Divorce is a messy topic to discuss. Most Americans including devout church people suffer from broken homes. Most modern people are divorced or will be divorced at sometime in their life. It has become socially acceptable in most circles. Most people believe it is spiritually acceptable to get divorced and get remarried. Most will use adultery as a reason to remarry, twisting scripture to fit their false belief. Some will say that God wants them to be happy and they have been forgiven so it is okay for them to remarry. It is even more sad that I have had fights with preachers who believe divorce and remarriage is okay for abuse victims even when no physical adultery was involved. I have had fights with those same men for teaching that if someone became a christian after the divorce and remarriage it is a scriptural marriage. All of those are false beliefs.
In previous centuries divorce was viewed as treason and one of the most wicked things a person could do. Then in the 1900’s the churches embraced this false doctrine that remarriage is okay if you divorced a cheating spouse. Once the first lie was taught as truth the excuses grew and evolved into the things I mentioned in the above paragraph. This blog is long but important to read for truth seekers and students of scripture. This is not about bashing anyone for the mistakes they have made. It is only meant to educate people on the truth about why scripturally speaking divorce is a sin in most cases but remarriage after divorce is always forbidden! The only scriptural 2nd marriage is if your first marriage was ended by the death of your first spouse.
It is sad that the views on divorce and remarriage have become so liberal. People seem to think God wants them to be happy and married to their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th or whatever number spouse. Many of those same people who support divorce and remarriage under the idea that God wants them to be happy are quick to denounce prosperity gospels. They don’t support the idea that God wants you to be rich with a mansion and lambo. However they fully believe that God wants them, their families, and parishioners to be happy in an adulterous unscriptural marriage. The two ideas of God wanting your happiness with a spouse or that God wants you to be happy with material wealth are the exact same idea and spirit. It’s a gospel of the Nicolaitans!
Here is the cold hard truth!
YHWH our Elohim (God) hates divorce! I will repeat that again! YHWH our Elohim hates divorce!
I am not saying YHWH hates people who divorce and remarry. I am saying He hates the act of divorce and remarriage. It is a sin for anyone to divorce their spouse for any reason other than adultery or idolatry. Even then divorce is only scriptural to one party if the cheating or idolatrous spouse is not willing to stay with their spouse and work through their problems. The spouse not willing to stay made the other spouse a victim in the divorce. If the cheating or idolatrous spouse is willing to stay and work out the problems, then the other spouse cannot scripturally divorce that spouse without it being a sin for both parties. Even then remarriage is never permitted! Once you divorce your spouse, you must either remarry the spouse you divorced before your spouse remarries someone else or you must live the rest of your life alone. That is all according to scripture and in this article you shall be presented with the scriptural backing for what I am saying to you right now. YHWH my Elohim makes it clear in scripture that He hates the act of divorce. I will quote some scriptures and give commentary on each of them.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 “It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
This passage is the best known of divorce and remarriage scriptures among church people. Yet it is the least understood and most used to promote a false belief that remarriage is okay for people who were cheated on in their marriage. People used to understand this passage but over the last 100 years the church people have forgotten the meaning of this scripture because of the hardness of their hearts (unrepentant nature). The hebrew culture to whom this sermon was originally preached was very different than modern American culture. A little background on hebrew culture is needed to help understand this passage.
Only hebrew men could divorce their wives. Wives were not permitted to divorce their husbands. Wives had to request a divorce from their husband if they wanted to get divorced. The writ of divorce is referred to as a “get”. The “get” is the certificate of divorce that Yeshua (Jesus) is talking about. Yeshua also mentions that anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. The same goes for a man who is divorced from his wife. Any woman that marries a divorced man commits adultery as well. That does not in any way mean it is okay to marry a divorced person if their first spouse cheated on them. It means anyone who marries a divorced person commits adultery period. It is important to understand the culture that the scriptures were written to in order to understand them. I understand most people will reject this message because it is a hard pill to swallow for a culture that is overfilled will broken homes.
Yeshua was never speaking against the law of Moses. He still believed that if you divorced your wife you still had to give her that “get” or “certificate of divorce”. He believed and preached that divorcing your wife for any reason other than physical adultery would be a sin. If your wife was to get remarried she would be an adulteress either way. If no adultery was involved on her part she became an adulterous with her second husband because of the divorce. If she did commit adultery then she was already living in adultery thus she made her self to be an adulteress. In a brief moment I will show why Yeshua (Jesus) is confirming the law of Moses, not bashing it. Before moving on to the teachings about divorce and remarriage in the law of Moses I wish to use more passages from the gospels.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 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’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7 They *said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
10 The disciples *said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11 But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”
This passage is very interesting. It makes it clear that only to those whom the truth has been given can accept the teachings on divorce and remarriage. This passage is another big passage for believers to use to justify remarriage if your spouse has committed adultery. Certainly that excuse is well over used and if someone is a true believer, the believer would be able to forgive their spouse for an act of infidelity and be willing to work out the marriage if the cheating spouse was willing to work it out too. Forgiveness is lacking in most so-called believers who are divorcing their spouses. Most will proclaim they forgive their cheating spouse but refuse to stay with them. If you refuse to work it out when the cheating spouse is willing to work it out, that is not true forgiveness. Sometimes people are truly victims and that is a very sad thing. It is not the victims fault. However that does not mean they should go out and get remarried. That (the victims) is one of the reasons it was so hard for people to accept this teaching. Matthew 19:9 is the point that people use to justify remarriage for causes of adultery. I am going to point out something interesting about verse nine.
