Dr. Brown Answers Your Questions

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Are there any biblical grounds for remarriage following divorce (while the original spouse is still living)? If Jesus said that what goes into our mouths doesn’t defile us but what comes out of our hearts, could that mean that, say, performing same-sex “weddings” in a church building is not defiling but rather individual believers speaking wrong words or having wrong thoughts? Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

 

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: As Father’s Day is upon us, let us look to the heavenly Father; for all He is is Father, and then each of us as earthly fathers, let us emulate that for our families.

 

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: It is Father’s Day this weekend. All of you, who have fathers, honor your father and bless them on this Father’s Day, and remember your heavenly Father.

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Other Resources:

Some Honest Questions for Pastor Andy Stanley, and Updates on Campus Morality and on Broadcasting Freedom

Pat Robertson’s Shocking Statement about Divorce; and Dr. Brown Catches up on the Latest and Most Interesting News

David Brickner Talks About His Dialog with John Piper and Dr. Brown Talks About the Original Language of the New Testament

28 Comments
  1. I’d like to respectfully weigh in on remarriage.

    I don’t believe Jesus taught that there can be non-adulterous remarriage after divorce. He taught that if a woman has been put away – not for fornication – then remarries another man, she’s living in adultery.

    If a faithful and loving Proverbs 31 woman can’t remarry if she’s been divorced by her husband because he wants to trade her in for a newer model, how much more a woman divorced for her own fornication? This kind of thinking puts a premium on fornication!

    Tired of your spouse? Just go downtown to Joe’s Bar & Grill, pick up somebody, commit adultery at your local motel, and then file for divorce. Marriage over, remarry the hot secretary, and God will abundantly bless your second marriage.

    Not!!!

    Fornication does not sever the lifelong covenant of marriage. It’s a permanent, sacred relationship that Jesus said becomes one flesh by Him.

    Paul wasn’t overriding Jesus in 1 Corinthians 7. Desertion is not grounds for divorce and remarriage. Jesus would have told us this, He had plenty of opportunity to do so, He only said what the Father said, but He did not tell us this or anything close to it.

    If you really, honestly, truly want to know what Jesus thinks of divorce and remarriage, ask Him. Do you know what He’ll say? The exact same thing He told His disciples when they asked Him again, for the 2nd time, about the same topic. It’s recorded in Mark. He will answer all who ask in the same manner because He has not changed. His words will never pass away.

    Mark 10:1-12 “And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”

  2. Matthew 19:9 (the Words of Jesus)

    9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

    Jesus did teach remarriage in Matthew. He teaches that if you divorce for any other reason than your spouse sexually cheating on you, then you cause her and yourself to commit adultery if either remarries since your divorce is not valid. So the flip side is that if your spouse does sexually fornicate outside of the marriage, then you may validly divorce and remarry.

  3. It is also only the innocent spouse that may initiate the divorce. The guilty spouse has no grounds for divorce.

  4. I agree with you Amy. Dr. Brown answered my question in this broadcast. What clarified it for me, other than the words of Christ and Paul (I Timothy 3:2) is from an Ante Nicene Church father :

    Ambrose of Milan in the 4th Century:

    “But what shall I say about chastity, when only one and no second union is allowed? As regards marriage, the law is, not to marry again, nor to seek union with another wife. It seems strange to many why impediment should be caused by a second marriage entered on before baptism, so as to prevent election to the clerical office, and to the reception of the gift of ordination; seeing that even crimes are not wont to stand in the way, if they have been put away in the sacrament of baptism.

    But we must learn, that in baptism sin can be forgiven, but law cannot be abolished. In the case of marriage there is no sin, but there is a law. Whatever sin there is can be put away, whatever law there is cannot be laid aside in marriage”.- On the duties of Clergy:1:25

    One flesh one time…

  5. Dr Brown mentions the Sunni-Shiite divide and I thought I would add my 2 cents, worth.

    It is a big deal but it’s not the only deal. And, I think it gets over-weighted by western pundits on some of these conflicts.

    Like any region, country or religion — the leaders are motivated by money, power, land, etc.

    And, just like in America, the politicians and rulers appeal to “Allah and country” but act in their own self-interest.

  6. oops, hit submit too soon.

