If someone is engaged to be married, yet her betrothed husband “puts her away” gives her a “bill of divorcement” just because he wants to, how would that make her or him an adulterer? Neither one of them has had a physical relationship. Do you think divorce is a sin? If so, does that mean you think God is a sinner because He divorced Israel? Also wasn’t it a sin to marry the strange women in Ezra? And Gods solution wasn’t repent and go on, it was repent and divorce them. Even though they didn’t want to. They were perfectly happy with their spouses. Do you think the King James Bible is perfect? Do you think I’m divorced or single or married?
Matthew 5:31,32 says, “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 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.”
Matthew 19:3-9 says, “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? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 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. 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.”
Your first question was, “If someone is engaged to be married, yet her betrothed husband “puts her away” gives her a “bill of divorcement” just because he wants to, how would that make her or him an adulterer? Neither one of them has had a physical relationship.”
You have misunderstood the above passages. The ONLY TIME that it IS PERMISSIBLE to get a divorce is DURING THE ENGAGEMENT or betrothal period. The reason is that they have not yet come together and have not yet made vows to remain together until death parts them. So if the engagement is broken off, then they are NOT ADULTERERS.
Please also understand, though, that the Bible DOES NOT give permission to break off an engagement FOR ANY LIGHT REASON. The Bible mentions fornication as an acceptable reason to break it off. That is not a frivilous reason, but one that shows that a person cannot be trusted to remain true to his or her mate. If an engagement could be lightly broken off, then it would be no different than dating, with all if its problems. Remember, when a couple gets betrothed or engaged, it is okay to fall in love, because they are promised to each other (they are even called “husband” and “wife” in Matthew 1:18-20, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother MARY WAS ESPOUSED TO JOSEPH, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then JOSEPH HER HUSBAND, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, 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 Ghost”). If you lightly break off an engagement, then you have one or two people that have fallen in love with someone that is going to be another person’s husband or wife. That is breaking one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE…” (Exodus 20:17). If you have fallen in love with someone that is going to be another person’s husband or wife, then you are coveting their mate in your heart.
Your second set of questions was, “Do you think divorce is a sin? If so, does that mean you think God is a sinner because He divorced Israel?”
It does not matter what I “think.” What matters is what the Bible says. God says in Malachi 2:14-16, “Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD 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. 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. For THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, SAITH THAT HE HATETH PUTTING AWAY: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”
God hates divorce.
Notice Jesus’ response to the question of when divorce was permissible. Matthew 19:3-9 says, “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? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 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. 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.”
When Jesus was asked about divorce, this was His answer, “WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER.”
When asked why Moses allowed it, Jesus answered, “MOSES BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS SUFFERED YOU TO PUT AWAY YOUR WIVES: BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO.” God hates divorce. If a person goes ahead and gets a divorce, then Jesus says that person has a hard heart.
God hates divorce. God hates sin.
Wanting a divorce is to confess that one’s heart is hard toward God. Having a hard heart is sin. Getting a divorce is sin.
As to the question about God divorcing Israel, that is simply an illustration given to Israel to try and wake them up from their sin. Jeremiah 3:6-15 says, “The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding ISRAEL hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there HATH PLAYED THE HARLOT. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
The context is that God allowed the northern tribes of Israel to be conquered and deported out of the land by Assyria. He was warning Judah to not go the same route that the other tribes had gone. They did not listen, and eventually Nebuchadnezzar deported most of them. God allowed Israel to be taken out of the land and away from Him and His blessings there. That is like a wife that goes and plays the harlot, and is thus removed from her husband and the blessings and protection that she finds with him. God uses marriage and divorce as an illustration here to get their attention.
Your third set of questions was, “Also wasn’t it a sin to marry the strange women in Ezra? And God’s solution wasn’t repent and go on, it was repent and divorce them. Even though they didn’t want to. They were perfectly happy with their spouses.”
Ezra 9:1-10:17 says, “Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been showed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this. Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, WE HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST OUR GOD, AND HAVE TAKEN STRANGE WIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. NOW THEREFORE LET US MAKE A COVENANT WITH OUR GOD TO PUT AWAY ALL THE WIVES, AND SUCH AS ARE BORN OF THEM, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; AND LET IT BE DONE ACCORDING TO THE LAW. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away. And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem; And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain. And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do. But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing. Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us. Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them. And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.”
