marriage Covenant

A covenant in context of a marriage is far more inclusive and restrictive than a contract for services. A covenant is a vow to do a thing and not turn away from or retreat. And in marriage the covenant stands only to be broken upon the death of one partner. To vow a thing, especially in a covenant means to bind oneself to fulfilling the covenant until death. The vows in a covenant bind the partners, but in the event of divorce, where the one causing the divorce remarries, the vow is broken, the covenant is broken. G0d detests covenant breakers. No wonder then that Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples) said “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it would be better not to marry!”

Vows

Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:3-13, which deals with vows and who may make them, who may break them, and when those vows shall stand, clearly states that a divorced woman’s vows shall stand. If she leaves her husband in divorce her ‘husband’ may not revoke her vows because she is not under his headship any longer – he is no longer her husband. So if a prodigal spouse remarries the law and G0d recognizes that (though Hashem has hated the divorce) a new covenant has replaced the old. Therefore according to D’Varim 24:1-4 and Yirme’yahu 3, a woman remarried even she is subsequently divorced or widowed, may NOT return to her former husband.

The radical standers say when the prodigal remarries the one unlawfully divorced (believer) must remain single and pray that their spouse divorces their second husband/wife to remarry them. This is false. Even when they are both believers and the prodigal believer remarries in sin against G-d, the believer is free. Now if the prodigal knows this is sin and repents should they divorce their former adulterous partner? No, they are bound and should work on the marriage they are in.

Why Not Return

The Bible says that the marriage bed is pure, so how can this marriage bed be impure? It is not for they have entered into a new covenant. But, and this is important, the second marriage BEGAN in adultery, but does not continue to be adultery. Why? Rav Shaul wrote that the L0rd’s command to married believers is ‘do not divorce.’ Therefore, for a believer to divorce their spouse when commanded not to divorce their spouse is to break faith.

Why break faith twice? Why sin against a husband or wife the first time, remarry, and sin again against another spouse? This is especially important in understanding that G0d calls remarriage to a former spouse after an intervening marriage an abomination.

Two Believers

When both husband and wife are believers, the L0rd commands (so writes Rav Shaul), ‘do not divorce.’ If they divorce, remain single or be reconciled. One note of caution: this is a scheme that some evil people engage in; that is to willfully and willingly divorce their spouse. They are playing a waiting game wanting the unjustly divorced spouse to exhaust hope and remarry. Then the guilty spouse cries adultery to justify the divorce and remarriage. This is sin according to Ya’akov (James) 4:17 and will not provide cover for the greater sin. And greater it is for one has now sinned against G0d, against one’s self, and against the aggrieved spouse. To willingly put someone else into that sin, is greater sin. Greater because though they may acknowledge their sin against G0d, (absent a subsequent marriage) refusal to reconcile causes them to have sinned against themselves and against their spouse. And to know what to do and not do it is to sin [Ya’akov (James) 47].

I have heard some men and some women say they had begun to hate the spouse they separated from; to justify their sin. The flaw in this logic is G0d’s will for his children is for them to be known for their love [Yochanan (John) 13:35]. So, to begin to rationalize an emotional antipathy for a lawful spouse leading (to saying they) hate is sin, compounded upon sin. David sinned against a man by sleeping with his wife, then ordered the man into battle to die to cover then justify his sin (she’s a widow). Murder and divorce may not be that different, if it follows that the separated spouse uses fear, then anger, then hatred to justify what G0d condemns; 1 Yochanan 3:15, Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:17 and Mattityahu 5:21. Yet, it is clear that some do so out of a misplaced sense of self preservation, fight or flight, not trusting in Adonai.

Whose Command

The command from the L0rd cited by Rav Shaul is to not divorce. The higher law, the higher purpose in the command is love; G0d’s love for us, and our love for one another. What then does G0d want of us? For us to be like him (1 Yochanan 3:1-3). The ordinal nature of the command is to NOT DIVORCE; a strong negative command reframed as remain together, married. Yet, divorce does occur, even as among disobedient children. And when it does there is a principle which allows the believer to cope in the face of a faithless spouse. Kehillah in Corinth 10:13, which tells us that G0d will make the way of escape in accordance with His will. Thus the way of escape is to pray and hold fast to the L0rd. As G0d forgives you (while you wait and work on his purpose in your life) so too we must forgive and offer G0d’s love to the prodigal.

I understand there may be a circumstance in which a believer was deceived and divorced their spouse who (knowing the truth) waits for them to come to their senses, but I also know that the same circumstances may be that the spouse who caused the divorce is so hard hearted, so stubborn they may never reconcile thus forcing their spouse into a loveless, sexless life. The Bible does not speak to this specifically, but as noted above, it is sin for the one who initiated the divorce. To the innocent spouse left behind, the higher calling is forgiveness. G0dwill provide the way of escape.

What if…

What if a wife were a believer and divorced her believing husband and then never remarried? Should the believer wait? The answer is another question; what difference is a life without a spouse (who for stubbornness of heart lives in continuous disobedience) compared to a physical illness which leaves her unable to function as a wife? Coma. Paralysis. So on… One second, one minute after the “I do” the marriage is for life. Having made a vow, one which does not depend on the other party to keep their vow, because it is before and to the L0rd, one must remain faithful no matter the spiritual state of the prodigal. Keep your vows, don’t base keeping of them on external circumstances. This matter of a believing spouse and 1 Corinthians 7:15, where the believing spouse is NOT bound, makes the matter less complex for those for whom an unbelieving spouse departs. Less complex but not less painful to see a spouse depart in sin.

