by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Then Adam said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man'. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:23-24
"And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?' Yeshua answered, 'Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore YHVH has joined together, let not man separate'. They said to him, 'Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?' Yeshua said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another commits adultery." Matthew 19:3-9
With the responses after the last article, A Celebration of Marriage (click on highlighted words to view content), it became obvious there was more scripture on the subject requiring illumination than that single article was able to adequately convey. So, before we go too much further, we need to be sure we are using the same definitions for the words we use - that we are speaking the same language. Words mean things. Different cultures, customs and religions place different definitions upon words and, while they may contain similar content here and there - they are not the same as the definitions given by scripture. As much as people try to ascribe the Words of the Book across the "goodness of mankind" (i.e., "all people try to live according to God's Laws") - the evidence of their actions shows that mankind is not trying to abide by the Words of YHVH. Mankind says it tries to live by rules governing "right and wrong". A rule is defined as "a principle or regulation that governs conduct". In other words, a rule becomes an enforceable stipulation about behavior. Rules are determined by those in power, duly authorized to demand compliance - or else. But, those rules are subjective and vary from society to society - indeed, even within societies the rules change from generation to generation. Mankind adheres to the very "rules" they institute only as long as it serves their immediate purposes. Go to Darfur in the Sudan today and you will find murder and rape institutionalized - they are so because those actions suit the government's purposes of eliminating opposition by any means necessary.
The definition of morals is: "the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior as it is affected by the observation of these principles". Every society in the world has its own set of moral principles unique to that society (consider the Netherlands where prostitution, drug use, and euthanasia have been legalized). The words "morals", "morality" or "immorality" do not appear anywhere in the original words of scripture. Where these words do appear in English translations is because they were artificially inserted, overwriting the original language to support the theological bias of the translators (i.e., Deuteronomy 24:1 where the original Hebrew word should be translated "nakedness or uncleanness" and Ephesians 5:3 where the original Greek word is shown to mean "uncleanness" - both have been overwritten by the English word "immorality"). The Words of YHVH contained in the Book are not guidelines on what the world considers to be "proper morals" - they are not "right and wrong, good and bad" rules. The words contained in the Book were written by Hebrews primarily to other Hebrews within the family of YHVH who are in a covenant relationship with Him - not to the world. The words of the Book are given to His Family as instructions (not rules) on how to remain in the family - how to keep from being separated from His Presence of Light. Scripturally, marriage is defined as a man and a woman within the family of YHVH living in covenant with Him and each other as a reflection of His covenant with them. To try to make these words apply everywhere to everyone in the world is to be like Islam - forcing others to accept certain behavior whether they want to or not. The Words (not "laws") YHVH gave to His Family of Israel as instructions on how to remain in His Presence are not equal to what the laws, rules and regulations of other societies demand (see Torah or Law? for further explanation). His instructions are what set His Family apart from the other nations - which is the definition of a saint. The Words of YHVH have been designed to be a "light to the nations" to attract men to join His Family; but, before those Words can be applicable to them, they must be first be joined to His Family by keeping His Words (see what it means to Abide in Him).
Thus, in like fashion, trying to equate the scriptural definition of "marriage" with the world's definition of a legal marriage is like trying to make apples appear as pigs - they just are not the same. So, just as everybody on the planet is subject to gravity, according to scripture, Genesis 2:24 defines the sexual union between a man and a woman as becoming "one flesh". From the scriptural context regarding those who are in covenant with YHVH, "marriage" extends that definition to mean a man and woman, having already become "one flesh", are to maintain a covenant relationship or commitment to each other in the same manner as the covenant relationship YHVH has with His Own. In other words, their relationship with each other is a reflection of their relationship with the Father of the Family. Therefore, by definition, two people cannot have a covenant relationship (scriptural "marriage") outside the covenant relationship with the Father, YHVH, because they are not keeping the Words of the Father. Just because governments use the term "marriage" and issue a piece of paper to justify that usage does not supersede the scriptural context of "marriage" as a covenant relationship - they are not the same (apples and pigs). The scriptural definition of fornication, then, becomes a prohibition against any sexual activity outside the confines of this covenant relationship. Fornication involves the worship of gods other than YHVH via sexual engagement and is why abstinence from fornication is necessary as one of the four initial requirements placed upon Gentiles (those from "other nations") to enter the Kingdom, the Family of YHVH (not some universal "god", see Legalism for more insight). Scripture regarding fornication is not applicable to the world because the world does not adhere to the Words of YHVH. This is the only criteria scripture makes regarding what it means to be holy - the same definition used for "saint", set apart and separate from the world (the "other" nations) by keeping the Words of YHVH.