First, it was the people’s idea to divorce their wives, not Ezra’s. “And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, WE HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST OUR GOD, AND HAVE TAKEN STRANGE WIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. NOW THEREFORE LET US MAKE A COVENANT WITH OUR GOD TO PUT AWAY ALL THE WIVES, AND SUCH AS ARE BORN OF THEM, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; AND LET IT BE DONE ACCORDING TO THE LAW.”
What did the Law say about “strange” (unsaved and foreign) women? The Bible was very clear that the people of Israel were not to marry them. First, because it is wrong to marry someone that is not saved, because that person may turn away your heart from serving the Lord. Such a thing happened to Solomon. I Kings 11:1,2 says, “But king Solomon loved MANY STRANGE WOMEN, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning WHICH THE LORD SAID unto the children of Israel, YE SHALL NOT GO IN TO THEM, neither shall they come in unto you: FOR SURELY THEY WILL TURN AWAY YOUR HEART after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.” That is exactly what happened to Solomon. I Kings 11:3,4 says, “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and HIS WIVES TURNED AWAY HIS HEART. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” We have no record that Solomon ever divorced any of those unsaved wives.
Second, the people of Israel were not only to marry JUST OTHER JEWS, but ONLY JEWS OF THEIR SAME TRIBE. Numbers 36:6,7 says, “This is the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry. SO SHALL NOT THE INHERITANCE OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL REMOVE FROM TRIBE TO TRIBE: for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.”
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 says, “When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”
Once again, that whole provision, according to Jesus, was because the children of Israel had such hard hearts. They would marry according to beauty, instead of godliness (“seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her…”) (remember Proverbs 31:30? “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised”), and they would thus tire of her and want a divorce (remember Ecclesiates 1:8? “the eye is not satisfied with seeing…”), and so provision was made for their hard hearts. Notice that they were not commanded to divorce those women, but only that provision was made if that was what their hard hearts wanted.
Some people use the passage in Ezra to teach today that people who are divorced and remarried should divorce their second mates and remain single. That is not what the passage in Ezra deals with at all. It is not dealing with divorced and remarried people, but with people who have married unsaved mates. The Bible is very clear in the New Testament that YOU ARE NOT TO MARRY AN UNSAVED PERSON. II Corinthians 6:14 says, “BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
But when you make one mistake, that does not justify making another one. The New Testament is very clear that if you find yourself married to an unsaved person, YOU ARE NOT TO LEAVE THAT MATE. I Corinthians 7:12-16 says, “If any brother hath A WIFE THAT BELIEVETH NOT, and she be pleased to dwell with him, LET HIM NOT PUT HER AWAY. And the woman which hath AN HUSBAND THAT BELIEVETH NOT, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, LET HER NOT LEAVE HIM. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”
This New Testament passage makes it very clear that God’s will for us today is not at all what the people did in Ezra’s day. A person will save much heartache by obeying God in the first place, but making one mistake does not mean a person is justified in making another one. If you have made a mistake in marrying an unsaved person, and have had children by that one, it is time to quit thinking of yourself, and start thinking about others. First, the salvation of your mate; and then, the well-being and godly training of the children which have been brought forth through that marriage.
Your last set of questions were, “Do you think the King James Bible is perfect? Do you think I’m divorced or single or married?”
I will answer the last question first. I have no idea what your marital status is.
Now, the first question. God promised to preserve His Word pure for every generation. Psalm 12:6,7 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” I believe God, that He promised to preserve His Word as the purest silver for every generation. I do believe that the King James Bible is the pure, preserved Word of God without error.
I can either take man’s word on it, that we do not have a perfect Bible any more, or I can believe God’s promises. I choose to believe God. I have found that what I do not understand in God’s Word, often becomes understandable with more study. The devil is using his same old tactics today, as he did in the Garden of Eden — and he seems to be succeeding again, too. Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, YEA, HATH GOD SAID, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” That is what so many preachers are doing from the pulpit today. They stand up and say, “This verse is not found in the best manuscripts…” Or, “This word would be better translated this way…” Or “The Greek really says…” By the time he gets through preaching, his people are thinking in their minds, “What does the Bible really say?” There is no way that they are going to be sure of any verse, because they are not “the scholars.” The preacher reads from one translation, and the people look on from a variety of other translations, so that it is even hard to follow along and tell in what verse the preacher is reading. That is plain confusion. God is not the author of confusion. I Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” God is not the author of all these different translations that leave out verses and whole passages. Can you guess who is? The same one that said in the Garden of Eden, “YEA, HATH GOD SAID…?” If you do not have a perfectly preserved Word of God wthout error, then Satan has you right where he wants you, because that means that you are asking the same question, “What has God really said?”