    … and, Muslim nations act in their own “secular” self-interest just like any other countries: economics, national resources, security, etc.

    Lastly, are tribal and ethnic identity. And, very importantly.

    IMHO, this often is the real conflict, even as they think they are fighting over the Sunni-Shiite divide.

  7. I appreciated Dr. Brown’s position on divorce and remarriage. I think he takes a nuanced approach and respects diversity of opinion.

    He didn’t delve into the major cultural differences between ancient divorce and modern divorce.

    As I understand it, divorce was highly abusive of women. In patriarchal societies, they are “used goods” and highly devalued — maybe even forced into prostitution just to survive.

    This would explain Jesus’ hard stance against a man divorcing his wife.

    You’ll notice how, in Matthew 19, it’s all about men divorcing women and not visa versa. Very gender specific.

    Jesus was defending women, the powerless — very much in his character.

  8. PS: And please don’t accuse me of saying that women get a free pass on divorce. Obviously, elsewhere, that gets addressed. I am just saying that, in highly patriarchal societies, the impact of divorce on women could be disastrous for her.

  9. Benjamin – You missed my points. You are saying Jesus taught that the innocent spouse who is divorced cannot remarry, but remarriage for the fornicating spouse is fine. That’s ridiculous. All anyone would have to do to get out of a marriage is go out and fornicate, divorce, then remarry. Nowhere does Jesus allow remarriage after divorce. If the innocent can’t, the guilty most definitely can’t.

    Greg – Jesus forbids women to divorce their husbands in the passage from Mark 10 that I referenced. Although men were abusing their wives through divorce, like you said, Jesus was NOT gender specific.

  10. Good morning Amy,

    “Benjamin – You missed my points. You are saying Jesus taught that the innocent spouse who is divorced cannot remarry, but remarriage for the fornicating spouse is fine. That’s ridiculous.”

    No, I think you misunderstood what I was saying.

    In post three I indicated that (and i’ll go ahead and use husband and wife to clarify) if the husband goes out and fornicates with the hot secretary at the motel, he, the guilty spouse, has no grounds to get a divorce. After-all, his wife has not cheated on him. His wife though now has grounds to seek divorce from her cheating husband. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 19.

    So if he (the husband) wanted to get a divorce, he’s at the mercy of his wife. If she does not want a divorce, there is no divorce.

    I think I just picked something else up you were saying in that quote which I was not saying.

    “You are saying Jesus taught that the innocent spouse who is divorced cannot remarry”. Are you speaking of our “no fault” divorce system today? That in the scenario you are thinking of, the innocent wife was divorced by her guilty husband? If so, then the divorce is not valid in God’s eyes and neither party can remarry.

    If you meant the innocent wife divorced the guilty husband, then the wife may remarry and her guilty husband is an adulterer and he has much bigger problems (1 Corinthians 6:9) to worry about.

    My point in the post was the point out that Jesus gave one reason for a valid divorce and that was spousal sexual immorality.

    Matthew 19:9
    9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality…

    He is speaking to the Innocent, about the guilty. He’s also saying that if you DO divorce your spouse because of sexual immorality, then you may remarry without that marriage being adulterous.

    “All anyone would have to do to get out of a marriage is go out and fornicate, divorce, then remarry.” -No, it’s not that simple because the innocent spouse may not want a divorce, and only the innocent spouse had grounds to initiate a divorce. The innocent spouse may want to seek reconciliation before divorce.

    “Nowhere does Jesus allow remarriage after divorce.” -Then what significance does His exception have in Matthew 19:9? ‘except for sexual immorality’. What does the exception mean?

  11. SHOW SUGGESTION FOR DR BROWN:

    Please consider inviting Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on the show to talk about climate change.

    In the past you have doubted climate change on your show and I think it would be good to give your listeners another perspective.

    I heard Hayhoe on another radio show and she speaks very clearly about both science and Christianity (She’s an Evangelical Christian) and is respectful towards “climate deniers” like you.

    She teaches at Texas Tech and has written a book on this very subject. Her bio says that she was named one of Christianity Today’s “50 Women You Should Know ”

    Here is her website:
    katharinehayhoe.com

    Please think about having her on.