|comparing apples to pigs (Mark 7:13)|
In Matthew 19:3-9, Yeshua said for those scripturally bound to a covenant relationship, there is only one platform for divorce - which is nakedness with another outside the one covenanted with (citing Deuteronomy 24:1-4). But, Yeshua was equally careful to point out in that passage that the only reason this platform was granted is because of their hardness of heart not to continue to persevere with their mate because "from the beginning it was not so". Divorce has never been in the plan of YHVH for His Family. Comparing the covenant relationship of marriage found in scripture to what the world considers a "marriage" is like comparing apples to pigs - except for the word used, there is no similarity. The world marries and divorces for convenience. Today, the world's definition of divorce is as flimsy as "incompatibility" - whatever that means. But, people tend to mix "legal issues" having to do with culture and custom with scripture into one big pot and stir them into something else. 1Corinthians 7:15 makes it clear that if an unbelieving spouse does not want to stay, to let them go - the believer is not under any kind of bondage. It does not say that the believer has to have a mandate from some governmental authority to do so. Yeshua said the issue of adultery is involved in all circumstances of divorce from a covenant relationship - but, Yeshua also plainly shows us that adultery is not an unforgivable sin (John 8:2-11). Did He endorse that adultery? No, He told her "from now on, sin no more" - meaning to go back to her covenanted husband and remain faithful to him. Now, does that statement give anyone covenanted to another a license to divorce? Not according to the apostle Paul in Romans 6:1-2 (1Samuel 12:23-24).
Divorce is abhorrent to YHVH because scriptural sin is defined as anything that separates us from YHVH's Presence of Light defined in His Words and adultery is clearly defined for His Family as one of those actions. The question of what collateral problems arise because of divorce and then marrying another is a completely different arena that the individuals involved have to sort out with the Father. This is why it is so imperative to hear from Spirit for themselves for their particular circumstance because they will need His direction to stand on and to lean on in the aftermath of their decision. The likelihood of finding much support from others will be slim. And what they think they hear from the Father needs to be verified in scripture - otherwise their feelings will betray them. What the world does is not relevant to what transpires in the Father's Kingdom. Those who keep His Words live under a different set of instructions - the Words of Life (John 18:36, Matthew 5:40, Luke 6:29). Scripturally, the only grounds for divorce is sexual impropriety - but, even in those cases divorce is only granted because of our hardness of heart in persevering with the other. This is how the Father behaves with us and He expects us to behave toward others with the same grace He shows to us. His Grace may forgive our sin to allow us back into His Presence, but be sure, YHVH is not mocked - there are consequences for every one of our actions (Galatians 6:7).
As mentioned in the previous article, part of the problem we get into in this arena of marriage and divorce is in trying to bend the Words of Spirit to fit the customs and behavior of the world rather than to let His Words stand on their own merit to measure the behavior of those who are His and under His Covenant. When my daughter moved in with Caleb, they were not in covenant with each other. In fact, they both had some serious, serious problems that they acknowledged when they invited me to come live with them and help them to heal, which I did for six months - it was intense. At the end of that time, I was not sure if they would make it or not, so was pleasantly surprised when they decided to make their celebration an announcement of their covenant with one another and with YHVH. Paul says in 1Corinthians 7:36 that if someone is unable to control their passions, if they enter bibrit hanissuim (Hebrew meaning "in covenant of marriage") they sin not because they have already become one flesh. Sin is anything that separates from the Presence of YHVH. There is nothing wrong with cultural rituals and customs to celebrate what has already occurred between a couple except when we allow the tradition of men to nullify the intent of the words of YHVH and dictate those traditions over others (Mark 7:13, see Hebrew Betrothal Customs).
|Samaritan woman at the well|
These articles are given to put forth the unvarnished Truth of what the words of scripture say and mean without filtering them through what religious tradition or world opinion would tell us that they mean - not to tell people what they should or should not do. If people have twisted and perverted Yeshua's words over the last 1700 years, then these words will be handled inappropriately as well by some. But, I go back to the fact that I did not write the words of the Book. I am simply reading them and reporting on their plain, stated usage and meaning. I have found that people say what they believe but do what they value.
Part One: Marriage...
Part Two: ...Divorce...
Part Three: ...Remarriage
Part Four: Communion
Part Five: Flesh and Blood
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them|
even as you loved me." John 17:20-23
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.