|To Have & To Hold - Destiner Press Topics|
"The Pharisees also came to Him (Jesus), testing Him, and saying to Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for
any reason?' And He answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.' They said to Him, 'Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?' He said to them, 'Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 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.'" (Matthew 19:3-9)
To Have & To Hold This topic, concerning the Scriptural principles regarding marriage and divorce, is in response to many letters from readers who have struggled with the issue.
If you are confused by what you have been taught by the hireling shepherds of the clergy or from any other "advisory" source, the Scriptural commandments concerning marriage and divorce are stated very plainly in the Bible. What the Word of God says is this. 1. Only death dissolves a marriage, that is, natural or accidental death, not the murder that some might wish to (or actually) commit in order to remarry. 2. Divorce does not dissolve or annul a marriage; it is a state of separation but it cannot undo or erase the promises that were made, and it does not leave a person free to remarry. 3. Annulment can only apply to a marriage that was never consummated and therefore was not marriage, never in fact existed. Annulment is exactly what Joseph sought to offer Mary, because they were bound and betrothed but not yet married, and he had mistaken her pregnancy to be due to her sleeping with someone else. Annulment is not divorce, because it can dissolve a union on grounds that divorce cannot. Only death dissolves a marriage.
There are innumerable "counselors"
out there who would tell you otherwise. Consider this notion by Barbara Rose,
Ph. D., author of several best-selling books: "Taken literally, this promise is broken more than it is kept. But 'til death do
us part' can be interpreted differently...In this phrase, 'death' does not need
to mean the end of physical life. It can mean the end of the couple’s purpose
for being together; once the purpose is fulfilled, the union no longer needs to
continue." Ha! What Christian sewage! This sly wordplay says you can change your
partner like your underwear, because you became tired of the flavor of the
day and the mood or purpose (whatever that means) no longer suits you. Not so, reader,
and you are literally playing with fire if you believe garbage like that.
Christians trying to slide around
this most commonly use the excuse that Paul did not specifically say that
persons separated on account of unbelief may or may not later remarry. He
did not need to say that! He had already quoted his Lord's words: firstly,
that married people are commanded not to split, and secondly, that if they
separate there are only two options, to "remain
unmarried" or "be reconciled." (1 Corinthians 7:10-15) Read
the passage again; read it carefully. Of course Paul never cites
remarriage as an option. It was not an option. If Paul had said that such
separated spouses were free to wed again, he would have directly
contradicted the Son of God who says that those who remarry are committing
adultery. If you cannot remarry after separation on the grounds of
adultery, then you certainly cannot remarry just because your unbelieving
partner walked out, or if you fled an abusive marriage, or any other adverse
situation, much less a mere change of affection. The options are the same,
try for reconciliation or remain unmarried. The churches and priests and
the world may tell you otherwise, but the Word of God certainly does not.
Jesus confirmed what Scripture tells us from the very beginning, that what God joins may not be rent apart by man, even if man vainly imagines that he can do so. Two become one, reader, and the word one quite literally means indivisible. That is why the apostle Paul warned so severely that a man who has intercourse with a prostitute has become "one" with her. (1 Corinthians 6:16) He was hammering a point home that many would think obvious, but bear in mind that he was writing to the Corinthians, an assembly that was very seriously infected by the early sect of Christians with their classic church views and antics, especially in sexual sins. And I can tell you, reader, that I have met many such churchmen who loudly proclaim their salvation in Christ and who at the same time sleep around, some even traveling to Third World countries to visit brothels or fornicate with underage youths. They have the faith of the doomed, with mouths full of religion and souls dead to the Spirit of God.
