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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (2)

Realizing how vitally important it was in our day and age to have a thoroughly Biblical view on these matters, and realizing that my current (inherited) views were woefully lacking, I purposed to spend as long as the study required in order to come to a Biblical understanding of marriage.

So I purposed to read the Bible through from cover to cover with the intent of noting, listing and carefully considering every reference…
- to marriage, divorce and remarriage,
- to sexual relationships and
- to divine instructions, warnings, commands, prohibitions, blessings and promises that were related to the marriage relationship or to its perversions.


As my study progressed, I wrote to a friend, “In spite of all the confusion among godly men on the subject of divorce, I’ve been encouraged by James 1:5 that a right understanding of the scriptures is possible and most necessary. It seems most evident to me that, if some scriptures create problems to my way of thinking on a subject, my thinking is either faulty or incomplete. So I’ve been trying to locate and evaluate every biblical passage dealing with the marriage relationship and its abuse to try to get a full picture of the subject.”

Something that impressed me early on in my study was that when God had first brought Eve to Adam in the garden, there is no record of any instructions being given them relative to marriage! But as the inspired scriptures were given and began to be written by Moses, we are given the pattern principles of marriage stated positively in Genesis 2:
(1) No helper suitable for Adam among the animals: Marriage is to be a human relationship.
(2) A woman is brought to a man:
Marriage is to be a heterosexual relationship.
(3) A man is leave his father and mother to find a wife: Marriage is to be a non-incestuous relationship.
(4) The man is to cleave to his wife:
Marriage is to be a non-adulterous relationship.
(5) The man is to cleave to his wife: Marriage is to a marital relationship.
(6) A man and a woman (singular) are to be one flesh: Marriage is to be a monogamous relationship.

But in the book of Genesis, we find examples of bigamy, polygamy, and divorce with no reproof of these practices by conscience or divine revelation.
We find instances of incest, harlotry, and sodomy reproved by conscience but not reproved by any divine revelation or prohibition.
We find divine judgment meted out for sodomy but only adultery is actually reproved by divine revelation. (Gen.20:3)

So notice with me, the progressive manner in which God, in the scriptures, reveals His positive pattern for marriage by way of the contrasting negative prohibitions:

I. In Genesis: -only adultery is ruled out. (20:3) *non-adulterous relationships only
II.In Exodus
: -adultery is ruled out (20:14,17)
-bestiality is ruled out (22:19) *human relationships only
III. In Leviticus: -adultery is ruled out (18:16,20)
-bestiality is ruled out (18:23)
-incest is ruled out (18:7-18) *non-incestuous relationships only
-sodomy is ruled out (18:22) *heterosexual relationships only
IV.In Deuteronomy:
-adultery is ruled out (22:22)
-bestiality is ruled out (27:21)
-incest is ruled out (23:30; 27:20,22,23)
-sodomy is ruled out (23:17) and
-pre and post-marital relationships are ruled out (22:20-29 & 23:17)
*marital relationships only

But throughout the entire OT there is no divine reproof of polygamy! This is only revealed as we come to NT times:
(V) In Matthew and Romans: -polygamy is ruled out. (Matt.19:5) “They twain (the two of them) shall be one flesh.” (Romans 7:1-3) “So then, if while her husband liveth she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” Thus we see that God’s design for marriage is that it is not only a human relationship, a heterosexual relationship, a non-incestuous relationship, a non-adulterous relationship, and a marital relationship, but it is also to be a monogamous relationship.

Thus, I began to see that these six features not only define the very nature of God’s design for marriage but also define negatively every possible sort of perversion of that relationship.

I was deeply impressed that it was not until God had completely revealed not only His positive pattern for marriage but also had revealed the opposite perversions that he spoke for the very first time of “that which God hath joined together” with the accompanying prohibition, “Let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:6

In the last 10 years or so, I have asked many ministers, pastors and preachers who are “registered marriage officers” a question which not one yet has been able to answer! If they don’t know the answer to this question, you can be sure that few if any of those whom they are marrying know the answer either! And this, I believe is the number one reason why divorce rates continue to rise and may even be higher among professing Christians than even in the world!

This is a question which , I believe, ought to be answered by every “marriage officer” as well as by every couple contemplating marriage and, by all means, by every couple contemplating divorce!

That question is this: “What is it that God joins?” Is it every marriage? Is it every “legal marriage”? Is it every “Christian marriage”? I think you can easily see the problems with any such answer!
One of the first preachers to whom I asked this question acknowledged that he did not know. So I pressed upon him the vital importance of this matter by a second question: “If we have no idea what it is that God joins, how can we have any idea what it is that He forbids to be put asunder?" I maintain that widespread ignorance of the answer to this one question is the prime reason why marriages are entered into so lightly and are exited just as lightly!

If every marriage officer not only knew what it was that God joined but purposed never to marry any couple which God would not join
If every couple contemplating marriage not only knew what God joined but also purposed that they would only marry if God would join their union, and….
If every couple contemplating divorce not only knew what it was that God joined but also purposed not to put asunder what God had joined…. divorce rates would plummet very quickly to zero!

Personally, I am firmly convinced that the answer to the question, “What is it that God joins which He also forbids to be put asunder?” …. is marriages which at their very commencement are marked by all six of the features (above). It is for this reason that I call these the “Six Marks of A Marriage that God Joins”. (To be continued…)

119 comments:

gary allnot said...

