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Here we pick up where we left off. . . .
Joseph and Mary – A Lesson in Jewish Law
Another distinction between fornication and adultery can be made with reference to Joseph and Mary. Mary was a virgin yet was found to be with Child. In the eyes of Joseph, Mary had represented herself to be something she was not and he had set in his mind to put her away quietly (apolyo – dismiss, divorce) (Mt 1:19) for her porneia (fornication). He had assumed that she committed fornication because they had not yet come together in a physical union. She was a pregnant virgin and they were betrothed— or promised to each other in Marriage. Joseph would have “divorced” Mary according to Jewish Law because of her indiscretions. She said she was a virgin — yet she was pregnant. In Joseph’s eyes it wasn’t physically possible — and then an Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him it was so for that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit.
In Jewish law/tradition, the Marriage is in two stages: the Kiddushin (betrothal stage) and Nisu’in (the actual marriage ceremony). In Kiddushin, the man and woman are not yet physically married (Nisu’in) and are not allowed to live together but they are still considered Bride and Groom and are by law full-fledged husband and wife. If, God forbid, the betrothed couple decide not to marry because of fornication, promiscuity that took place before they were betrothed (engaged), according to Jewish law, they are required to divorce. Joseph thought that Mary had committed porneia (fornication)!
With respect to the above, it is VERY important to make that distinction clear when one renders Matthew 19:9, for example. My point here is this: in Matthew 19:9, one must take into consideration the JEWISH laws/traditions when seeking its proper context — BECAUSE Jesus is talking to the Pharisee’s – men who are well versed in Jewish law and tradition. If the Scripture is not interpreted properly, this is where people will get their “marriage escape clause“ and use it as an excuse for divorce and a justification for REmarriage. Jesus is here telling the Pharisee’s that any man who puts away his wife for any reason except it be for fornication (which is BEFORE they are engaged — because fornication is committed by a SINGLE, UNMARRIED person) — that man commits adultery when he marries another woman (because he IS still considered Married for ANY reason other than fornication committed before engagement and marriage). So understand then by Jewish law and tradition, one was considered MARRIED when they were betrothed (engaged).
Adultery committed within the confines of Marriage does NOT, canNOT, will NOT break, destroy or nullify the Marriage Covenant Vow! Why? Because Marriage is a mirror of the relationship of the Church to Christ. The Church is His Bride. They are born-again, saved unto eternity — and there is NOTHING, but nothing, that can take that away. There is NOTHING you can do to render your relationship with Jesus Christ broken. Interpreted means there is NOTHING that can break your Marriage Covenant – not even adultery. In the Old Testament, adultery was punishable by death. In the New Testament, adultery is FORGIVEN. In John 8:5-11 is the Bibical example that Jesus Himself taught us. It is not here by accident. For the woman caught in the act of adultery, their law commanded that she be stoned to death. When they tried to tempt Jesus with this He said that if you have never sinned then you can be the first to throw a stone at her. The only One there without sin never picked up a stone to throw at her — but what He said to her is what we should be saying: “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on, sin no more.” We are a New Testament Church.
The versions of the Bible which do not interpret this passage correctly according to the original language mislead the divorcing and the divorced into believing that they can use adultery for grounds to divorce — and REmarry. This passage and others like it are NOT an escape clause. In fact, there is no escape clause found in the Bible because there was never any intention of man and woman putting assunder their One-flesh Covenant Marriage.
This world is filled with the devil’s deception in divorce and remarriage. In other words, there is a whole lot of legalized adultery in this world… One cannot know this, REmarry and ask for forgiveness for committing adultery within the confines of unscriptural Marriage because it is a continual sin — and the one who belongs to Christ cannot continue to stay in their sins.
Neither can you renounce your faith for the sake of divorcing and REmarrying or for the purpose of retaining an UNbelieving spouse. There is a serious eternal consequence to renouncing one’s faith. If we deny Christ before men, He will deny us before His Father. God knows everything you do, think and say. He knows the motives and intent of your heart. But if the UNbeliever leaves, the believer is called to peace – not to REmarriage… Just because a believer had an UNbelieving spouse does not negate the Marriage or the Truth of the Scriptures. Even in this case, the believer is called to reconcile or remain legally unmarried. ALL are held accountable to God as it is written.
