Divorce Or Not To Divorce

by Pastor Peter Macinta
Honestly ask yourself if you want God's answer to this or man's answer. If you want God's answer to this one, continue to read on: if not, you should read it anyhow.

What GOD Says About Divorce:

For YHWH, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith YHWH of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. - Malachi 3:16

Check out the Hebrew for yourself in a Strong's Concordance: "putting away" means divorce. God hates it! Now, for the verses preceding verse 16 (and we will again include verse 16). . .

14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because YHWH hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For YHWH, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith YHWH of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously."- Malachi 3:14 - 16

Please carefully note God's tenderness to the one being divorced and to the children who suffer from it (godly seed). I am convinced as I have studied the Holy Scriptures since 1970 that God has a super concern for children, and one reason why He displays hatred towards divorce is because of what damage it does to children. You may think that no damage is being done to the children and the world has been quite crafty to convince folks it is better to divorce than to argue and fight in front of the children, but GOD SAYS not so! Sandwiched around some passages on divorce in the New Testament there are references to children. One of those passages indicates that whoever offends a child it is better for a millstone to be hung around his neck and thrown into the sea before he does damage a child.

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
- Mark 9:42

Before you conclude that He meant only His adult believers examine verse 36. After the Mark 9 warning, Mark notes a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees on divorce in chapter 10.

Did You Know?

For the most part, marriage counseling is less expensive than divorce!

As you read on, in verse 13 He blessed the little children that came to Him. He tells His disciples in verse 14 to permit the little children to come to Him. It is my opinion that since the topic of divorce was placed just before the blessing of the children, God is indicating that divorce is a hindrance in many cases for children to come to God. I have seen children of divorced parents and many are hurting inside and are a little more difficult to reach for the Lord.

What if the couple has no children? It still hurts other people, and because we are all born with a sinful nature it encourages others to divorce too. Unfortunately many young people in our time think that divorce is "the norm." In one sense it may be considered that whomever we influence becomes our children.

And Jesus Points Out . . .

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.- Mark 10:9

Matthew 19:8 - 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.
Note that last phrase ."..but from the beginning it was not so."

Jesus, God veiled in flesh, is set against divorce. This is a very important factor, because, if you know Jesus as your personal Savior, that is, you have become born again, Jesus lives inside of you and as you permit His personality to blossom through you, you too should be against divorce.

But Didn't Christ Permit Divorce?

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.-Matt 19:9

This has often been used as the basis for divorce AND remarriage but those who promote this forget that Holy Scripture is to be understood in context. Context includes the immediate context of a given verse and the general context of the verse. Many have neglected the fact that Jesus had said earlier in His earthly ministry . . .

Matthew 5:32 - 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.

Look honestly at that last phrase first. It denies the possibility of remarriage after divorce. Holy Scripture dictates that the reverse in gender applies too (see Gal. 3:28).

With that in mind, let us now look at the immediate context of Matthew 19:9. As you see in v.3, the Pharisees specifically asked is lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause. Immediately Jesus refers to the Scriptures "have ye not read...?"

In verse 4 He points to the principle of one male with one female. In verse 6 He points out husband and wife are one flesh and He expressly forbids divorce. This, along with the overwhelming indications from all other Holy Scriptures on the subject show that no permission to divorce is actually granted in Matthew 9:9, and no permission to remarry. The phrase "except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery" should be understood as the husband was caused to commit adultery by his unfaithful wife. He most certainly is still guilty of adultery, but his unfaithful wife is the cause of it. Her sin was a stumbling block to him. Any other reason the man might divorce is his total responsibility. If his spouse sexually pollutes herself and assuming he still has sexual / social needs, her actions have encouraged the adultery on his part.

With that out of the way, now honestly consider that the point Jesus makes is if you divorce someone you cause them to commit adultery if they marry another, UNLESS they have committed fornication, in which case they have already sinned - you were not the cause of their adultery.

Also, ask yourself this question- If Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, why on earth would He make adultery a reason for divorce? On the one hand He says "forgive" and the other He says "divorce?"

Another question, why adultery only? Did not the Judge of all the earth assuredly know about spousal abuse, neglect, child abuse and a host of other domestic issues that push people apart? How can He give permission for divorce on the condition of fornication when there would be folks that would horribly beat their spouse or try to prevent them from serving God? Hence, another reason why I come to the above conclusion:
Jesus was pointing out one's responsibility of causing another to sin and not giving permission to divorce.