New American Standard
9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The word “immorality” where it reads “except for immorality” is not the same greek word as “adultery” as in “commits adultery”. The greek word for immorality is “porneia” and is rarely translated to mean sexual immorality. In most cases it is translated as “idolatry”. The few places where “proneia” is translated as sexual immorality has serious debate on if it actually means sexual immorality or if it means idolatry. The word for adultery that is used to describe sexual immorality while in a state of marriage is the word “molchao”. Why not use the word “molchao” to describe the act that makes divorce permissible instead of the word “porneia” that in most cases is used to describe idolatry? The word proneia is used to indicate idolatry in 160+ cases in the scriptures but is only used to indicate adultery in less than 5 cases. Each case it can be debated if it actually meant adultery or idolatry. The word “molchao” is used for adultery 100% of the time.
It is very possible Yeshua was not even speaking about physical adultery here but idolatry. If Yeshua had used the word for physical adultery in this passage, the banter would have been longer as the law of Moses has rules concerning women caught in adultery. The Pharisees were testing him and had he spoken against the law of Moses concerning a woman caught in adultery, the pharisees would not have relented against him. There was another time they tested him with a woman caught in adultery to see if he would speak against the law of Moses or the law of Rome in John 8:1-11. He spoke against neither and told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. As in do not continue in your wicked ways. More proof that forgiveness of sin does not justify continuing in an adulterous marital union. After these two passages it can be concluded that there are two scriptural grounds for divorce; adultery and idolatry. The next passage I use will show that if the spouse who committed adultery or idolatry is willing to work out the marriage and stay together, then divorce is not permitted according to scripture. Certainly remarriage is not permitted either.
Before getting into the mosaic law I wish to use one last scripture from what is popularly known as the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 7:10-15
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.
WOW! In the first couple of verses it makes it painfully clear that divorced people are never to get remarried (vs. 11). Of course this was written to a non-hebrew audience. Their culture permitted women to divorce their husbands, unlike hebrew culture. Paul the writer of the epistles to the church of Corinth made it clear that if a person divorced their spouse they are to remain unmarried or be reconciled to their first spouse. He mentioned that is what Yeshua (the Lord) commanded, not Paul himself. (The greek word for Lord in this passage is “Kurios” strongs number 2962 meaning a title of the messiah not the typical YHWH.) Paul goes on to say that it is his belief, that if a believer has a spouse that is a non-believer it is better to stay with that spouse if the unbelieving spouse is willing to stay. Yet they are not condemned as a sinner if they are divorced by a spouse that is unwilling to stay. Bondage in this case means sin. Meaning it is not a sin to be a victim. It doesn’t mean it is permissible to remarry, otherwise Paul and the scriptures would be in contradiction. As most churches point out Paul was an inspired writer and consider his writings just as important as all other scripture. It is hard to believe those same people totally reject his teachings on so many things. In Corinth Greece if you were an unbeliever you were an idolater. There was only two classes in that city, pagans and believers in YHWH and Yeshua. All non-believers in Corinth were suffering from “porneia”. Again Paul makes it painfully clear divorcees are never allowed to be remarried unless they are reconciling with an undefiled spouse.
Could Paul be confirming the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus) that a legitimate cause for divorce is to be divorced by an idolatrous spouse that is unwilling to stay with the believer? I think that is the case. Back then a spouse that committed adultery was simply put to death for the crime of adultery. There was never any real need for divorcing a spouse that committed adultery because you did not divorce an unfaithful spouse. You brought your witnesses and had them put on trial for their sin. After the witnesses testified the adulteress was put to death, typically by stoning. Sometimes other methods depending on the area and under which government they lived. (I am not advocating the death penalty for adultery. I am just explaining the culture to which the scripture were written. The Bible is not an american document it is an ancient jewish document.)
Even if you want to keep your belief that it is okay to remarry if you are a victim of adultery. You would still need two or three witnesses or other tangible evidence to prove the adultery before you are able to remarry. Yeshua commands that if one sins against you to go to them first in private to work it out. Then if they are unwilling to work it out to bring one or two witnesses. Then if they are still unwilling to repent have nothing more to do with them, that is spoke of in Matthew 18:15-17. Adultery is a sin against the spouse thus the rule or one or two witness applies. Too many people are living in what they believe are scriptural marriages because they “just believe” their ex-spouse cheated on them. Yet their was no confession by the ex-spouse, nor any evidence to prove their theory. I find the over eagerness of people to divorce their spouse, believing their spouse cheated on them without any evidence is a wicked thing. If they were in the kadosh (holy) spirit of our Elohim YHWH and messiah Yeshua then they would be more patient and forgiving. If they had reason to suspect adultery they should begin an investigation and gather either witnesses or evidence such as pictures from a PI before divorcing their spouse. Again if the cheating spouse is willing to work out the problems and stay, then the one being cheated on has a duty to forgive their spouse and stay with them. Being eager to divorce your spouse without witnesses or evidence is foolish, those people are just looking for an excuse to divorce their spouse and give their children a broken home.