The elect are not called to imitate
the worldly and their ways; they are called to conform to the image of
God's Son, and that image is clean and pure. It does not matter what Hollywood tells you in its relentless
propagation of the breaking of all the commandments, and it certainly does
not matter what man-made institutions like the State stipulate, or the
Church (Satan's ace card) recommends or whispers in your ear. A faith that
leads people to act like them is no faith at all, and the spirit that
moves them comes from a very dark and ominous lair. The elect are to be
different, and markedly so, especially in the area of faithfulness and
The second case is that of persons who are awakened to life by the Lord, finding that their names are in the Book of Life, and have already gotten themselves into a remarriage confusion. Well, they are clearly in a very complex mess, but no more so than anybody saved from the darkness of spiritual death (cheats, false witnesses, thieves, even killers) from which the Son of God came to redeem that precise flock which the Father prepared for him before the foundation of the world. They are to abandon their previous behavior, turn around and follow a new Way, and this despite the past errors that cannot be undone.
A classic example of this is the confused Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the water well. He said to her, "You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." (John 4:17,18) It is hardly credible that the woman had been widowed five times, that during five true marriages all her husbands had died. Either she had been divorced several times, or had simply lived with all of them, moving on to the next. In other words she had become one with many more than one. She may have had a true husband (or two, if one died) by marriage in the first place, but it is almost certain that the rest were non-husbands, or husbands in name only, husbands from man's point of view. And whomever she was living with when Jesus spoke to her was not a true spouse either, not in the eyes of God.
But her case, however complicated, was not insoluble; nor is it so for people caught in the same state today, when they suddenly recognize and believe in Christ. For those regenerated while already in the so-called remarried pickle, the situation from that point on remains exactly as that described above for a couple in their first true marriage, bound under the commandments of Jesus and explanatory instructions of Paul. They cannot undo multiple vows for previous marriages (to which they are also bound but unable to fulfill) because they cannot possibly keep all those vows and still be faithful to one. However, they can apply new life in the Word to themselves now, and be faithful to the Word from now onward, namely in recognizing that only death can annul their present marriage, and only adultery or unbelief permits a state of permanent separation (Biblical divorce) without entitlement to remarry.
Those who teach that
the woman at the well was caught in a time when social conditions meant
she had no alternative but to take shelter in yet another adulterous
non-marriage or face a life of prostitution have obviously never
understood what it is to be faithful, with the spiritual strength to
resist sexual offences even at the risk of one' life. (Genesis 39:7-23)
Saying the Samaritan woman's plight was a necessity of society is
ridiculous. What! Was every divorcee or widow or spinster in Israel and
Samaria a harlot? Rubbish. Many worked in the fields, either reaping or
gleaning, in markets, making pottery, sewing or weaving at looms, or as
housemaids. They did not have to turn to harlotry. That reasoning is no
better than saying that thieves and murderers have an excuse if they come
from a bad part of town, because their unacceptable behavior is due to
their society and therefore not their fault. What kind of weak baal do
these philosophers believe in who cannot overcome society? Jesus overcame
the world. I have met hundreds of people in Third World countries and
under extreme conditions of poverty who do not use such lame excuses or
break the Lord's commands on such pathetic premises. Those who propose
such poppycock obviously have no idea of what the power of the Spirit of
the Living God can accomplish in a human heart. And his commands are the
same for all, for rich and poor, for privileged and disadvantaged.
You can also read about
similar counterfeits in Jesus' parable regarding disobedient servants in
the vineyard, those who pretend to serve Him but inwardly hate the Master's teaching and will not obey. (Luke 20:14-16) Even when their fate arrives, they will be objecting in shock and disbelief, refusing to accept that their
cherished view, their government-passed law or their church doctrine, is not
the Law of God or the Word at all. They will have an eternity to think about it.
No doubt they will still be protesting that they invited Jesus into their
hearts (classic non-Biblical church spiel and self-deception) long after
they find that they were not on His guest list. (Matthew
Lastly, if you have never been wed, and wish to know more about marriage and the Biblical reasons why it should never take place in a church or be conducted by a priest, then you will find this in detail in The Truth Which Sets Free, Chapter 10, Church Sacraments.