    I believe that Evangelical Christians have been given a lot of bad information on this issue, even by some good people. And, in the process, some very good people are being terribly hurt.

  12. Benjamin and Amy,

    Did Messiah disagree with or modify Moses’s instructions?

    Luke 16
    31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    Matthew 5
    17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    What does Moses say?

    A woman can be betrothed, and not be taken.

    Deuteronomy 20
    7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

    A woman can be taken, and not be gone in unto.

    Genesis 20
    3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.
    4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

    Going/coming in unto and lying with are the same thing.

    Genesis 19
    31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:
    32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

    Going in unto/lying with is not the same as being married.

    Deuteronomy 21
    13 and turned aside the raiment of her captivity from off her, and hath dwelt in thy house, and bewailed her father and her mother a month of days, and afterwards thou dost go in unto her and hast married her, and she hath been to thee for a wife:

    Deuteronomy 22
    22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

    The woman above was married to one man but was found lying with another. She was not considered married to the one she was found lying with.

    What does Moses teach about divorce?

    The background:

    Deuteronomy 22
    13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
    14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
    15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
    16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
    17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
    18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
    19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
    20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
    21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

    If the husband goes in unto his virgin bride and then wants out some time later, he may not put her away. (Vs. 19) If the husband goes in unto a woman that has been a harlot in her father’s house, he can have her stoned to death. (Vs. 21) It does not say that he may divorce her. The man would have to be quite hardhearted to use the woman for his pleasure and then have her killed. It would also be hardhearted to hold the possibility of having her stoned over her head to get his way.

    Deuteronomy 22
    22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
    23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
    24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
    25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:
    26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
    27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
    29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

    If the woman was found with another man while she was married or betrothed, she was to be stoned to death along with the man she was found with except in the case of rape. (Deut.22:22-27) If she was found with a man before she was betrothed, she was to be married to him and once again there is no divorce allowed. (Deut. 22:28-29)

    To be continued.

    Continued from above.

    When can a Husband divorce his wife?

    Deuteronomy 24
    1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

    The man may give the woman a bill of divorcement if he finds “uncleanness” in her when he marries her. The word for “uncleanness” is the word used in Leviticus 18 and 20 for incest. If the man cannot bring himself to accept her (she find no grace/mercy/favor in his sight…he is hard hearted toward her) once her condition is known, he may dissolve the marriage before it is consummated.

    If the man finds that his bride has been defiled, he may divorce her even if the marriage “ceremony” has taken place, as long as it is before he goes in unto her. The only option he has after he goes in unto her is to have her stoned to death if he wants out. And that would be very hardhearted.

    Summing up the instructions in Torah:

    From the above we find that in all cases but one the defiled woman must die if the husband is to be free of the marriage relationship. So, the only case that is different is the one where the marriage is not consummated. It is only if the man and woman never became one flesh via covenant and consummation. There is no divorce allowed in any instance when there is a marriage covenant in place and the man has gone in unto his wife…even when the going in unto came before the marriage covenant. YHWH ratifies the one flesh relationship and joins the two together once there is covenant and consummation.

    Did Y’shua say anything different?

    Matthew 19
    3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
    4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
    8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
    9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
    10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
    11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
    12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    Y’shua says that it is not lawful to divorce a wife “except it be for fornication.” “Fornication” is used in the specific sense here. He could have said “except if be for adultery” but chose to use the word that means unchastity outside of wedlock. (Adultery, which is unchastity within wedlock, is grounds for stoning, not divorce.) The woman, once she is betrothed, is in a state of wedlock (Thus the death penalty if she is found lying with a man that is not her husband). So Y’shua is stating emphatically that the term “uncleanness” in Deuteronomy 24 is limited only to defilement before wedlock. He is also restating that once the couple has been joined by YHWH, via covenant and consummation, there is no option for divorce. Man may not put this one flesh relationship asunder. “They are no more twain.”

    Y’shua carries this to its logical conclusion by saying that the only way to gain the kingdom of heaven, if a man has divorced his wife, after they were one flesh, and subsequently is married to another or his first wife has married another, is to remain celibate; because to continue to go in unto the subsequent spouse would cause him to be in a continual state of adultery. And we know that no adulterer can inherit the kingdom of heaven. (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21) This is why it is adultery for the woman to remarry…except the divorce be for fornication or her first husband dies. (Rom. 7:2, 1 Cor. 7:39)

    There is no difference between the full teaching of Torah and Y’shua’s summary. Messiah answered the temptation of the Pharisees with precision and accuracy. His stance is more stringent than the oral law, but exactly what Torah stipulates.

