Historical backdrop of Divorce: When Jesus was asked about what Moses “commanded,” his response was with what Moses “permitted.” Originally there was no allowance for Divorce, but it was permitted for people that were hardhearted, refusing to obey God. It was open ended, meaning you could get divorced for any and everything, if you found someone else more attractive or any other silly reason. The rabbis over time began adding in more rules to regulate it. One rule was that the certificate of marriage (ketubah) had to include the price necessary for the husband to pay the wife if he later chose to divorce her. Another rule added was that a “get,” the certificate of divorce, had to be presented to the wife to divorce her, with or without consent. Later it was added that she had to consent to receiving the “get”. Eventually “gets” were given to wives from their husbands before they went to battle, because if he died before giving her the “get” she was considered an “Agunah” which is an “anchored” woman; anyone marrying her would be committing Adultery. Women were viewed as property, so Adultery was only committed if you had sex with another man’s property. She was the property of her father if she was unmarried and the property of her husband if she was married and only considered free if the responsible party died. At one point it was even allowed for a married man to have sex with any woman of his choosing just as long as she was not the property of another man, which is why there were no laws broken by having multiple wives. A married woman could not have sex with another man because she was the property of her husband, which would break the law requiring her to be stoned to death. Eventually 3 positions on divorce developed, Rabbi Beth Shammai believed that divorce was allowed for any case of Adultery, Rabbi Beth Hillel believed in the allowance of divorce for any reason (divorcing for something as simple as the woman being unable to cook properly), Rabbi Akiba believed in no fault divorce (divorcing with no given reason ex. simply because you find someone better). They questioned Jesus the way they did in regards to divorce, because they were looking to see who taught him, which was also a trick to get him to denounce the others teachings. By saying that divorce was only allowed for fornication, he was stating that God was his Rabbi in accordance to Deuteronomy 22:13-21. God only allowed divorce in the case of a Jewish Betrothal/Engagement, prior to it being consummated. If the woman was found unfaithful, she was to be stoned to death, effectively freeing him from both the Marriage Contract and the Marriage Covenant. Case #1: God hates Divorce Malachi 2:16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel,... That statement alone should end any debate in regards to divorce, because it sums up the will of God on the subject. A person can choose to do what God hates, just as a person can choose to lie, cheat or steal, but no one seems to try to find a way to condone the latter. Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Case #2: Rebuke your brother/sister when they are in Sin Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Although this scripture starts off with a brother sinning against you, it references that this same principle is applied in “every matter” in the church. It makes biblical sense to apply this principle with a young non-married couple, when it's known that they are fornicating, which completely prevents all possibilities of the compounded sin of abortion. If the sin of sex out of wedlock is addressed properly, there would be no need to deal with the sin of abortion. The same principle must be applied when a fellow brother or sister refuses to obey the following, which leads to today’s definition of divorce: -Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. -Ephesians 5:24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. -Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. -Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her -Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. -Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,... -Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. (We must love those that don’t love us.) -1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. -1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. -1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. -Romans 12:20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Case #3: God never intended for Divorce and Jesus never allowed it for Adultery (KJV) 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? 4And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8He 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. 9And 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. 1. Jesus clearly says that divorce was not there from the beginning, which means it was not what God intended, just as He did not intend for the Israelites to have any Kings other than himself. 2. He says a writing/certificate of divorce was for the hardhearted, which is a person who refuses to obey God, much like when the Israelites refused to accept God as their King. 3. He says "Fornication/Porneia" is the only exception. Fornication is always used in the bible in regards to unmarried (un-consummated) people having sex. “Adultery/Moicheia” is exclusively used when a married (consummated) person has sex “unlawfully” outside of the marriage covenant. A woman who claims to be a virgin and her husband finds out that she isn't before consummating the marriage, can divorce her if he chooses to according to Jesus. Although if he doesn’t forgive her, scriptures say he too will not be forgiven before God. Matthew 6:14 Example #1: (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) God says that a woman must be stoned to death if she claims to be a virgin and her husband finds that she isn't. If she truly is a virgin and he slanders her, God says that he must be punished and fined, and not allowed to divorce her till death. Example #2: (Matthew 1:18-20) Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant “before” he consummated their marriage; therefore if he thought she had fornicated, he had grounds to divorce her. They were referred to as husband and wife based on their Marriage “Contract” but since it was not consummated, they had not yet entered into the Marriage “Covenant.” Case #4: The beauty of God’s Word is that it always lines up on many more levels than just one, weaving an intricate tapestry so that in cases of any questions of any one particular layer, all a person has to do is look at the other layers to determine the answer to any questionable ones. Layer 1: All the way up to the point of Moses, once a man and woman became one (Marriage through Consummation) there was no option for divorce at all. Layer 2: Although Moses permitted divorce, God himself specified that it could only be done if a woman was not a virgin prior to her consummating the marriage: Deuteronomy 22:13 If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity," 15 then the girl's father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. 16 The girl's father will say to the elders, "I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, 'I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.' But here is the proof of my daughter's virginity." Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver [a] and give them to the girl's father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives. 20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you. Layer 3: Priests were not allowed to marry divorced women. They could only marry virgins or women whose marriage covenant to another priest had been broken through death. Today through Christ we are both priests and the sacred temples. Ezekiel 44:22 They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests. 1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. Revelation 1: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Layer 4: God promised Israel that they would join him in Heaven. Before this promised marriage was “consummated” he gave them a “certificate” of divorce for being Adulterous. To this day he has never honored that certificate. Not only has he forgiven Israel many times since then, but he’s never once divorced a single Israelite that has fulfilled the promise of joining him in heaven. Jeremiah 3:8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Layer 5: Jesus was proposed for marriage before his Death, Burial and Resurrection, calling himself the bridegroom and his church the bride. After his resurrection he was then referred to as the Husband and the Church his wife, which is the betrothal period we are in now. As Adulterous as we are, he does not turn his back on us, although he clearly defines the option is available. Not one single scripture anywhere suggests that there is an option for divorce available once we fulfill the promise of entering into heaven. At that point the only way for us to be released is if he were to die, being omnipotent, that option is not possible. Matthew 9:15 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Mark 3:29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." Romans 7:2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. Additional Notes: ::1 Adultery and fornication are 2 completely different sins as shown here. A simple search throughout the New Testament will show that the context that “fornication” is always used in, is a non-Consummated Marriage. All throughout the New Testament, Adultery is always used exclusively in reference to fornication outside of a Marriage setting: Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, ::2 Death is the only thing that frees a woman from marriage: Romans 7:1 Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. ::3 We are to follow the example of Christ, which is not to resist an evil person, even if it’s a spouse: Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. Mark 14:65 They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him. ::4 Jesus made it abundantly clear, anyone that re-marries commits Adultery. This clearly means that they aren’t really divorced, so God’s original Marriage Covenant still stands. Divorce is not allowed for the actual Covenant that he’s witness to when they became “One”: Malachi 2:14 You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Mark 10:12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." Luke 16:18 "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ::5 What does it mean to “Fornicate”? (Matthew 19:9 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.) Unfortunately only the KJV keeps the distinction between “Adultery” and “Fornication” in that passage. Jesus was speaking to Jews who viewed marriage binding based on their Jewish Betrothal contract, prior to it being consummated by sex. Jesus allowed divorce in this case because before the eyes of God, there was no Marriage Covenant only a Marriage Contract. Sex outside the marriage committed under the Jewish Betrothal contract, prior to it being consummated, would have been the sin of “fornication” what we now call “pre-marital sex”. Any form of extramarital sex after the marriage has been consummated can “only” be considered Adultery. Two unmarried people can have sex as much as they want, and never commit Adultery, they would only be committing the sin of fornication. A married person having any form of sex outside the marriage is committing Adultery. Strong’s definition (4202) of “Porneia” which is the original Greek word for “fornication” now includes adultery. Which is a true statement, just as the translation for “Gay” now includes “homosexuality.” There are other publications that differ from Strong's interpretation: Concise Oxford Dictionary, defines "fornication" as ..... "Voluntary sexual intercourse between a man (occasionally restricted to unmarried men) and an unmarried woman." English Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, fifth edition of 1948, defines fornication as illicit sexual intercourse on the part of an unmarried The bible itself defines fornication as sex before marriage: (KJV)1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Note: The KJV should be used as the final analysis above any recent translations because it was translated from the original (Hebrew/Greek) documentation, broken up between 47 different translators, and all discrepancies were verified by respected speakers of those languages from the originating locations, only to be re-verified by counterpart translators. http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjvhist.html ::The bible clearly says that if we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven, without any special allowances tied to it of any kind when a person shouldn’t or couldn’t forgive. With Jesus as the ultimate example, we are to simply forgive with no hint of resistance to any evil person. Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Romans 12:20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Jesus says that a man looking at a woman lustfully has committed Adultery; the forgiveness extended to a spouse in this case should be equal to its equal in the physical nature. Conversely, it should be taken just as serious. Summary: A person truly seeking to please God should be willing to accept any form of abuse from anyone in any situation, returning the biblical definition of love in kind to their persecutor. If a fellow brother/sister sees that’s not the case, they should gently urge the other to do so out of faith in God’s promises. If they refuse, others should be brought in to help them see how their own sins of disobedience to scriptures are putting Christ back on the cross. Unfortunately, due to sympathy for the wronged party, a blind eye is often turned in favor of disobedience to the Word on their part. In the cases of infidelity, divorce is incorrectly provided as an option according to a mistranslation in the NIV and a misunderstanding of what marriage meant to the audience Jesus spoke to. The Jews that Jesus were speaking to completely understood the betrothal process in place, where a husband and wife were not to have sexual intercourse for a period of up to a year. During that year, since the marriage had not been consummated with them “becoming one”, any sex committed outside the marriage would not be the sin of “Adultery” but instead the sin of “Fornication.” This is the only period Jesus allowed divorce. The bible clearly equates our earthly marriage to His heavenly one to us, which states that he can divorce us during the promissory stage if we commit Adultery against him by serving other idols, but no indication anywhere is the option available once we have fulfilled the promise by entering heaven. The word fornication is consistently used throughout scriptures in every place where non-consummated sex has occurred, and specifically uses Adultery consistently in all cases where consummated external sex has occurred. If a person chooses that they can no longer stand to live in the relationship and decide to leave their spouse, they must never marry again. A person that has divorced before realizing what the scriptures actually say in regards to divorce needs only to repent. Their own conscience and love for pleasing God should dictate whether or not they should try to mend their previous marriage if possible, stay single, or are free to marry again. A couple that has previously experienced divorce, should repent if they entered the new marriage without knowing the truth about scriptures and continue as they are when God revealed his truth to them. 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 The problem we have in all church’s in general, is that when new information is revealed, we refuse to admit that what we did was wrong, and end up re-teaching things that are incorrect for the sake of consistency rather than for the sake of the Word. All things must be done through faith. So whether or not a person can obey God through faith in his promises of blessings in the situation that he called them to, no one should judge them for their final decision. But no believer should ever condone anything that contradicts scriptures and should always speak truthfully in love regardless of how painful that Truth may appear to be. Jesus provides a very strict warning about teaching anyone that it’s ok to break any of the commandments: Matthew 5:19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. When any person really understands the gravity of what Jesus said in regards to Divorce, they too will say as his Disciples said: Matthew 19:10 "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry."