Without controversy or exaggeration, it is fair to declare that there have been plenty of oral arguments made and articles written within Christendom regarding divorce. The commenter’s who claim knowledge and understanding of divorce range from every spectrum of position within the Christian faith.
The primary theme predominantly conveyed by these claimants is the well known statement, which is considered to be the sum of God’s attitude toward divorce – that being “God hates divorce.”
It is taken from Malachi 2:16 where the prophet speaking in place of God says “he hateth putting away” (KJV). It means one spouse casting away the other spouse from having a joint fellowship together, removing all obligations, physical connections, and provisions the expelled spouse may require or expect.
If so much of what they declare were not so disturbing and detrimental to all Christendom their declarations and counsel would be entertaining.
The associated topics correlated to divorce within these discussions have been varied, i.e. infidelity, mental exhaustion, unhappiness, or can’t get along, as well as forgiveness, the church’s dealings regarding ministry in the church by those who have been divorced, or complete prohibition from divorcing, etc.
So, if the discussion on divorce has been so broad and exhausted, why would I think that I could add anything to the mix that hasn’t already been offered? Well, if you have read my book or my other articles on this blog, you will probably correctly assume that what I have to say will not be a regurgitation of these discussions.
Not only that, I hope to set straight much of the false counseling and expositions proclaimed by those who base their musings on divorce from their false and unbiblical concepts of marriage. However, I’ll just say what I have to say and let you be the judge.
I will declare this right out of the gate, ”One can only have a true understanding of divorce (putting away) when one has a true understanding of Biblical marriage.”
Listen carefully to what I have to say, which gives greater meaning to my title. Divorce can only occur within a qualified Biblical marriage (to know what I mean by Biblical marriage, you will need to read either my book or previous articles on this blog). A Biblically honorable marriage (Hebrews 13:4) must exist first before divorce can ever be considered an option.
If a marriage, which can only occur between a man and woman, is Biblically unqualified, any idea of divorce is non-existent. It is impossible to divorce when an illegitimate marriage exists, regardless of the existence of civil documents, vows, or covenants.
Many, many, many have believed in and exercised false Biblical marital concepts or secular protocols, whereby, assuming they are or have been legitimately married before God, when in fact their union is or was fornicated and unqualified. Under such a fornicated unqualified union divorce isn’t possible. They are or were deceived in their so-called divorce as they are or were deceived in their so-called marriage. One must get marriage right before one can get divorce right in whatever one advises, exercises, or proclaims.
The authorized declaration by Malachi of the Lord saying “he hateth putting away” is based on a legitimate marriage (sexual intimacy). It is asinine and foolish to think that the Lord would hate putting away if two that are joined are defiled (fornicated) to begin with. He would hate the defiled connection and wouldn’t even consider that any one of the two could put the other away. Again, putting away can only occur within a real and legitimate marriage.
Jesus gave us this example of a legitimate marriage and the consequence of divorce in Matthew 5 & 19, Mark 10, and Luke 16 when stating that whosoever puts away his wife, if he marries afterward, he and the other woman will be committing adultery, and whoever the put away wife marries, afterward, she and the other man will be committing adultery.
Now notice that Jesus said “marry another”. Does this mean a vow, a covenant, or a civil document? Is it possible to commit adultery toward a spouse by these? If I go out and vow or covenant or acquire a civil document of marriage with three women and not be sexually intimate with them, will I have committed adultery with them against my wife? This is why the word “marry” is used in each text. It denotes sexual intimacy and not anything else. This is Biblical marriage when it is right, and adulterous marriage (fornication) when it is wrong.
We see this truth in another text, Romans 7:2&3. Notice it says that if a woman be married to another man while her husband lives, she shall be called an adulteress. Again, is it the vow, covenant, or document that the Scripture is referring to? Not at all. I think we all know how adultery is committed. It is a sexually intimate engagement that is illegitimate and defiled. Notice that the act of adultery in this text, like in Jesus’ statements, is considered marriage and not just adultery. Once the marriage occurs, it is never undone, except for death of one of the spouses only within a legitimate marriage.
You spouses that have had a Biblical marriage and take back your unfaithful adulterous spouse are taking back a married person. They are not just married to you anymore. They have “put asunder” your Biblical marriage. Hence, the reason for Jesus to include in Matthew the exception clause, where if the putting away is from committing fornication (adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, polygamy) then all of what he goes on to say is void and irrelevant.
Why...? Putting them away will not be the cause of adultery for either spouse - the unfaithful spouse is already defiled and has put asunder the Biblical marriage, setting you free to remarry. They will always be defiled and married to you, but you will still be undefiled and no longer married to them.
And as I have already made very clear in other places, the putting away spouse having knowledge of their fornication must put them away to keep their self from being defiled right along with them, because they are illegitimately connected sexually to someone or something else. To stay pure for remarriage, they must avoid sexually the unfaithful spouse and put them away.
It is the law of physical sexual connections, which are established into creation that must be respected and administered in the way that God designed it. That way is “…he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female… and they twain shall be one flesh…What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4-6). Any other way will be in violation of that natural law and consequential. Repentance, faith, or forgiveness will not remove the consequence, no matter how much you wish it. One has to live with it.
So, not all people in the church who are divorced are worthy of ministry. In fact, many who you think are married are not worthy either. Some who you consider single are in fact married or have committed adultery or some other fornication. It’s just through ignorance, and wrong doctrines, they think otherwise.
You can thank this ignorance and those wrong doctrines for perpetuating the situation within the church. The only way it will change is for God’s people to understand Biblical marriage. Understanding marriage will make understanding divorce a piece of cake.
So, God does hate divorce when it involves a true marriage because of what it will most likely produce – fornication. I, therefore, advise all Christian counselors, pastors, teachers, and any other instructor within Christendom to learn true Biblical marriage.
I was going to expound on the Bill of Divorcement, but I will do this in another article.