    The second man:

    Deuteronomy 24
    3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
    4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

    In light of all the discussion above, we are reading into the text to assume that the second husband in Deuteronomy 24 can give a legitimate divorce certificate if he has become one flesh with the woman…and there is no indication either that he has or hasn’t. (It only says that he “took her.”) We only know that YHWH considers it an abomination for the legitimately divorced wife, once she has entered covenant with another man, to return to the man that divorced her in the first place.

    There are some more nuances to this discussion that could still be hashed out, I’m sure. But for sake of brevity and cohesiveness, this should answer most of the bigger and more necessary questions.

    In conclusion:

    Matthew 5
    19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Messiah did not change anything or contradict anything that Moses commanded. He taught the Law perfectly and completely. He had to or He would not be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven…He also would have been guilty of being a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-5) If He broke the law, He is a sinner and cannot be our savior.

    He summarized the Law of YHWH concisely and fully clarified/confirmed that the uncleanness spoken of in Deut. 24 was fornication, not adultery, and that this is the only valid reason and timing for a divorce.

    Messiah covered all the bases. Marriage is only between male and female because YHWH made them and it that way. The man shall leave his parents and cleave to his wife…not to another man. YHWH ratifies the covenant and consummation by making the man and woman one flesh. They are no longer twain. They may not divorce after this. It is adultery, if they divorce, for the man or woman to remarry unless the divorce is before consummation. The hardheartedness of man is the reason that a divorce is allowed for the woman’s sake. Those that are married after being unlawfully divorced are to live as eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.

  13. Re comment 10 (Greg)

    Surprise you are a climate alarmist too? With as much overwhelming evidence we have all sent you on one issue with none of it getting through to you. I am going to leave the other liberal social issues alone and stick to the same sex issue.

    Quote from Queer thing America Dr. Brown below- You could include this for your whole social agenda Greg.

    “Whenever you do, just don’t use the same shelf-worn, ineffective arguments anymore, since they just as easily make the case for pederasty (how dreadful), and, in reality, they do not prove the morality or rightness of the homosexual practice, nor do they give us a single good reason to queer our educational system, redefine marriage, create special categories of protected peoples, or undermine gender.”

    Greg you have been brain washed by the liberal educational system. You use all the shelf worn arguments to advance liberal politics.

  14. jon,

    > Surprise you are a climate alarmist too?

    I know enough science to recognize good science.

    It is not my issue at all. I just know good science when I see it.

    >Greg you have been brain washed by the liberal educational system.

    I’m a graduate of one of the better regarded conservative bible colleges. Sheesh.

    But, see what you did?

    You turned science issue in to politics and personal attack. No attempt to consider the science at all. None.

    That’s what the “climate deniers” do. Rational people don’t do that.

    Here is a quote from Katharine Hayhoe’s website:

    >>>I don’t accept global warming on faith: I crunch the data, I analyze the models, I help engineers and city managers and ecologists quantify the impacts. The data tells us the planet is warming; the science is clear that humans are responsible; the impacts we’re seeing today are already serious; and our future is in our hands. As John Holdren once said, “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required, and the less suffering there will be.”

    – – – –

    _This_ is a rational response to the reality of global climate change. No silly turning it into a “liberal” thing. No personal attacks.

    And, done by a real scientist with relevant qualifications.

  15. Bo, you and I have already argued this elsewhere where I have shown your idea of fornication to be faulty. So I won’t touch on what we have already discussed, but I will respond to a few other things that I don’t recall discussing previously.

    In response to, “Messiah did not change anything or contradict anything that Moses commanded.”

    The very passage in discussion here states that Jesus was changing something Moses commanded.

    Matthew 19:3, 7-9
    3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

    7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

    8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

    9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    -So we have a change one verse earlier in the discussion (vv.8). “Moses allowed this, but I do not” with one exception, sexual immorality. This is at least a change between what Moses allowed, and Jesus allows. Jesus took it back to creation, the beginning. In the beginning there was no divorce for any reason (vv.3) but sexual immorality.

    Also notice that the Pharisees and Jews of Jesus’s day interpreted Deuteronomy 24’s “uncleanness” as meaning “every cause”(vv.3) which merited “finding no favor” (Deu 24:1). No indication that it is a narrow reference to incest. The word used for “Uncleanness / `ervah”, is used in Genesis 42 a couple of times to refer to the Land. The land is not incestuous. It is also used of the priests climbing the steps of the altar in Exodus 20 and 28. But the kicker here is that if “`ervah” means incest, why didn’t Yeshua correct the Pharisees? Why did Yeshua actually agree with their interpretation of Moses’ commandment? Let’s follow the discussion.

    Pharisees: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
    Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?”

    Jesus: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”

    Jesus agrees with the Pharisees, Moses allowed this. There is no rebuttal of their understanding of Moses in Deuteronomy 24. Jesus then takes divorce back to its original rules:

    Jesus: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

    But let’s look closer at Deuteronomy 24

    Bo: “The man may give the woman a bill of divorcement if he finds “uncleanness” in her when he marries her.”

    – Your description of this verse is very limiting since the verse itself is much more broad. You say “finds uncleanness” implying incest. But the passage says “some uncleanness” indicating a multiplicity of reasons which she may find no favor. The whole flavor and atmosphere of the passage speaks against this being limited to incest.

    Deuteronomy 24:
    24 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

    The rabbis and Pharisees of Yeshua’s day understood this verse to be much broader, “every cause”, indicating more than just incest. Jesus Himself doesn’t disagree with their understanding.

    Here is what Rashi says about the verse: “[When a man takes a wife… that she does not find favor in his eyes] because he discovers in her an unseemly [moral] matter: [In this case] he has an obligation to divorce her, lest she find favor in his eyes [and he might consequently wish to keep her, which he must not do, since she had committed an act of impropriety]. — [Gittin 90b]

    He says “a … matter” or “an act” which carries generality, not specificity. Basically saying “anything her husband finds to be improper or unseemly”. He also says to divorce her sooner rather than later because the longer you are with her the more favor she will find in your eyes. Which implies that it can be done later, but will be harder since she will grow on you in your affections.

    Let’s move on and look at the consummation aspect of all of this in Deuteronomy 24:1. In English, the verse indicates that this is a consummated marriage.

    “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes”

    There are three phases here. 1. Taken a wife (betrothed let’s say). 2. And married her (actual marriage ceremony taken place, consummated). Next comes 3. And it come to pass (time elapses). This is definitely a consummated marriage. But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at Jewish Translations.

    http://www.chabad.org
    When a man takes a wife and is intimate with her, and it happens that she does not find favor in his eyes because he discovers in her an unseemly [moral] matter, and he writes for her a bill of divorce and places it into her hand, and sends her away from his house,

    This Jewish version understands “marries her” as indicating “intimacy/consummation”.

    Complete Jewish:
    Suppose a man marries a woman and consummates the marriage but later finds her displeasing, because he has found her offensive in some respect. He writes her a divorce document, gives it to her and sends her away from his house.

    Orthodox Jewish:
    When an ish hath taken an isha, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no chen (favor) in his eyes, because he hath found some ervat davar (matter of immorality) in her; then let him write her a sefer keritut and give it in her hand, and send her out of his bais;

    None of them indicate incest, but merely “a matter of immorality”, “some respect”, “an unseemly moral matter”, etc, etc. And again, Yeshua does not correct the Pharisees on this understanding.

    The verse also indicates consummation before divorce by speaking of taking a wife, and then marrying her. Two events, betrothal (take a wife) and consummation (marries her). Then if after all that the man find some uncleanness in her after some time elapses, then he may write her a bill of divorcement according to the Law of Moses. It can’t really get much clearer.

    We have discussed most of the rest you mentioned, but I wanted to touch on Deuteronomy 24 in relation to this subject to show how it disagrees with your argument above.

    Thanks Bo,
    Grace and peace,

  16. Greg, I am going to gear up and send you some climate data. There are thousands of scientist jumping off the band wagon for global warming. The science actually does not back your side up. Now, I am out of the political fray I have had it with being frustrated all the time with this Obomanation going on, that is why I left Rush Limbaugh and now only listen to Michael Brown. I can not live with the political enviroment, but MB has a positive uplifting message that keeps me centered on God and not a politician. The little I have seen on the global hoax I certainly would not fall for that nonsense. The science is not even on that side, although they will tell you that they have the science. Hmm- do they??? No way do they, not even close. They will also tell you Greg to have gun control, gay marriage, and on and on and on… Give your faith to God for these politicans are collapsing our moral high position in the world.

  17. Greg, I have decided that I do not have the time or energy to take you on the climate. There is overwhelming evidence to look at the climate gate that these liberals are using to reform America. If I can not convince you on the same sex politics that you have braided with, then why take you down another road for the same result? I will take and highlight the best of from Michael Brown, which I have noticed you have not been able to take head on at all. If you can’t argue the points from the best of, then you know your argument is mute. I am not going to waste my time taking you down the climate rabbit hole until you can take on the best of argument .

  18. Benjamin,

    Thank you for answering. My post is not complete, but a concise argument for no divorce and remarriage. I agree that there are situations where remarriage is permitted, but very rarely. I probably should revise my post to be more broad concerning incest. It just looks to be the most likely idea for the time frame that we are speaking of.

    Uncovering nakedness is more than incest, but it is used as an idiom or a replacement for graphic language. It is also used literally. I do not have time right now to address your post, but have you ever considered this:

    Genesis 9
    20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
    21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
    22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
    23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
    24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
    25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

    Noah is drunk and passed out. Maybe his wife also or maybe she was vulnerable. Noah cursed Canaan instead of Ham. Why? If Ham only saw his father naked, does it deserve for Noah to curse his son? If he told his brothers about it, does that deserve a curse on his son? It does not sound righteous to me.

    But what if seeing his father naked means that he uncovered his father’s nakedness which means that he had relations with Noah’s wife? What if Canaan was the offspring of the encounter? Then we have something that makes sense. The veiled reference to incest looks to be the only way to make sense of the passage. I am not the first or the smartest one to come up with this.

    The nakedness of the priests being seen seems to be basically literal. The uncovering of nakedness seems to mean much more.

    I will try to get back to you about the rest of the points that you brought up.

    Shalom

  19. A caller asked something like about why Jewish Believers don’t seem to subscribe to the reform camp.

    Dr. Brown said his Calvinist friends got their Calvinism from the Bible.

    British Bible teacher David Pawson wrote this in his book, “Once Saved Always Saved?”

    I must add two observations from my own experience (though that is all they are). Over the years I have discussed this issue with many Christians and made two surprising discoveries.

    On the one hand, most if not all of those who believe it do so because they were told to. They did not find it for themselves but heard it from someone else. They were therefore more influenced by a particular interpretation of selected passages than by searching the Scriptures for themselves. In other words, they came to the Bible expecting to find it – and therefore did. (emphasis mine, not Pawson’s) I have asked my fellow preachers why they preach it and not one has said, ‘because it’s in the Bible’. Every one, without exception, has said: ‘I’m of the Reformed (or Calvinist) position’, revealing that the main influence on their thinking dates from the many centuries later than the New Testament.

    On the other hand, everyone I have met who has had to study the Bible without anyone’s help has come to the clusion that they will have to ‘keep it up’ if they are finally to reach heaven.

  20. Bo, as concerning marriage and what the Bible says about it, which is greater in your opinion, Jesus or the law?

    In my opinion, Jesus is the greater.

  21. Bo, I agree with your thoughts on Noah. I have never said that incest is excluded from fornication or uncleanness. But from the context and flow of the Matthew 19, Deuteronomy 24 passages, I don’t see incest as being the reason in focus.

  22. Benjamin,

    I do not think that incest is the reason in focus, but any sexual defilement before consummation. It would just seem that uncleanness spoken of, to be covered up until the wedding day, would most likely be because of incest. Premarital, voluntary fornication, would not likely be as prominent in Moses’s day and culture. Maybe I need to revise my original post to be more clear. It was intended for a brief overview that would help the unlearned see the connection between uncleanness and Leviticus 18-20.