How do we know? The answer is not simple. For one who lives in persistent denial of G-d’s will, for one who lives in the sin of divorce and will not repent, to live in persistent sin as a lifestyle indicates, “…they went out from us because they were not of us, for if they had been of us they would have remained” (1 John 2:19). Though this talks about the spirit of anti-Messiah, what more anti-Messiah behavior can there be but to live in sin and refuse to reconcile or repent?

What G0d Hates

From the verses in Bamidbar (re: vows) and D’varim 24 and Yirme’yahu 3) we get a picture of divorce as something G0d hates, but G0d hates sin and made a way for us to repent and to be restored. If your prodigal spouse is a believer and has not repented, wait. G0dwill deal with her. How great will our reward be in the olam habbah (after life) to serve the L0rd, having given up those things we cannot keep? For the word of the L0rd is clear, remain single or be reconciled. However, if one’s prodigal is an unbeliever, 1 Corinthians 7:15 is clear, one is free if a prodigal causes the divorce. Waiting is not commanded for those who desire to marry again.

Mattityahu 18 gives clear directions when a “believer” sins and will not repent: Though in this case there is reason to doubt their salvation in the first place; would they not have repented if they were truly in Messiah?)

 15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

The point here is that this is a process for approaching a believing spouse who wants a divorce, initiates a divorce, or has divorced another believer. Finally, there is the matter of the higher calling in Messiah. Forgiveness. He gave all for us and did not repent of the shedding of blood to save us. Should we then also remain faithful, even to an unsaved spouse in hope that they may “come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil,” (2 Timothy 2:26)? I say yes, but there is no scriptural command to wait for an unbelieving spouse. However, the same is not true of two believing spouses, where one is in denial of G0d’s command. One must wait on the L0rd, and that is enough.

Reference:

Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary, 1992. Pg. 454

Dr. Ramón de Torres           

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage: Part I

25 The woman replied, “I know that Mashiach is coming” (that is, “the one who has been anointed”). “When he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Yeshua said to her, “I, the person speaking to you, am he.” Yochanan (John) 4: 25, 26

The woman at the well had been married and divorced many times and Yeshua recognized each man as her husband, except the one with whom she was currently living (not her husband).

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Yeshua said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.” Yochanan (John) 4:17-19

Though she had been divorced a fifth time and was living with a man (not her husband) it is clear from the reading of scripture. Messiah acknowledged that she was NOT married, and had in fact been married five times. He never said she had one husband (her first husband), and He never denied the other men were husbands while she was married to them – He simply said she’d been married five times and her current lover was not her husband.

There are many who say that only one marriage is a marriage and that divorce and remarriage does NOT end the first marriage. Yeshua said [Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:9] that for a man to divorce his wife causes her to commit adultery. Those who believe there is only one marriage use this as a proof text. They say it is adultery because “man’s” divorce does not end a marriage. However, Messiah did NOT say to the woman that she had ONE husband. He said she had had five husbands. What does it mean if not that each one to whom she was married was as much as husband as the first?

To men whose spouse has divorced them, specifically when 2/3’s  of all divorces are initiated by women, being wrongfully divorced does not mean a man cannot remarry if he chooses, BUT this doesn’t mean carte blanch in marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In fact the only way a person may remarry and not call it adultery is if (for the hardness of their heart) they divorce a spouse for having committed adultery, or if an unbelieving spouse divorces them.

Hardness of heart

The higher calling in Messiah Yeshua is forgiveness and restoration! Though one may divorce an adulterous spouse after adultery, because they’ve been deeply hurt by the sexual betrayal, we are called to forgiveness when that adulterous spouse repents. They should be forgiven.

21 Then Kefa (Peter) came up and said to him, “Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven! [Mattityahu (Matthew) 18]
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. [Kehilah in Colossae (Col) 3]

Yet, with regard to a marriage a man has a duty to obey the L-rd, which includes his treatment of his wife. If it was imagined that a man has not abused his wife (physically, emotionally, verbally) yet acts in such a manner that she does not feel safe, ignoring her need for acceptance and security, this action alone may leave her feeling the only way out is divorce. So, though he is innocent in the divorce, it is reasonable to say that he is guilty in setting the conditions which forced her hand.

To ignore her needs, to not help her feel as if she is the center of his human life (above children, above the job, above all else save the L-rd in his life) he may find himself alone. This does not excuse her divorce – it is still sin and disobedience to the L-rd – rather she should have sought to pray for him in love [Kehilah in Corinth Alef (1 Corinthians 13)]

Why then does Jesus call divorce and remarriage adultery? He never explains why. He simply states it to be so. Are there any exceptions to Christ’s statement? Yes, Yeshua also said,

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. (Mattityahu 19:9)

So then ending a marriage to a wife who has been unfaithful is recognized as the only valid reason for divorce. And nowhere in scripture does it ever say that a man whose wife has divorced him means that for him to remarry is adultery. The Bible and Yeshua himself NEVER said this and for “standers” to say it sets a dangerous precedent for they are treading in an area the L-rd condemns.

I Timothy 4:1- 3 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry …”

While I am not saying those who say they are standers and preach one cannot remarry in light of a dissolved marriage have abandoned the faith, it is clear from the word of G-d what they are saying and what they believe.

 Excuses and Lies

There are Catholics and other faiths, which promote the idea that marriage given NOT under a priest or official of their faith constitutes an invalid marriage. Thus men and women of those faiths use the excuse that they “married themselves,” meaning G-d was not in the marriage. This is a lie.