All who are divorced are commanded by GOD to remain unmarried or else be reconciled to their husband/wife! (I Corinthians 7:10-11). Don’t forget the picture above with reference to reconciliation in Marriage being a type of our relationship with Christ. That involves forgiveness and restored grace to the sinner who is saved.
It is What it is. Period.
Settle it in your heart and mind: a divorced person may be legally divorced and classified single in the views of society and in the courts of this land — but in the registers of heaven, they are created male and female and for this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife – permanently. It does not matter what society thinks.
It is only death that releases husband and wife from the one-flesh Covenant (hence: 1 Cor 7:39 “A wife is bound to her husband by law as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she will, only provided that he too is in the Lord.” & Romans 7:2-3 “(2) For a married woman is bound by law to her HUSBAND as long as he lives; but if her HUSBAND dies, she is loosed and discharged from the law concerning her husband. (3) Accordingly, she will be held an adulteress if she unites herself to ANOTHER MAN while her HUSBAND lives. But if her HUSBAND dies, the marriage law no longer is binding on her and if she unites herself to ANOTHER MAN, she is not an adulteress.”)
Sin in the Family
10“Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?
11“Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12“As for the man who does this, may the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the LORD of hosts.
13“This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.
14“Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
15“But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.
16“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
17You have wearied the LORD with your words Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
(Malachi 2:10-17 NASB)
The sin of divorce not only tears apart a family but it also tears apart their Spiritual relationship with God.
- The Husband and Wife are brother and sister IN Christ. (vs 10)
- Divorce is considered an abomination and the sanctuary of the believer is profaned in divorce and remarriage to a non-covenant spouse (daughter of a foreign God) (vs 11)
- God will NOT hear the prayers of an unrepentant Spouse and will cut off all offerings and prayers (vs 12 & 13)
- The unrepentant question God as if they have the right but God makes it plain that He was a Witness between you and your Covenant Spouse who IS your companion and spouse by Covenant (vs 14)
- God warns the one who will deal treacherously with their Covenant Mate (take heed to your spirit…) (vs 15)
- God hates divorce AND the one who covers his Covenant Spouse with a garment of violence as easily as he would cover himself with clothes. He issues a SECOND warning! (vs 16)
- The unrepentant Spouse(s) who attributes what they do as God’s will for them and calls it (the divorce) as though it is good in God’s eyes WILL be disciplined. (see below)
KNOW THIS: For the UNrepentant Prodigal Spouse who continues to live contrary to what GOD says and what they know is the right thing to do; and who call the evil things they do “good” and who call the good of God as though it is evil, there is a judgment coming unless there is repentance. It is only a matter of time before God gets your attention.
Here God pronounces three “woes” and a sure judgment:
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
(Isaiah 5:20-24 TNIV)
This is the equivalent of exchanging the Truth of God for a lie! Divorce has become the acceptable norm. Forgiveness and Reconciliation are things we only give out when we finally determine the individual “deserves” it – if ever. We are the consummate know-it-alls in our lives. Oh how we think we know what’s best for us. I’m single now and I can do whatever I want as long as I’m not breaking any laws. I’ve become a champion partier and hang out with the barroom crowds. I’m busy making up for lost time. I hang out with those who feel the same way and make no judgments against them. God Who?
Look again at the picture at the top of this article. Striking isn’t it. . . It almost pulls you in. Sin is like that. The eyes are the doorway to the soul. Close that door. You know, God pronounces a time of discipline and judgment on ALL who will disobey Him. For those who will not listen to Him, He pronounces the woes. You will be lead as a bridled thoroughbred and carefully and methodically broken if you will continue to refuse to do what God is calling you to do.
The longer you stay away, the more costly the price that you will pay. . .
GO HOME where you belong. Where God calls you, He WILL provide a way. He WILL enable you to do HIS will. Guaranteed…
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