Keith Hunt - Restitution of All Things


                          DIVORCE
                            AND
                         REMARRIAGE?

                          Part Two
                             by
                         Keith Hunt


                        CHAPTER FOUR

                   EXCEPT FOR FORNICATION
                                   
                                   
                                     
                                      
                                      
    It is clear from Matthew 19 that Jesus MAGNIFIED the marriage
law and swept aside a teaching that was prevalent in His day,
thatt Deuteronomy 24 taught that men could put away their wives
for just about ANY reason. Jesus went back Before Moses' economy,
showing that whatever was ALLOWED under Moses (because of the
people's HARD-HEARTEDNESS) was only temporal Now marriage was to
be restored to its original intent. Yet, because this was still
the age of Satan's rule on earth, Christ did allow divorce for 
"fornication." 
    
    It is now time to make an in-depth study of the Greek word
"porneia" (translated here into our English word "fornication").
    In our English language we have many words to describe
various sexual acts, each conveying SPECIFIC meanings to our
mind: FORNICATION - sex before marriage; ADULTERY - sex with
someone other than your wife or husband; INCEST - sex between
persons of the same family, such as father and daughter;
HOMOSEXUALITY - sex between two males; LESBIANISM - sex between
two females; BEASTIALITY - sex with an animal; HARLOT - someone
who sells her body to another for sexual gratification. But in
the Greek New Testament there are but TWO basic words used for
all of our specific English words. The Greek word "moicheia" is
used for our word "ADULTERY" and carries the same meaning as our
English word. We are then left with only the basic Greek word
"porneia" used in passages where "moicheia" is not used, or both
may be used in the same passage.

    The Englishman's Greek Concordance (p.647-648) will give you
ALL the passages in the New Testament where this word "porneia"
is used. By a careful study of these passages, we can come
to understand the meaning of this Greek word and in so doing
understand under what situations Jesus was allowing DIVORCE.

    In I Corinthians 5:1 Paul was clearly speaking about someone
in the Church who was practicing what our English word "INCEST"
describes. He does not say whether the man committing this sin
was MARRIED or not - INCEST could be committed by either party in
a marriage. True, that would also be adultery. It was adultery as
well as incest for the woman of I Corinthians 5. What Paul was
saying was that this sin was more than adultery (which is also
sin), so he chose not to use the Greek word for adultery,
"moicheia," but the Greek word "porneia" which obviously carried
a wider meaning than "moicheia," for in this case it carried
all the meaning of our words ADULTERY and INCEST (on the woman's
part) and FORNICATION and INCEST (on the man's part if he was not
married).
    In I Corinthians 7:1-2, Paul is giving his advice on certain
sexual matters and under certain "PRESENT distress" (verse 26) of
the times. He advised that during those troubled times it was
probably better not to marry, but if that meant people would
resort to  fornication, then he said they had better marry.
Naturally he would not use the Greek word for adultery as he was
speaking and giving advice to the UNmarried. He used the only
other Greek word he could - the one that conveyed what he meant
and that conveys the meaning of our English word "fornication."
    Turn to I Corinthians 10. Paul is warning the Corinthians not
to practice various forms of evil, as the ancient Israelites did.
Verse 8 is a reference to the account in Numbers 25:1-9, of the
licentious intercourse of Israelite men with the daughters of
Moab. It was common among all idolaters (Corinth was one of the
main seats of idol worship) to practice sexual sin. Hence Paul's
admonition not to "commit fornication ['porneia' ]."