G-d created marriage in Eden, before Church and State, and therefore He alone officiates at all marriages as a witness to vows made by the couple both to each other and to Him. Marriage was therefore created by G-d for all men and women of all faiths (or lack thereof) as a human institution for all time.

39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. [Kehillah in Corint Alef (1 Cor) 7]

6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Mattityahu (Matt) 19:6-7]

11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. [Kehillah in Corint Alef (1 Cor) 7 ]

 So, a wife divorcing her husband (except for adultery) is not allowed to marry again. G-d’s word clearly indicates her options; live single the rest of her life, or reconciliation with her former husband (except if an intervening marriage has occurred, more on this later).  Though these options exist, they are not options FOR DIVORCE, since He has clearly commanded that believing men and women DO NOT DIVORCE. If she divorces him for any other reason than adultery, remarriage is not allowed and is called adultery.

Why else and for what reason is the wording in Kehillah in Corinth Alef (1 Cor) 7 so very specific?

10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the L-rd): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

What command of the Lord is this? Mattityahu 5 and 19 in which the L-rd says one may not divorce except for adultery, so that if a man divorces his wife (except for adultery) he himself (when he remarries) commits adultery, anyone who marries her also commits adultery. It must, however, be noted that the Master never says the opposite. If a woman divorces her husband she causes him to commit adultery, and anyone who marries him commits adultery is not said and it isn’t written. However, the general principle may be applied.

Thus if a believer divorces his or her spouse they cause them to commit adultery. It is clear that they have abrogated his duty to the L-rd and to each other. The divorcing spouse is the cause of the adultery.

Mattityahu 19:9 gives the exception of a man divorcing his wife because of sexual immorality. It does not address a woman divorcing her husband because of sexual immorality. In fact, both passages that give the “exception clause” (i.e. Mattityahu 5:32 & 19:9) end stating adultery has been committed if a divorced woman is married.

. . . And whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. (Mattityahu 5:32)

. . . And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. (Mattityahu 19:9)

Scripture does not give a woman permission to divorce her husband. Even under the law, it was the men who were permitted to divorce their wives (Deuteronomy 24:1; Mattityahu 19:8), not the women. The P’rushim (Pharisees) asked Yeshua, “…why did Moshe give the commandment that a man should hand his wife a get and divorce her?” (Mattityahu 19:7). Yeshua’s reply is succinct and cuts to the heart, ““Moshe allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts are so hardened. But this is not how it was at the beginning. ”

Some might argue that a woman has the right to divorce her husband if he is sexually immoral. Scripture nowhere says any such thing. Jesus said no such thing.

Moreover, the very passages that would most likely be used to justify such a conclusion (Mattityahu 5:32 & 19:9), end stating anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Therefore, Scripture teaches that a divorced woman involves herself in adultery whether her husband was sexually immoral or not. Because, Jesus says repeatedly (three times, Mattityahu 5:32; 19:9; Lukas – Luke – 16:18) marrying a divorced woman constitutes adultery.

No matter the reason she was divorced with one narrow exception (more on that later). Messiah recognized that divorce ends a marriage (as He did with the woman at the well). Rav Shaul (Paul) writes that Messiah commands that believers if they divorce are TO REMAIN UNMARRIED or RECONCILE. The issue here is of TWO MARRIED CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS. If the spouse committing the divorce is unsaved, the believer (1 Corinthians 7:15) is not bound. The word for bound is the same word for slavery, meaning not bound to slavishly wait for the unsaved spouse. The believer is free to remarry.

The subject of the verse and the whole chapter is marriage, so it is clear that the believing male or female spouse having been abandoned by their unbelieving spouse is NOT BOUND. This is dynamically different for two married believers and the precepts are different, the principle involved is higher than for a mixed marriage (for the unbeliever in the marriage). That higher principle is forgiveness, reconciliation, and love.

Married believers are commanded to NOT divorce, and G-d will hold married believers accountable for the vows they speak, specifically, for their marriage vows. This short list demonstrates just that precept, G-d holds us accountable for our vows:

Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord; Kehillah in Ephesus (Ephesians) 5:22 

For example, a married woman is bound by Torah to her husband while he is alive; but if the husband dies, she is released from the part of the Torah that deals with husbands. Kehillah in Rome (Romans) 7:2

If you make a vow to God, don’t delay in discharging it. For God takes no pleasure in fools, so discharge your vow!  Better not to make a vow than to make a vow and not discharge it. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 5:2 – 4

So then, anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin. Yaakov (James) 4:17

Then Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Isra’el. He said, “Here is what Adonai has ordered: when a man makes a vow to Adonai or formally obligates himself by swearing an oath, he is not to break his word but is to do everything he said he would do. Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:1 – 2

“If, having made vows or rashly committed herself to an obligation, she gets married; and her husband hears but holds his peace with her on the day he learns of it, then her vows and obligations she has bound herself to will stand. Bamidbar (Numbers) 30: 7, 8

 When you make a vow to Adonai your God, you are not to delay in fulfilling it, for Adonai your God will certainly demand it of you, and your failure to do so will be your sin.  …. but if a vow passes your lips, you must take care to perform it according to what you voluntarily vowed to Adonai your God, what you promised in words spoken aloud. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 23:21 – 23

For marriage is a covenant and a covenant is a picture of G-d’s relationship with fallen humankind. One might say G-d hates divorce because it gives him a bad reputation. Believers who divorce and refuse to reconcile, must remain unmarried and celibate.

Now if the L-rd recognizes the marriage ended, is this for believers? Yes, and no. Yes if the unbeliever departs (see below), and NO for two married believers. But then He commands both believers to remain single or reconcile to their marriage, because for either to remarry is adultery. Yet, this is NOT permission to divorce just to remain single. It is an admission that even believers will sin in divorce.

There is no way to get around this, though the marriage is ended, they are to remain single.

On the other hand, if 1 Corinthians 7:15 applies the believer (who did NOT initiate or cause the divorce) is free to remarry. Why do I say that bit in parenthesis? Simply this, there is no permission to divorce your spouse unless it is for adultery. I would go further and say adultery is not a reason for divorce, it is a reason for forgiveness. If that spouse repents, we are obligated to forgive them and reconcile. Yet, if that spouse is an unbeliever, you are free.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 18 says if your brother (or wife – husband) sins against you… forgive. Because 2 Corinthians refers to both husband and wife as believers in marriage saying they must not divorce, and because the higher standard in obedience to Yeshua (quoted in Mattityahu 5:23), we ought to not only forgive but to restore what has been stolen. Forgiveness and restoration, and all else is disobedience.

Dr. Ramón de Torres

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage and the Bible

Marriage and the Bible

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. 14 Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly; 15 and let the shalom which comes from haMaschiach be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.  Colossians 3

Whenever I think of how good a marriage can be, I have to think about the downside, the days when things don’t go right. It is in those times that I am saddened by how far believers are from being a Single Body in Mashiach. And as evidence suggests – Christian divorce rates equal or exceed the pagan world in divorce.

Glenn Stanton writing for the Gospel Coalition remarked that.

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—whether Christian or other—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.

The common factor seems to be those who seriously devote their time to faith, and I might surmise, the time spent with a spouse. Yet one may question the often-quoted divorce statics, does Christian divorce equal/exceed pagan divorce? Yes and No. For those who are nominal faith or for whom being a Christian is a title with no deeper meaning the answer is not only yes, but more so. Professor Bradley Wright found that people who self-identify as Christian and rarely go to church have a divorce rate of 60% compared to 38% for those who regularly attend church.

The Past

Statistics like these hit close to home, but in a way that is hard to explain (though I can try). My former spouse and I attended church every Sunday, but our prayer life at home was lacking.

“I only go to church because you do and besides, it’s free babysitting.”

That statement by my ex as she ran from our marriage haunted me in the years after the divorce (I didn’t want the divorce). First, I never realized she went to church with me to please me (or wanted adult time with someone to watch our children); second, now more than ever as I realize I had a chance to witness with my lifestyle to the person I should have been the closest to and failed. Though that failure hurt, hurts eventually heal when immersed in the Word of G-d.

Finding My Soulmate

It seems small, but to me the magnitude of a soul-mate, someone I’d longed for all my life began when I first held hands with my beloved. Our hands fit together in a way that meshed my soul with hers.  Our hearts and minds fell into sync as we walked holding hands. Time slowed down. I could feel each pulse of my heart as if from a distance, slow and loud in unison with the subtle telegraphing of her bio-rhythms into mine. I didn’t understand it then, and maybe even not now, but the spiritual and eventual physical connection grew from that simple act. And when we married, we tried to go to church together to grow the spiritual, but the “modern” church we chose played music so loud it hurt my ears (severe tinnitus and hearing deficiency from years in the Navy in a high noise environment). So, we looked for and found a Messianic fellowship.

Something Missing

The Messianic fellowship was wonderful. The music was just right, soul stirring and smooth, songs sung with love for Mashiach touched our hearts. The scripture reading, sharing passages with fellow messianic believers helped us to grow in faith. We planned on and looked forward to the meetings each week. I looked forward to the drive out of town across rolling green meadows bereft of houses for miles. As the seasons progressed, for reasons we don’t understand that fellowship faded away like grass gone dormant. We stopped receiving emails from the group and began Sabbath worship at home.

Worship with my wife on the Sabbath was amazing and soul stirring and I often found myself crying tears of joy. We began praying together nightly (both Hebrew prayers and free prayers) and writing in a gratitude journal. Holding her in my arms and seeing her hands as she held the prayer sheet touched me in a way I cannot compare to any other event in my life. As her small delicate hands held the prayer sheet, they were also holding my heart.

And yet, though Sabbath worship at home, as good as it was, lacked an element necessary for healthy worship and a healthy life as it turns out. We were missing fellowship with like-minded people and my wife was missing out on fellowship with female believers, with friends.

Changes

Over time I’d gained weight and with the weight gain came snoring. My wife tried to sleep and found that she was unable to drown out the buzz saw snoring. I tried sleeping on a mat on the floor and we continued prayer and reading from there alternating to the main bed. The snoring became worse over time and I moved to my office and slept on the mat on the floor there. Yet, I felt that my snoring had excluded me from time with my wife and I keenly felt the loss of quiet time together. Life’s events continued to unfold (some happy and many tragic, such as deaths in the family) the Sabbath worship became intermittent.

My dear wife in wanting to please me went along with me, so when I neglected to remind her about worship we didn’t worship.  In all this I find no fault in my wife, I do not blame her, rather I blame myself for not changing direction to find the fellowship we desperately needed.

