Jesus Teachings and Marriage Definition
While they asked Him (Matthew 19) about divorce, Jesus overlooked their question and took the opportunity to teach them about the law of marriage, emphasizing that divorce is not an annulment of marriage in Godís law, a law that He came to reinforce and fulfill, as He said:
Matthew 5:17-18 - NEW KING JAMES
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled."
Matthew 19:3-12 - NEW KING JAMES
"The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for [just] 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 said, '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 not 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, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, 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." His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with [his] wife, it is better not to marry." But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only [those] to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from [their] mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept [it], let him accept [it]."
Divorce in itself is not a sin, but the consequence of it, like marrying another is a sin. Thatís why Jesus said:
1. Who divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery,
2. He who put his wife away causes her to commit adultery.
3. He who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Divorce was provided, because of "the hardness of their hearts", that is, because they could not get along with each other. Women failed to regard their husbands and husbands abused women. On both sides they failed to love and care for each other. Moses did not change the law of God. With the law of divorce he didn't cancel marriage, but only allowed separation.
It is better to allow a woman to leave her husband than to be abused. However she was not permitted to marry another man, but she was to go back to her father's house or some other relative. Then divorce created a new problem. Because women in those days were not readily able to support themselves if they didn't have any relatives. Life was difficult for them, and they were tempted to marry another man for better life. Therefore Jesus and the apostles said that man cannot put away his wife and not be guilty of sin on her behalf, because as soon as a divorced woman engages in a sexual act with another man, it becomes sin, not only for those committing the act, but also for her first husband who put her away.
After a couple gets married and becomes one flesh, a man undertakes the responsibility for the actions of his wife. This is similar to today's secular law that makes parents responsible for the actions of their under-aged children, likewise on the job site a manager will answer for the mistakes of workers under his authority, and be punished for his employee's misdeeds along with them. All secular laws are based on the laws of God. People could not think of better laws then the laws of God which they recognize as good. The problem is that people are also good at twisting and breaking the laws, Godís laws as well as their own laws.
There is a lot of twisted understandings about divorce. Mosesí version of divorce never meant to be an annulment of marriage, and never gave a right to remarry.
Here is one more twist, a very popular misconception in understanding the teachings of our Lord Jesus, and the scriptures.
Matthew 19:9 - NEW KING JAMES
"And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adulteryÖ"
In that verse it seems that marital unfaithfulness is the only lawful ground for divorce, in any or every established marriage including a second or third marriage. However by reading different translations a different understanding is emerging:
Matthew 19:9 - NEW AMERICAN BIBLE
"I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."
We can clearly see that those verses say almost the same thing, but are phrased slightly differently, making a huge difference in the meaning. This translation is pinpointing that the reason for a man to divorce his wife is if they were engaged in an unlawful marriage in the first place. An unlawful marriage occurs when a newly wedded husband finds his newly wedded wife to not be a virgin.
Then he not only can, but should send her away, because she committed forgery by lying about her marital status. Being not a virgin she is a wife of the man that first took her virginity. By being already married she commits the sin of adultery, she cannot become the lawful wife of second man.
This New American Bible translation is more accurate in its aliment with Deut.22:20-21 than the New King James translation. Marriage is unlawful when a woman is found to not be a virgin. And that man who finds his newly wedded wife to not be a virgin has the obligation to send her away or else he would be a guilty of adultery, even if she is a divorced woman. Divorce is only separation, but not an annulment of marriage.
We are confusing the biblical law of divorce with the secular law. Only the secular law of divorce allows the annulment of marriage, but biblically it is not so, because it was not so from the beginning. The Apostle Paul states this plainly
1. Corinthians 7:10-11 - NEW KING JAMES
"Now to the married I command, [yet] not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from [her] husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to [her] husband. And a husband is not to divorce [his] wife."
Marriage was and is a great responsibility. The desire for a romance and the sex drive, the desire for having a family and children is great, but all the trouble associated with it, vulnerability to sin and to fail is so much greater. Paul says, it is not worth it, it is much better to exercise self-control, especially for someone who desire is holiness and sanctification, who is called to serve God, according to our Lord Jesus, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. A lawful marriage is not sin, but to marry and not sin, and be saved is very difficult.
Matthew 19:12 - NEW KING JAMES
"For there are eunuchs who were born thus from [their] mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept [it], let him accept [it]."
1. Corinthians 7:8-9;28 - NEW KING JAMES
"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn [with passion]."
"But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you."
Marriage is a law of irreversible commitment, and even Jesus cannot change that law, but what Jesus can and will do for those who broke that commitment is to allow them to repent their sin, but they need to go back and obey the law (John 14:21-26). Jesus can help those who failed, but only if they be willing to become eunuchs for the sake of the Heavenly Kingdom. Only those divorced who are willing to remain unmarried, and sexually inactive, those through forgiveness Jesus can rescue from eternal death. That was His mission to offer His blood and die in the place of every sincerely repenting sinner, who would be willing to "go and sin no more" in obedient acknowledgment of God's law. A person, whether man or woman, whoís marital experience went wrong, can only do one thing in order to be right with God.
In repenting obedience to God's law and faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus Christ one not only obtains forgiveness, but through forgiveness, being cleansed from all sines becomes spiritually one with the Lord (John 17) and His bride.
Revelation 19:7-9 - NEW KING JAMES
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. T Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed [are] those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."