    Shalom

  23. Ray,

    I think that Messiah and the law say the exact same thing. I think that Messiah is greater than Moses, but Moses wrote down the words that YHWH told him. Messiah is YHWH’s word made flesh. They cannot contradict. If you read my post closely you would see how the words of Messiah are fully consistent with the whole teaching of Torah.

  24. Benjamin – I understand your position but don’t agree with it because I don’t believe Jesus implied what you think He did in Matthew 19.

    You wrote, “If you meant the innocent wife divorced the guilty husband, then the wife may remarry and her guilty husband is an adulterer and he has much bigger problems (1 Corinthians 6:9) to worry about….He’s also saying that if you DO divorce your spouse because of sexual immorality, then you may remarry without that marriage being adulterous.”

    Did Jesus really say that? I don’t think so. Jesus said whosoever marries a divorced spouse is committing adultery, Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.

    Matthew 19:9 – “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (not for fornication), and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

    The Greek is “not for fornication.” This verse cannot be reconstructed by moving ‘not’ around like this:

    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth not adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away (for fornication) doth not commit adultery.”

    The innocent party theory that permits remarriage is read into this verse through rearranging the word ‘not’ (above). But Jesus isn’t teaching that fornication gives the innocent party the right to remarry. He’s teaching that remarriage after divorce is adultery. His disciples understood Him and that’s why they were so shocked that they thought it would be better not to marry.

    When the Pharisees asked if it was okay to get a divorce for any reason, He said, “No. The two are one flesh. Don’t separate what I have joined” (Matthew 19:3-6). He said ‘no’ to divorce for any reason.

    The exception clause is referring to porneia during the betrothal period. Joseph was planning to divorce his betrothed wife Mary for fornication until an angel intervened (Matthew 1:18-20), and Matthew was writing to Jews who practiced betrothal. When the disciples asked Jesus about it again when they had Him alone, He said nothing about divorce (Mark 10:10-12; see also Luke 16:18). So the Matthew 19:9 exception does not refer to adultery after the knot’s been tied, which would have incurred the death penalty via stoning, but rather to premarital infidelity.

    There are many views on divorce and remarriage. Only one of them is correct. I think Bo has it right, although I don’t agree with his interpretation of Deuteronomy 24.

  25. Bo – I agree with most of what you shared. Thanks for posting.

    I think Jesus corrected misunderstandings about the Law and also brought forth its higher/deeper and original intent.

    For example, in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, He said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill…But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…” (21-22) and “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (27-28) and “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (31-32) and “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne…” (33-34) and “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also…” (38-39) and “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…” (43-44).

    Over and over Jesus says, “It’s been said…but I say to you.” These are changes.

    In verses 31-32, Jesus is setting aside Deut 24, and in Mat 19 He does the same by going back to the beginning, to Creation where He instituted marriage as a permanent one-flesh relationship between one man and one woman. He tells us why Moses allowed divorce – hardness of heart.

    So Deut 24 is no longer the pattern to follow for believers, but the hardhearted who want to get out of their marriages will latch onto it.

  26. Amy,

    Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    The above verses are the subject matter of the “you have heard it said” monologue. Messiah is not setting aside any of YHWH’s Torah. Deuteronomy is YHWH’s Torah. Moses did not invent it. When Messiah says, “You have heard it said,” He is not speaking of the Torah, but of the teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees on those subjects. He is refuting their shallow and selfish interpretations. He is closing the supposed loopholes by applying all that YHWH said. Our righteousness must exceed that of the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. It must be true to the whole of YHWH’s word. It must come from our hearts. YHWH’s law/torah must be in our hearts to live this way. The new covenant is supposed to do this. It is not supposed to take things away from or change the law. Messiah said not to think that He was changing the law in any way.

    Messiah applied the 10th commandment to the 7th and tells us the state of our hearts when we lust. He does not change the 10th or the 7th. He tells us that to covet our neighbor’s wife is breaking the 7th in our hearts. He does not command the death penalty for lust, nor does He remove the death penalty for actual physical adultery. He changes nothing, but teaches us how all of YHWH’s word interacts and the truth of our heart condition.