Present Time

Where are we now? I really do not know. All I really know, from the small dark pit in my stomach was that I failed to realize things about my wife I should have learned. I failed to realize that the days she seemed angry were not about anger, not at me, but about fear and hurt. And even if she was angry with me, the genesis to that was the same, fear and hurt, much of it caused by male pattern blindness. I had failed to realize the immense value of fellowship and friends, but most of all I failed to give comfort to my dear wife.

Our son suggested going to Life Group and we did. This was a huge event, first because I had gained a reputation in my family for not going to these religious events (a mistake I believe based on not wanting to go to a church with music so loud it hurt my ears) and secondly, because it opened my eyes to worship with others. I was amazed and happy to be in the home of a Christian couple who genuinely demonstrated love.  But like so many other parts of our spiritual life, this faded as life’s events (health scares and legal issues) interfered.

The Commands

There are two commands I dwell on in my life. The first is the fourth, and this is partially cause for the predicament I find myself in now. I was unwilling to depart from Sabbath, and even when the Messianic fellowship faded, even when the home Sabbath worship faded. For me Sabbath meant stay at home, rest, recharge body and soul with worship with my wife, but not everyone feels this way.  Some feel they need to be engaged to be happy to be satisfied with life and Sabbath is a rest from work, a rest from activity.

People are different in how they accept or experience Sabbath. What I failed to realize is that some choose to be engaged in work as a way of self-medicating. In this case from pain and the anxiety caused by pain. Work could be a salve and the mind can ignore pain when engaged. To some, Sabbath allows the mind to open and the pain rushes in.

This Will Change.

The second command that is on my heart is found throughout the Torah and the Apostolic Writings (Brit Chadeshah).

For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless. Malachi 2:16

To those who are married I have a command, and it is not from me but from the Lord: a woman is not to separate herself from her husband. But if she does separate herself, she is to remain single or be reconciled with her husband. Also, a husband must not leave his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11

That the perfect, powerful L0rd of all Creation HATES divorce should have us on our knees. The modern generation of easy divorce has done what G-d hates. But G-d, knowing we would sin so horribly also provided forgiveness through faith in His perfect son, Yeshua haMaschiach.

It is easy to see these are not unrelated verses taken out of context, the theme of G-d hating divorce, commanding us to seek His face in unity – as believers individually, collectively and in marriage. Which leads back to the beginning.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. 14 Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly; 15 and let the shalom which comes from haMaschiach be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.  Colossians 3

It is clear to see that “our heart’s decision-maker” (our emotions) need to be channeled through faith, through peace in Mashiach. When we do this, we find that “compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” become the rule instead of the exception. Running, as my ex did, is understandable, but letting forgiveness guide us when we run out of options, when we are out of peace and patience leads us to love, as my wife has. And in the end, the love of G-d.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. John 3:16 (CJB)

Recent Edits

Between the first time I wrote this page and now have been many events that have tried our souls. My wife and her son… has lost 3/4’s of a lung due to a blood clot and has to stop working. Had the doctors removed the non-functioning remnant he would be able to work, but the 1/4 lung fills with air and won’t “exhale” so to speak. It inflates and does not deflate so he has to be careful to not work out/exercise too hard. Even job type work.

Thankfully my beautiful wife was able to guide him through the process of disability. It is difficult, there are still challenges, such as insipid doctors who do things that make no sense and we start over again, but G-d is with us.

My wife and I are far happier now than ever. No number of challenges that have come our way have made us give up, for we walk in Maschiach. He alone is our comfort and shelter. To anyone who divorces their spouse “because <name any gaumless reason>” without the proper and appropriate BIBLICAL framework, you are missing out on blessings too great to explain in this small space!

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 28, 2020                      

Marriage and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

[Foreword: This post began as a sermon I preached for the Christian Motorcyclists Association, Chapter 651.]

There are probably a lot more motorcycles in museums than we realize, and motorcycles like our lives and especially our marriages aren’t meant to be put in a box surrounded by a rope or glass, but are meant to be exposed to light, to wind, and in marriage we are to be exposed completely to another human being. I believe this message applies to everyone, whether you are married in this life or a member of the Bride of Messiah, for the angel in Revelations says, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Revelation 21:9.

Our lives before a lost world are meant to shine. Luke 11:33 expresses this sentiment best saying, “No one having lit a menorah (candle stand) hides it, nor puts it under a basket, but on a stand, in order that the ones entering may see the light.” The essence of this is that a lamp like a motorcycle or a single life or marriage are meant to be used, not hidden. When I say used – in marriage, I mean where there is an active participation in both partners who demonstrate G-d’s love for each other, a shining light in being godly in Messiah.

The relationship of this expression when referring to a motorcycling lifestyle is in its use, where all the parts contribute to a safe and fun ride! We benefit through being a living example of a lifestyle that combines the best of motorcycling and our passion for Messiah! Rav Shaul (the apostle Paul) wrote, “Therefore, brothers, I call on you through the compassions of YAHWEH to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to YAHWEH, which is your reasonable service.” Riding a motorcycle is a lot like that, a living offering to G-d; without inspections and tune-ups motorcycles and marriages run down. Here are some further thoughts on marriage and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

Walk around, develop an awareness of what’s right.


Matthew 6:22-23 that ’The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So, if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Having a stingy eye is a Hebrew saying which equates the state of generosity to goodness in the heart of people. When we have a good eye, are generous, it can be that this generosity of character includes a clearness of vision which is a readiness of heart to clearly and honestly inspect what we see; a motorcycle, or the heart of a spouse.