    Are we to suppose that in the account of Numbers 25 ONLY the
UNmarried had sexual relations with the daughters of Moab? We
could suppose such a thing by our English word "FORNICATION" used
in the King James Version. It is unlikely indeed that such was
the case. It is much more reasonable to believe that both MARRIED
and UNMARRIED men of Israel were indulging in sexual intercourse
with the women of Moab. Therefore both ADULTERY and FORNICATION
were being committed. The one Greek word "porneia" is used to
cover both of our English words. The Corinthians would readily
understand, as the temple at Corinth employed a thousand
prostitutes which were available to all men - UNmarried and
married.
    Now turn back to I Corinthians 6:15,16. Paul admonishes them
not to give their bodies to a "HARLOT" - "porne" (from
"porneia"). We find in Proverbs 2:16,17 that a HARLOT can be
married. If so, she is committing ADULTERY when she sells her
body, and the man is committing either FORNICATION or ADULTERY,
depending on whether he is married or not.

    Can we see now that the Greek word "porneia" can mean ALL
that our English words "FORNICATION, ADULTERY, INCEST, HARLOTRY,
HOMOSEXUALITY, LESBIANISM" and "BEASTIALITY" mean. It covers any
improper sexual activity as defined by God in His Word. 
    The Greek lexicons such as Thayer's are quite correct when
they define "porneia" as "illicit sexual intercourse in general."
    Some of the modern translations convey more clearly the
meaning of this word "porneia" than does the King James Version.
Such words as "sexual immorality" and "unchastity" are used for
"porneia," giving a WIDER connotation, as the Greek word does.
    The AMPLIFIED BIBLE renders Matthew 19:9 as, "I say to you:
whoever dismisses (repudiates, divorces) his wife, except for
UNCHASTITY, and marries another, commits adultery...."
    Jesus was very deliberate in choosing to use BOTH Greek words
- the one that covered all sexual improprieties ("PORNEIA") for
the "except," and the other ("MOICHEIA") for adultery
(breaking the Seventh Commandment) on the part of a married
person who divorced and remarried for any reason other than
"PORNEIA."
    Adam Clarke in his commentary on Matthew 5:32 says, "As
FORNICATION signifies no more than the unlawful connection of
UNMARRIED persons, it cannot be used here with propriety, when
speaking of those who were married. I have therefore translated
... 'ON ACCOUNT of WHOREDOM' ...."
    In both passages of Scripture - Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:3-9,
Christ is addressing the common argument of His day among the
religious factions, as to the reasons why a man could divorce his
wife, (the school of SHAMMAI gave only adultery, while the school
of HILLEL gave almost ANY reason). The arguments were about
divorces for those MARRIED - married in every sense of the word
-- not BETROTHED or ENGAGED couples. Hence, as Adam Clarke
recognised, our English word "FORNICATION" is used improperly, as
it can only be used concerning the UNmarried. Here we are talking
about the MARRIED. The dispute among the schools of SHAMMAI and
HILLEL arose from the passage of Deuteronomy 24:1-2 and how to
interpret it.
    These two passages in Matthew have no direct bearing on a man
finding out on his wedding night that his bride was not a virgin,
but had committed FORNICATION sometime before their marriage, and
then DIVORCING her for this deceit. That circumstance and penalty
was clearly given in Deuteronomy 22:13-21. There was no argument
among the schools of religion about that FORNICATION law - but
there was about those MARRIED and for WHAT reason divorce could
be granted in Deuteronomy 24:1-2.
    Jesus gave them the answer.  No divorce EXCEPT for UNCHASTITY
- "PORNEIA."
                            
         WHY DID CHRIST ALLOW DIVORCE FOR UNCHASTITY?

    Sex was created by God - He designed it - He gave it to be
one of the most beautiful experiences and expressions of love
between a man and woman IN marriage. It was God who set down the
law that our sexual parts were only to be shared with the one
chosen to be our wife or husband. It was to be the most private
and unique part of our lives. We may share other things in our
lives with others, but sexual intercourse was designed to be the
loving, intimate, private bond between TWO persons of the
opposite sex - something not shared with any other. It is the
third major element that brings man and woman together as ONE
flesh - as husband and wife.

    It may seem hard for some of us in our so-called FEE
societies, where sexual intercourse is practiced freely among
teenagers, where over 70% of married men indulge in extramarital
sex, and over 50% of married women also. To understand what it
would be like in a society where everyone was a virgin till his
or her wedding day, and where there was no adultery after
marriage. It may seem hard for some of us to imagine a society
where men and women shared their sexual organs with only one
other person at a time in their entire lives - their wife or
husband - and where just the thought of it being otherwise would
make them sick and disgusted. If we can think of that society -
God's society, the way He desires it to be - so pure and holy
among the married with their bodies for each other and none else.
With this in mind we can then begin to see what an absolute
DISASTER it can be to a marriage when one party discovers the
other is sharing his or her body with another in an adulterous
relationship, or in homosexuality, lesbianism, incest or
beastiality. So abominable are these sins in God's eyes, and so
holy is the "two shall become ONE flesh" that He established at
creation, that even when He came to this earth as Jesus Christ
and was busy MAGNIFYING the law and making it honorable, He
allowed DIVORCE and REMARRIAGE for sexual sins - for "PORNEIA"
(FORNICATION, ADULTERY, INCEST, etc.), as the bond of "ONE FLESH"
was now broken. As Paul was inspired to write, ".....he that is
joined to a HARLOT is ONE BODY...." (I Cor. 6:16).
    This, of course, does not mean a person MUST divorce an
unfaithful mate. If the guilty partner is REPENTANT of his or her
sin, then the other can accept this repentance and forgive.


                        CHAPTER FIVE

                   THE FRAUDULENT MARRIAGE

    Does God's Word have anything to say regarding FRAUDULENT
marriages?  

    If so, is DIVORCE and REMARRIAGE permissible under a    
fraudulent marriage?

    These are the questions we shall now address and answer.

    Turn to Deuteronomy 22 and read verses 13-21. I will quote
from the WYCLIFFE BIBLE COMMENTARY as to the meaning of this
passage.
    
    "The case is that in which a husband brings an allegation of
unchastity against his bride, whether falsely (vv.13-19) or
justly (vv. 20,21). [I might add here, this was very shortly
after marriage when intercourse had taken place - Keith Hunt]. In
the first instance, the malicious accuser was to suffer corporal
punishment (v.18; CF. 25:1-3), pay compensation to his father-in-
law for defaming his house (v.19a), and retain his wife without
ever being permitted to divorce her (v.19b). In the second case,
the guilty bride who had 'wrought folly' was to suffer death by
stoning before the disgraced house of her father. In societies
where such evidence was legally decisive, it was customary after
the consummation of the marriage to keep the tokens of the
bride's virginity (v.17)."
    
    The "tokens of virginity" were the underlying BED SHEETS!  If
the bride was guilty of unchastity or (as we would say today)
FORNICATION before her marriage, and her husband DID NOT KNOW IT
till they had intercourse - he supposing his bride to be a virgin
because she had led him to believe so - he could  disclose the
truth and have her put to death. She had committed "folly" and
also FRAUD! 

    As I have said earlier, in the days of Jesus' ministry the
Jews were no longer applying the death sentence for FORNICATION,
ADULTERY, etc. In the case of Deuteronomy 22 above, the man did
not HAVE to disclose to the authorities the truth of his bride's
misconduct before marriage.  He could have mercy and forgive.
This is shown in the account of Joseph and Mary.

                       JOSEPH AND MARY

    Jesus' mother, Mary, was a virgin. She had never engaged in
sexual relations (Luke 1:34). She became espoused - formally
engaged, or betrothed - to Joseph. But, "....BEFORE they CAME
TOGETHER, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit"
(Mat.1:18).
    "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to
make her a public example, was minded to put her away  "privily 
(verse 19). There were at least two statutes which Joseph
could have resorted to in order to put her away. Because as far
as he could tell, Mary had engaged in premarital sex -
fornication. These statutes are found in Deuteronomy 22:13-21 and
Deuteronomy 24:1-4. A just and righteous man like Joseph could
have put away a betrothed wife for fornication unknown to him
before the betrothal. But the angel came and told Joseph in a
dream, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee
Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy
Spirit" (Mat.1:20). 
                                                                 

      
    Joseph and Mary were BETROTHED - ENGAGED, as we would call
it. But they hadn't yet come together in sexual relations (Mat.
1:18). Now, under Jewish civil law, ENGAGEMENT was a much more
serious matter than with us, so much so that LEGALLY they were
married, and if they did not consummate the marriage, DIVORCE
papers would be needed to terminate the engagement. If an engaged
bridegroom was killed or died before consummating the marriage,
his bride was regarded as a WIDOW.
    Joseph was a just (righteous) man. Suspecting FORNICATION
prior to consummating their marriage, he contemplated putting
Mary away (divorcing her). He would have been free to marry
another woman.
    If he had not found out about Mary being pregnant until after
consummating their marriage, he would still have been at liberty
to have applied Deuteronomy 22:13-21, divorcing her.(Remember,
they were not applying the death sentence). If she had been
FRAUDULENT with him, claiming to be a virgin when she was not, he
would have been able to REmarry and still be within God's law.
    I realize some of the above is HYPOTHETICAL (Mary would have
been a virgin, as she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and not a
man) but it illustrates the point, I hope, to the reader.
    God recognises that there will be some who will not be
marrying for the right and proper reasons. (See again "What
Constitutes Marriage?"). They will be DECEIVING - committing
FRAUD to the other party. He allows, when the innocent party
discovers this fraud, for that party to DIVORCE and remarry if he
or she chooses.
    Jesus allowed for this when he used the Greek word "PORNEIA"
in His "except" clause of Matthew, as  "PORNEIA"  covers any
sexual impropriety. It includes what we have studied in
Deuteronomy 22:13-21.
 
    In principle, the law regarding sexual fraud in Moses'
economy would extend to all deliberately planned fraudulent
marriages: i.e., one person marries another SOLELY for his or her
MONEY, and the innocent party finds out after the marriage; or a
woman marries a man SOLELY for the purpose of giving her young
child a home, but she does not love the man, and he finds out
after the wedding. Such marriages would be FRAUD - coming under
the FORNICATION law of Deuteronomy 22, and "PORNEIA" in Matthew
19.
    The innocent party of a FRAUDULENT marriage would be within
God's law to DIVORCE and REmarry when he or she found out the
truth.
    Deuteronomy 22:13-21 describes the case where SEXUAL fraud
(fornication) is discovered on or shortly after the wedding, and
action is taken when such fraud is discovered. It would obviously
be against the "spirit of the law" for someone to find out the
truth, and "sit on it," so to speak, until CONVENIENT (one, five
or ten years down the road), and then ask for a divorce under
"FRAUD."


                         CHAPTER SIX

                 MARRIAGES BEFORE CONVERSION

    There are THREE basic teachings regarding marriage and
divorce: (A) There is NO divorce at all (B) There is divorce
under certain circumstances - the "except" clause of Jesus (C)
There is divorce for all and any reason.

    We have seen that teaching "C" was NOT upheld by Jesus. We
have seen that Jesus did teach that divorce is permissible under
"except for PORNEIA." Now let's examine teaching  "A"  with
a hypothetical (but often very real) case.
    Mr. Jones has been married to FOUR women. At his time of
conversion, he is married to the fourth. He wants to know who is
his real wife, in the eyes of God. Let's suppose we could prove
that marriage number one was FRAUDULENT - so we eliminate that
one. Then we examine his second marriage and find no real
God-given reason for that divorce. The teaching of "A" would
say that his third and fourth marriages were ADULTEROUS unions -
he must break this fourth union and be single.
    Now let's see some of the problems with this. His second
wife, who we claim is his God-bound wife for life (under teaching
"A"), is nowhere to be found; in fact she has emigrated to
Hong Kong and died there. But Mr. Jones and his counsellors
cannot find out what happened to her. He is really FREE to marry
- he is really FREE then (according to teaching "A" that says
only DEATH breaks a marriage) to stay married to his fourth wife,
but  he is counselled that he must separate, as he's living in
adultery.

    Can we see the MIND-BENDING problems we could encounter? Now
to be sure, as we have seen, people can be bound in marriage
BEFORE conversion (as the marriage law is for ALL people at ALL
times), and divorce and remarry and be living in ADULTERY -they
have SINNED. When they are CONVERTED, they realize they are
SINNERS, and have committed SIN in their lives. They have LIED,
or taken God's name in vain. They have broken the SABBATH, they
have STOLEN and have been guilty of ADULTERY!
    The Bible plainly teaches that ONLY the blood of Jesus Christ
can ERASE those sins - we can do NOTHING except REPENT, to
eradicate those sins. (Request the study "SAVED BY GRACE - The
True Way of Salvation"). To be sure, it might be good to PAY BACK
those we have STOLEN from, IF possible, but often it's not
possible (someone may have disappeared to the other side of the
earth). God does not specifically require it of us. What He wants
is REPENTANCE for those sins. Upon our repentance and acceptance
of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice - His death in payment of ours,
as we have been under the death sentence for sinning, for our
breaking of God's laws (I John. 3:4; Rom. 3:23, 6:23) - we are
FORGIVEN. We are set FREE from sin - we are as if we had never
sinned. All our sins of LYING are no more. All our sins of
COVETING are no more. All our sins of MURDER (if we've murdered
someone, who can bring him back to life?) are no more. All our
sins of PROFANITY are no more. All our sins of ADULTERY are no
more; they have been WASHED AWAY.

          
    We are NO LONGER adulterers! We have been set FREE from that
sin. Because of this, Mr. Jones does not have to separate from
his fourth wife at his CONVERSION.
    
    History tells us that at the time of the apostles the Jewish
and Roman societies were sexually LICENTIOUS - fornication,
prostitution, adultery and divorce were commonplace. The early
church of the first century would have encountered HUNDREDS of
individuals being converted and entering the church with MULTIPLE
divorces and remarriages in their past lives - cases such
as Mr. Jones! In actuality, we can search the New Testament in
vain to find any reference about any minister or group of
ministers getting together to try to figure out all these
"divorce cases" and decide which woman or man a person was really
married to. It is just not there! It is recorded that a
conference was called to decide the issue of circumcision (Acts
15) because it became so important a dispute, but we can not find
any apostles giving any time to trying to figure out all these
jigsaw puzzles of past marriages and divorces of new converts.
    There was NO NEED, when we understand that past sins of
adultery were WASHED AWAY at baptism - the individual became "a
NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become NEW .... God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus
Christ ... not imputing THEIR TRESPASSES unto them ..." (2 Cor.
5:17-19).
    Read Romans 6 and 7:1-4. Both chapter 6 and chapter 7 begin
by dealing with the theme of man's DEATH in relationship to the
law. Chapter 6 draws on the analogy of baptism while chapter 7
uses the illustration of marriage. It is abundantly clear in
these two passages that EVERYTHING is left behind at the waters
of baptism. A person has DIED to the law (the law claimed our
life because we were sinners). The act of going under the water
symbolizes our DEATH to sin. We have DIED then (Jesus died the
literal death for us - thus becoming our Saviour) to the law, it
has been satisfied when death has taken place. Jesus died for us
in our stead, hence all past sins have been washed away (Romans
3:23-26; 5:6-10).

    As far as the laws regulating divorce and subsequent
remarriage are concerned, a man or awoman dies at the point of
baptism, and ALL of his or her past is wiped out in God's eyes.
There is NOTHING about that life following baptism that is not
completely new.
    
End of part two

                  ......................................

Written 1984

 
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