    Messiah does not change the righteous judgment of “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” written in the scriptures. He condemns the common teaching that turned it into an excuse for revenge. He corrected what men had done to the commandments. Messiah condemns taking the law into ones own hands and hot retaliation. He does not let those that harm others off the hook for real losses that they cause.

    When Messiah is discussing Deuteronomy 24, He speaks of what is written. He again contradicts the Pharisees’ interpretations, but He says exactly what all of scripture teaches about marriage, divorce and remarriage. His statements line up exactly with Deuteronomy 24 and Genesis 2. He makes it clear that the only uncleanness that is grounds for divorce is fornication (not proven adultery which requires two eye witnesses against both guilty parties) and that the divorce must happen before the consummation of the Marriage.

    So the exception for divorce and subsequent remarriage only applies to those who have not consummated the marriage. The only reason that is permitted for dissolving the betrothal is the knowledge of sexual defilement of the wife. If he decides to divorce her for any other reason, he may not marry. He must be celibate…a eunuch for the kingdom. The man or woman, whether the innocent party or not, who has divorced their spouse after consummation do not have permission to remarry…unless their previous spouse dies.

    The woman does not have scriptural grounds to remarry if she is divorced or if she divorces once the marriage is consummated. The man (if he has not vowed to cleave exclusively to his wife) may marry another woman if the woman leaves/divorces him…but then he, scripturally, has multiple wives. The woman is never allowed to have multiple husbands. All previous husbands must be dead for her to have the right of remarriage whether or not she is innocent of sexual sin.

    The man that divorces his wife after consummation causes her to commit adultery. He is the one that will receive the judgement for her sin. The man that marries a divorced woman commits adultery. He will be judged for his sin. The woman that leaves/divorces her husband and marries another will be judged as an adulteress. The only free divorced woman is the one that was divorced during the betrothal period…unless her husband has died.

    In unendurable situations, if the wife leaves/divorces, she must remain single. The man may not divorce his wife no matter how unendurable the situation. He vowed to take care of her and he may not go back on his vow. If he vowed to cleave to her and her only as long as they both shall live, he may not take a second wife.

    Biblically, we do not have the right to happiness. We gave up our rights to temporal happiness when we accepted the benefit of eternal joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls. Biblically we gave up our rights to happiness when we got married too. We may have hoped for happiness, but we vowed to stay no matter what happened in the future. For better of for worse includes our spouse being very bad. We can endure and receive eternal reward or we can seek happiness in this life.

    Mark 10
    29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
    30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

    There are only two things that we will not receive more of in this life for forsaking all and following Messiah…wives and fathers. If we must leave for the gospels sake, or if others leave/disown/divorce us because we follow Messiah, we will be blessed…but not with another wife.

    Mark 8
    34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
    36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

  27. Bo – Thank you for the clarification and explanation. These are things I’ll have to think about concerning the Law and Jesus.

    You wrote, “We may have hoped for happiness, but we vowed to stay no matter what happened in the future. For better or for worse includes our spouse being very bad. We can endure and receive eternal reward or we can seek happiness in this life.”

    I agree we’re not guaranteed happiness in marriage. But I also believe, as Paul said, God has called us to peace (1 Cor 7:15). There are several dangerous life/death situations that wives (and in rare circumstances husbands) do not have to endure, such as ongoing beatings of the wife and children, sometimes requiring hospitalization; attempted murder; heroin addiction that turns the home into a drug den where other addicts hang out and shoot up, and where food, clothing, bill and mortgage money goes toward a $200 per day dope habit; and forced prostitution in order to pay the rent.

    I know marriages where all of these things occurred, and the couples are no longer together. I don’t believe these wives can remarry but they can (and should) leave their husbands without divorcing.

    God can restore any marriage, no matter how destructive – but there must be repentance first and then a time of healing to rebuild trust, if possible. It’s not possible for some women, and they need not be under condemnation for that.

    Relationships are built on trust and intimacy. I doubt I’d ever be able to trust a man who stalked me with a huge knife and tried to suffocate me with a pillow in the marriage bed. How would I be able to fall asleep next to such a demonic monster?

    Wives who’ve been physically abused by a violent husband don’t have to reconcile if they are filled with crippling fear. They can remain single and live out the rest of their lives in the peace of Jesus.

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