In other words, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceit. He shall lift up the blessing from YAHWEH, and righteousness from the Elohim of Yeshua” (which means G-d saves) Psalms 24:4-5. The idea of clean hands and a pure heart related to a motorcycle maintenance is understood as making sure the tools are in good repair and clean, and that our heart (our intentions and beliefs) are to make accurate estimations and repairs or maintenance before the ride.

Shifting your attention into “what’s different” mode may help you spot minor issues before they become big problems. Even though using your eyes to gauge your bikes condition sounds simplistic, other than wiping bugs off the shiny parts when was the last time you looked at each component of your bike? You might miss something that needs attention without looking over each separate part of your bike. The same is true of a marriage.

Example: I heard of a man whose wife love tchotchkes, knick-knacks, and would put them on the window ledge in the living room and kitchen, both of which faced the street. Because he was embarrassed by these diminutive mementos when he dusted the living room or straightened up in the kitchen, he would move them down to the tables below the windows; and she would put them back up. One day his wife became ill and as happens in stories like this, after a brave battle with her illness she passed away. After her funeral as he was sitting distraught in his living room, he noticed that since she’d been ill, she’d never put her beloved tchotchkes back on the window ledges. In tears he strode across the room and carefully, lovingly put each one in a special spot on the window ledges. He had realized, it really wasn’t about those little ceramic statues, it was about loving his wife.

Wash Me Whiter Than Snow


The best place to start is carefully washing your motorcycle. The importance of cleanliness is often understated, because scripture records that G-d will “Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:9. Whiter than snow means a level of cleanliness that is pure. Even though some claim that a bike that is dirty and has bugs plastered on it means the bike is being used, the fact that dirt hides defects is clear.

The brother of our Savior Ya’akov (or James) wrote, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body” James 3:2. Bridling the body begins with self-introspection, a type of troubleshooting for the spirit that resembles maintenance of a motorcycle.

The Psalmist tells us to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverbs 4:23. Check for fluids where they don’t belong; find what flows out of a motorcycle. Find out if it’s gas? Oil? Coolant? Then follow the trail to the source. Similarly, we find leaks that spring from our heart expressed in our lives and speech may be used to troubleshoot relationships.

King David wrote, “Examine me, O YAHWEH, and prove me; purify my reins and my heart” Psalms 26:2. Examining motorcycles for these leaks is important – they come from the heart of the machine. Verbal leaks (so to speak) appearing in speech come from the heart. For we understand that each leak has at its source a defect. Don’t let your words be a defective leak in your character. Yeshua said, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall account for in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by you words you shall be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37.

The Working Parts of the Body


Rav Shaul wrote to Timothy, “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8. In this he was referring to the value of submission of the body to the spirit. Additionally, he wrote that discipline or training of his “body like an athlete, training it to do what it should” (1 Corinthians 9:27) was how he prepared for rightly dividing the word of truth in preaching. Physical training aids mental and spiritual development and the submission of the body to the Spirit. Examination of the critical parts of your marriage is more important than of your motorcycle. In 1st Corinthians 12:20 we read, “As it is, there are many parts, but one body,” referring of the body of believers comparing the body of the church to the human body and the importance of the whole body where no part has preeminence. The same is true in marriage, each partner brings a specific benefit to the marriage.

We read in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, R9but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Just as there are many parts and one body in the church and in marriage, motorcycles have many parts each important. Some may say, “I bought a bike and removed all the chromed parts. I didn’t need those.” True, but think of those bits as you would clothing. You can change clothes, but how often do you change out parts of your body? In marriage we’ve become one body.

The Moving Parts


Examine swing arms and all moving parts. Check the suspension linkages. If you have an older bike or one without sealed bearings hit the grease fittings with a grease gun till the grease oozes out the other end. If your bike has a chain, check the tension, check whether the links are dry and need oil. Check (and touch) any boots or seals you can reach for damage. Check visible wiring for the starter, battery, headlights and signal lights and check the horn. Check your battery if you haven’t put it on a battery minder, then test all lights again. Test the brakes. Check your insurance and your plates renewal dates.

As simple as this sounds shifting your attention into a “what’s different” mode for your marriage may help you to see those inconsistent, minor annoyances and deal with them before they become a huge issue. Some marriages suffer over small stuff that built up over time. So before small things like-oil-leaks-on-a-bike build up, take care of the little issues in your marriage, investigate and search out the source, pray over the issue and give it to G-d. Then involve your spouse and work on it as a team.

Example: There was a man with the bad habit of leaving the toothpaste uncapped, tube squished in the middle and smears on the sink. His wife soon grew tired of cleaning up behind him, but thinking it petty to argue over toothpaste remained silent. Over time this small annoyance became larger, almost to the point of starting new arguments over other issues. Because he cared about his wife, he reasoned that arguing over toothpaste was not as important as his wife, so he began a routine of capping the toothpaste, cleaning up and putting away. For a week or so things were quiet, no arguments about toothpaste or other issues. One day she came to him angry and crying. “What’s wrong” as he hugged her; she replied, “You aren’t brushing your teeth and we can’t afford a visit to the dentist!”

Motorcycle maintenance is ongoing, and so is the work you do in marriage. A good marriage should last a lifetime. And though there are motorcycles well over 100 years old, they are of little use behind glass or roped off. An hour on the motorcycle, and the hours spent on a good relationship will last a lifetime and both beat having your bike towed, or being towed to divorce court.

And finally remember what Ya’akov (James) the brother of our L0rd wrote – “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19. It is better to listen than to talk if you aren’t committed to the dialogue. So, make an effort in maintaining your motorcycle to ensure a safe ride, but more than that make every effort to cleave to your spouse in goodness and in the fellowship of like-minded believers!