The above verses were from the KJV. You might get a different reading in other translations. I used to relish the NIV until upon personal research I discovered that it does not always hold true to the original Greek. I will give an example of the failure of the NIV below on 1 Cor. 7. Of all the translations I have used, the KJV remains closest to the actual Greek. You may have a little trouble reading English that is over 400 years old, but ask God to help you. There are many good Bible helps out there. Another version that I have found safe so far is the New King James Version (NKJV).

On your own, get a Strong's Concordance (there are now electronic versions incorporated into Holy Bible programs) and a KJV. The Strong's Exhaustive Concordance contains every single word listed in the KJV, placing those words in alphabetical order. Look up all the verses on divorce (divorces, put away, putteth away, putting away, etc.). Read them as they are and you will, if you are honest, come to the conclusion that divorce is not sanctioned by God and does not dissolve a marriage. You will see that only physical death dissolves a marriage.

Isn't There Permission To Divorce In 1 Cor. 7?

Some say that if you have an unbelieving spouse then according to 1 Cor. 7 you can divorce them. The fact of the matter is that the strongest word for divorce never occurs in 1 Cor. 7. So the reading of the KJV is true. By the Holy Spirit, Paul never used a word as narrow as "divorce" in 1 Cor. 7. He does use Greek words that can be used in that sense, but if that were the case he contradicts himself in that chapter for he says one is not bound in those cases (v. 15) then turns around and says a person is bound until death (v. 39). It is clear that the only way to be "loosed" from the marriage bond is the physical death of one party.

Many Christians use the New International Version. I honestly thought for many years that the NIV was the best translation. However, in this passage, and IN OTHER PASSAGES ON MARRIAGE the NIV moves AWAY FROM THE ACTUAL GREEK. The NIV does the same on passages that display action within the Trinity. Because of its' unfaithfulness to the Greek, I have ceased using the NIV. I mention the NIV now because it uses the word "divorce" in 1 Cor. 7 when "divorce" is not in the text.

How About 1 Cor. 7:2?

Again, it cannot mean to remarry with a former companion still living because that would be a blatant contradiction to verse 39 and contrary to the Lord's warning in Luke 16:18 - Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Small Side Note: Vows

Search the Scriptures. There were only two times that a vow could be terminated. One was by death and the other was when the vow was made by someone under the authority of the father of a family. Under Jewish law, until a certain point, he could negate that vow. Marriage vows cannot fall under that last example because marriage requires one to leave their original family unit and form a new one.

But Didn't God Say It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone?

Yes, He most certainly did in Gen. 2:18. If we know Christ as Savior and LORD we will never be alone (Mt.28:20). Also, I feel that the church has the responsibility to minister to the divorced and become a family to them.

What About Abusive Situations?... Isn't It Better To Divorce?

My Mom Ran Away Once

Making a long story short...
At the time, my parents were unsaved. They would bitterly argue quite a bit. One day, while arguing, my Dad picked up a sickle, moved it just away and across his throat and said something to the effect, "One of these days, Mae, you're going to get it." This greatly startled my mom. A day or so later, she took my sister and I away with her. I remember stopping at someone's house and also to meet a Salvation Army minister. We wound up in Jersey City. My mom had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for two weeks.

Albeit, my parents never divorced. My parents accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior almost a year after I did. God then healed their marriage. Check back here again sometime for a link to the full story when I create the page.

Permit me to answer that last question with a question of my own - why is divorce even an option? There are other answers to this situation than divorce.

If it were me facing a continuous abusive situation I would pray as to what to do. I would have in mind, if the Lord permitted it, to leave the abusive situation but not divorce. Unless the Lord would direct otherwise, I would, with His help, carefully choose where to go and when to go. I would leave instructions behind to my abusive spouse, indicating I still love my spouse, am honestly hiding from the abusiveness, will keep in contact in clandestine ways until such time that my spouse receives therapy and I know that it is safe to come home. The abusive spouse would have to validate to me that therapy was received and that it works.

Divorce often seems like a way out, but too many times, it is a dead end - literally!

And Back to Genesis

Thinking of the account in Genesis further bolsters the point that God does not permit divorce. If you note the sequence of blame in Genesis 3, the man blames his wife for his sin. Does God destroy Eve and give Adam a new wife? No. Does He give Adam a second wife? No.

The Conclusion Then Is ...

Please get the word "divorce" out of your heart and mind. It seems like a solution, but it never is. If you are having trouble in your marriage, divorce is not an option. I have some pages listed below to help people in a troubled marriage. Please read the instructions there.

Basic Help For The Marriage Under Attack

Basic Tools For The Marriage Under Attack

Return To The Marriage Pages Index

Real Love

Invite Jesus Into Your Life

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