Moving on into the law of Moses and how Yeshua confirmed the law of Moses.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Law of Divorce
24 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
In these four verses Moses makes it clear that the second marriage defiled the woman and the first husband is not allowed to take her back. He is not allowed to take her back because the second marriage caused her to be defiled! This confirms the teaching of Yeshua in Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:3-12 that even though Moses permitted you to divorce because of the hardness of your hearts it was not so from the beginning. Even then the first husband had to find some indecency which means “discovered she was not a virgin as she claimed”. Anyone who divorces their spouse causing them to get remarried, causes their spouse to live in a adulterous marriage. Thus the spouse is defiled from remarriage. Making it clear that remarriage is never permitted, even if you have been forgiven of the sin you must go and sin no more, which means if a man or woman has been defiled by remarriage they must live the rest of their lives alone in order to “go and sin no more”.
Of course many supporters of divorce and remarriage in the church will say but now that defilement is washed clean by the forgiveness of sin through the atoning blood of Yeshua. Yes, that defilement can be made clean if the divorced spouse leaves the adulterous marriage and lives the rest of their life alone or makes amends to their first spouse after both original spouses defilement was made clean by Yeshua. The sin is divorce and remarriage. If the sin is forgiven and forgotten, the divorce and the re-marriage to the second or third or whatever person is wiped out. Making it straight adultery with no legitimate Elohim (God) ordained union between the divorcee and their new legal spouse. The vows were wiped out to all of the other people because they were sinful. So the second or third or whatever marriage a divorcee is in, is not a legitimate marriage in the eye of YHWH our Elohim! If they continue living in such a way because the first marriage is still in effect, they are continuing to live in sin and are failing to truly repent. The divorce was forgotten as well as the re-marriage. However the first marriage would not be forgotten because the first marriage was not a sin. Does that make sense to you too?
One last piece of scripture and I will wrap this up.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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.”
That passage in Malachi makes it clear that our Elohim hates divorce and views people who commit divorce as being treacherous.
I understand not everyone will be able to accept this teaching and this will make a lot of people mad. I know people who say ”It is easy for you to preach this James because you are still in your first marriage.”. I am still in my first marriage BECAUSE I believe this. I chose to work out our marital problems because I did not believe divorce is acceptable. I have been married almost 4 years. The first year I was terrified that I would fail and have to live the rest of my life alone. If I had the morals of an ally cat and believed in divorce and remarriage, I would not have made it this far in my marriage to Stephanie. I showed these biblical facts to my wife and she believed them too after I showed them to her. We always work on communicating because neither one of us believes it is scripturally sound to divorce one another. Marriage is hard but having this firm foundation has made our marriage last. We grow to love each other more every day. As our Elohim has and is continuing to bless us both with a strong marriage.
I spent many years seeking the perfect wife for me. My wife is not perfect but we are perfect for each other. I never would have married a divorcee. I had to turn down several women because of that issue. My wife was not a believer when we wed. She converted shortly after we got married. I knew she would come around because she had a lot of potential. More than any woman I ever dated. She moved 2000 miles away from everything she ever knew because she loves me and was willing to work out our marital problems with me. My wife is now an amazing believer that openly shares her faith to many women. She stands firm for her convictions and does not back down. It is easy for me to preach this because I decided to get my life in order and on the right track before finding a wife. I decided that I wanted to be one of those people who got married and stayed married their whole life to the same woman. Even if I was divorced I would stand by this message and conviction. Just as some members of my family have done.
It may not be hip or cool to most people but we are happy and joyful in YHWH our Elohim and HaMashiach Yeshua! We don’t have to worry about being offended by reading or hearing messages like this because we decided to make our first marriage be our only marriage. If you have never been married, I strongly urge you to wait until marriage for sex and to make your first marriage work. If you are unmarried and have had sex, I encourage you to stop having sex and wait until marriage to do that again. If you are living in an unscriptural adulterous union, I encourage you to leave that union and dedicate your live to serving YHWH and Yeshua. Take your time to find the right spouse instead of rushing into marriage with a person you will not want to spend the rest of your life with. Look for deeper characteristics in a future spouse because beauty is only skin deep and will fade over time. Once that beauty is gone you only have the spiritual essence of your spouse left. Patience will lead to the ultimate gift and a wonderful marriage if you keep your faith in YHWH our Elohim and HaMashiach Yeshua strong and make it a part of your marriage.