Father G-d I ask that you hear the unspoken prayers of the heart for each believer here. Let this prayer grow into action and prepare us for a lifetime of service to each other, and to you for your glory!

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 26, 2020

Far Country Forgiveness

There is a hidden argument in a member only marriage ministry group. Essentially it is this, G-d doesn’t forget our sins because He is ALL powerful and to forget means He isn’t omnipotent. Yet it is also true that an eternal ALL powerful G-d could decide He will NOT revisit, nor re-accuse, nor pull up from memory sins HE has wiped clean. He makes our sin as if they no longer exist (Isa 43:25; Heb 10:17). I am in awe of that because that is what He did FOR me when His Ruach HaKo’desh (Holy Spirit) helped me say, “I forgive you” to the woman who accidentally ran me down as I rode my motorcycle to work.

And by the way… the motorcycle I was on was one HE asked me to purchase. As I drove passed Legends Motorcycles I heard G-d say “buy a motorcycle” when I already had a motorcycle. He repeated the command with the same quiet intensity and, braking quickly, I turned into the cycle shop. Several hours and two motorcycles later I conducted an online search for a motorcycle group that was also a ministry because I could think of no other reason to buy a motorcycle when I already had one. I literally had no other idea why G-d would tell me to buy that motorcycle. (Edit: I have since been ordained as a Messianic Minister and become chaplain of the motorcycle ministry, Christian Motorcyclists Association – CMA.)

G-d prepared me in advance of that day. I was there for that woman to tell her “I forgive you” as she knelt over me crying and to quote scripture to answer her plaintive, mournful cry, “Why did this happen?” She died one month later. It’s sobering to think I may have been G-d’s last effort to reach her, the last person to show her the power of G-d’s forgiveness and love.

So, don’t think that standing for your marriage is without reason, without a plan. Only G-d knows the plans He has for us, and if He decides to share that plan before the main event… you are doubly blessed.

Dr. Ramón de Torres

Edited: June 26, 2020

The Three I’s of Marriage

by Dr. Alma Elizabeth de Torres y Sandoval

[Foreword: I asked my wife to write this after she had come home, not immediately, but after a period of time when she appeared comfortable, acclimated to being home.]

The foundation of a great marriage is to love G0d more than you love your spouse and he or she do the same. According to Mark Twain we should heed this statement, “When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.” With G0d first in your heart, He will lead you to your soulmate.  The three I’s of marriage are individuality, interdependence, and intimacy

Individuality

Individuality is vital to a marriage because you must love yourself to know how to love your spouse. Another quote from Mark Twain reads as follows. “Men and women — even man and wife are foreigners. Each has reserves that the other cannot enter into, nor understand. These have the effect of frontiers.”  As is well known, men and women are different. I once heard it said that marriage can be viewed as 70% -30%.  Seventy per cent of what I know and understand about my husband, I cherish.  Thirty per cent I am still figuring out or have accepted as his ways.  This also works in reverse.

My husband may find 70% of my characteristics are acceptable and 30% are still in process in his brain. For example: my husband’s 70% to me is touch and words of affirmation, and his 30% includes leaving the cabinet doors open. Additionally, as the wife I perceive that my 70% to my husband includes words of affirmation, touch and acts of kindness, and my 30% involves times when I ask questions to his questions for clarity.  (He sometimes prefers that I just answer the question.)

Interdependence

Conversely, interdependence can and should coexist with individuality. Franz Schubert once wrote “Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife (spouse).”  Friendship is a great part of the marriage relationship. Think of your spouse as your best friend and treat him or her accordingly.

Intimacy

When there are times of feeling disconnected in the marriage, intimacy may be the root cause. Physical and recreational intimacy are important aspects of marriage. Intimacy may be seen from various perspectives: Spiritual, intellectual, and emotional. Touch is vital in my marriage.  Holding hands and showing other forms of affection brings me closer to my husband.  Spending time together in recreation (ex. riding bikes) brings out another aspect of who we are in a different setting. 

Growing spiritually intimate requires reading the Bible and praying together habitually. Knowing that when you learn something new and you can share it with your spouse, you can both show validation and interest in each other’s ideas. Emotional intimacy requires sensitivity and loving responses.  “… (caring for) our spouse (in the areas noted), even when we ourselves feel out of touch, is the key to feeling this sort of genuine, robust connection. This type of connection does more than give us warm and fuzzy feelings for a moment. It helps ground us in the intimate love of the one in whom our connection is eternal and unfailing: G0d himself (Josh Squire).”

Unity

Mark Twain pointed out that “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” Love is shared and brings about unity to the marriage.  As stated above the three I’s of marriage include individuality, interdependence, and intimacy.  Marriage is a work in progress and requires incessant vigilance.

Dr. Alma Elizabeth de Torres y Sandoval

Resources

Quotes from the literature written by Mark Twain were retrieved from https://www.azquotes.com/author/14883-Mark_Twain/tag/marriage

The quote from Franz Schubert was retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/franz_schubert_325151

The article written by Josh Squires was retrieved from https://www.desiringG0d.org/articles/marital-intimacy-is-more-than-sex

Edited: June 26, 2020

On Submission: Respect and Love

Too often one hears “wives submit” without the responsibility of the husband to love their wives. Women are commanded to respect their husbands and husbands are commanded to love and cherish and to care for and love their wives just as BOTH are to commanded to submit to Messiah G-d! Women are not lesser than men, and both are commanded to submit to the L0rd, so why are we commanded in this manner?

21 Submit to one another in fear of the Messiah. 22 Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the L-rd; 23 because the husband is head of the wife, just as the Messiah, as head of the Messianic Community, is himself the one who keeps the body safe. 24 Just as the Messianic Community submits to the Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

32 There is profound truth hidden here, which I say concerns the Messiah and the Messianic Community. 33 However, the text also applies to each of you individually: let each man love his wife as he does himself, and see that the wife respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:21-24 and 5:32-33 CJB

Men so easily understand respect from the perspective of understanding authority. For example; when I was active duty Navy, I found myself in a situation wherein my commander was wrong and I said so. He commanded me to stand at attention and proceeded to yell at me just inches from my face. Was he wrong? Yes, he was but his authority was greater and I submitted to a dressing down without a qualm.

Men understand this type of authority and respect. Women do as well, however women intuitively, intimately understand love. Women are able to live in love more so than men; they don’t have to be commanded to love or cherish their husbands. Men don’t have to be commanded to give respect. G-d, having created our being and nature knows that we have to be commanded as a reminder seemingly counter to what we understand intuitively. Commanded almost as if contrary to our fleshy nature, which indeed it is.

So, G-d’s commands are issued where we exist in the areas of greatest need in marriage! Men are told to love, women are told to respect; both from G-d’s Holy perspective.

Dr. Ramón de Torres

Edited: June 25, 2020

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

On Marriage Norms

Norms

This is a reposting of a previous post.

1. Remember that we love each other.20161005_125917

Ephesians 4:2-3 — Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom.

2. Listen respectfully when the other is speaking.

Luke 11:28 — But he said, “Far more blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

3. Provide opportunity for the other person to speak.

Proverbs 15:23 — People take pleasure in anything they say; but a word at the right time, is very good

4. Choose to be solution oriented.

Proverbs 3:6 — In all your ways acknowledge him; then He will level your paths.

5. Acknowledge that Adonai is the ruler of the Universe and also our home.

If it seems bad to you to serve Adonai, then choose today whom you are going to serve! Will it be the gods your ancestors served beyond the River? or the gods of the Emori, in whose land you are living? As for me and my household we will serve Adonai!

5A. Acknowledge the plain meaning of scripture –  II Timothy 3:16 — All Scripture is God-breathed and is  valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.

6. Take time to relax together, unwind, date night.

Ecclesiastes 11:10 — Therefore, remove anger from your heart; and keep from harming your body; for neither adolescence nor youth has any lasting value.

6A. Sex – I Corinthians 7:5 — Do not deprive each other, except for a limited time, by mutual agreement, and then only so as to have extra time for prayer; but afterwards, come together again. Otherwise, because of your lack of self-control, you may succumb to the Adversary’s temptation.

6B. Personal time – Matthew 6:6 — But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Your (heavenly) Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

7. Honor your vows, do not make rash promises.

Ecclesiastes 5:4 — Better not to make a vow than to make a vow and not discharge it.

 Barriers and ConcernsIMG_0031

8. Scheduled time for each other – body clock, needs to take into consideration for work.

Ecclesiastes 3: 7– a time to tear and a time to sew, a time to keep silent and a time to speak

9. At times the articulation of situations is difficult because it may be stated in a way that is not received well by the other person.

Jeremiah 33:3 — Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. ‘

10. Express needs in a timely manner; seek to clarify not confront

Ephesians 4:26 — Be angry, but don ‘t sin – don ‘t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger;

11. Take time for personal health – hormone levels & allergies, family, social relationships, personal choices with time usage, and husband – work and other.

1 Peter 5: 7 — Throw all your anxieties upon him, because he cares about you.

12. Learn to focus and listen for meaning in the moments of silence.

James 1:26 — Anyone who thinks he is religiously observant but does not control his tongue is deceiving himself, and his observance counts for nothing.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 — a time to tear and a time to sew, a time to keep silent and a time to speak,

Potential Solutions20170624_222419

13. Prioritize/Honor scheduled times, whenever possible. If not then reschedule next opportunity.

Colossians 4:5 — Behave wisely toward outsiders, making full use of every opportunity

14. Articulate the feeling in difficult situations in a way that is received well by the other person.

Ephesians 4:29 — Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them.

15. Never assume understanding, ask for clarification before action.

Proverbs 4:7 — The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Goals and Opportunities

16. Honor commitments.

2 Timothy 2:15 — Do all you can to present yourself to God as someone worthy of his approval, as a worker with no need to be ashamed, because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of the Truth.

17. Articulate feelings/needs in a kind and timely manner.

Proverbs 16:24 — Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and healing for the body.

Dr. Ramón de Torres                         Next Page: On Marriage and Faith

Edited: June 25, 2020

On His Love for Us

There is a difference between knowing G-d can and G-d will, and there is a difference between praying for restoration and letting your only faith be in G-d, such that your prayers reflect what He desires of you; and that is, to be His alone!

When you understand the difference, when G-d is your only source of Joy, then is when miracles happen, because He knows you are His and His alone. All you can do; all that Father Adonai wants of you is to make Him first in your life. Let go of everything else and walk in faith.

Human being, you have already been told
what is good, what Adonai demands of you —
no more than to act justly, love grace
and walk in purity with your God.
Micah 6:8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

His love is greater than our human love, better, stronger, deeper. His love was enough that Yeshua endured the torment of crucifixion. Let this love consume you, and when it does you will pray after His will!