Do you mean that these requirements are specifically for people who are committed to God, or that they are for all people regardless of belief?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi Gary,
Thanks for your thoughtful question.

In answer I would say that whatever the Lord Jesus taught about marriage and divorce is addressed to all. Just as marriage is an institution for the entire human race, so are the divine instructions regarding it and divorce.

Many unsaved people do not appreciate God's instructions on any matter and wilfully reject and disobey them. Sadly, the same is true of many professed believers! But divine instructions ALWAYS have our best interests at heart and His commandments are NOT grievous.

gary allnot said...

What evidences convinced you that they were addressed to all?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi again Gary,

Three of the main reasons why I believe these instructions were given for all and apply to all are:
(1) The Lord Jesus' own use of the words "whosoever" and "whoever" in Matthew 19:9 where he was definitely NOT speaking to believers but to rebellious Pharisees seeking for every "loophole" they could find!
(2)In Romans 7:1-3 Paul addresses the matter of a "woman" who has a husband and how she is bound to her husband as long as He lives and if while her husband is alive, she marries another and is called an adulteress. He does not say a "Christian woman" or a "believing woman"! The same is true of Paul's instructions re marriage and divorce in I Cor.7
(3) John the Baptist applied God's instructions re marriage and divorce to an unbelieving, Gentile King Herod who had married his brother's wife! (See Matthew 14:1-13) Did you realize that John lost his head specifically because of his Biblical convictions re divorce and remarriage?

I hope this helps, but feel free to ask whatever other questions may be on your mind. I know there are a lot of "thorny" problems, but none that cannot be righteously resolved if one is willing to be obedient to God.

Bruce

gary allnot said...

On point one;
would you agree that the phrases were people who were specifically committed to following Gods laws?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi Gary,

No, I don't think the Lord Jesus' conversations with the Pharisees would bear that out! They were far more committed to their own traditions which often set the laws of God aside!

To whom do you think Matthew 19, and Romans 7 apply? And why? Do you think John the baptizer was right to apply God's law to an unbelieving Gentile King? Why or why not?

gary allnot said...

I see.
Would you agree that the pharisees were jewish men?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi Gary,
Certainly the Pharisees were Jewish men. But the subject of their discussions with the Lord Jesus was NOT "Jewish marriage"!

John the Baptist applied Biblical marriage statutes to Herod a Gentile king. Marriage is not a Jewish institution but an institution for the whole human race.
Bruce

gary allnot said...

Thanks Bruce,

I just have a few more questions on your first point.

Would you agree that these jewish men who were Pharisees believed that they best observed the laws favoured by God?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi Gary,

They likely did. Most religious people think that they themselves keep the law better than anyone else. But the Lord Jesus did not think so!

Feel free to ask a number of questions at once if you like.

Bruce

gary allnot said...

Thanks for the suggestion, but I feel as though I can understand things better if I just focus on one thing at a time.

Would you agree that these pharisees were considered by others to be better educated than the average jew in matters of the law?

Bruce Woodford said...

I suppose they were considered to be better educated in matters of the law, but also seeking for every means by which to avoid keeping the law in areas that were uncomfortable to their own lifestyles!

gary allnot said...

Would you agree that Jesus told his disciples that the pharisees ought to be obeyed in matters of the law?

Bruce Woodford said...

Is that in scripture?

gary allnot said...

Would you agree that in the example that you gave on your first point that these jewish experts in jewish law were asking jesus about a specific jewish law?

Bruce Woodford said...

No Gary, I would not agree to that at all! They were asking if a man could divorce his wife for every cause! No Jewish law said anything about divorce for every cause!

In response the Lord Jesus took them right back to God's creation institution of marriage for the entire race.

Not liking his response at all...they started arguing from a supposed command of Moses. The Lord Jesus answered by saying that Moses permitted (not commanded) divorce for the hardness of their hearts.

Then He returned to the subject of marriage for "whosoever" and said that divorce for any other cause than fornication (NOT Adultery) resulted in adultery.

It is the Lord Jesus' teaching (not the questions or arguments of the Pharisees) that is our authoritative standard on the subject of divorce and remarriage!

gary allnot said...

Do I understand that you do not agree that Deuteronomy 24:1 is a specific jewish law?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi again Gary,

Like I said, the Pharisees had asked Jesus about "divorce for every cause". Not liking his response, they asked another question on a totally different subject...Moses' command for divorce in a very specific situation (a marriage in which the husband learns after the fact that he has in fact married a near relative and is thus in an incestuous marriage).

The Lord Jesus would not be sidetracked by their "bait and switch" technique and so in his response he returns to the original subject "divorce for every cause".

So yes, Deut 24:1-3 is certainly a law given to the Jews but it applies equally to all on the basis of the prohibitions of such relationships in Lev.18 which John the Batizer applied to Herod.

Bruce

gary allnot said...

So, If I understand you, you are agreeing that these jewish experts in jewish law were asking jesus about a specific jewish law?

Bruce Woodford said...

Just what I said above, Gary.

It was not a "Jewish Law" (one made by or proceeding from the Jews). Rather it was the law of God revealed through Moses but applying to all.
That is why the Lord Jesus applies his teaching on marriage and divorce to everyone regardless of nationality or spiritual condition

gary allnot said...

Do I understand that you are saying that what God revealed to Moses was applicable to all nations, not just the jews.

Bruce Woodford said...

Good question Gary! But, as always...context, context, context determines who is being referred to or addressed. Moses wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy and much of what he wrote is what I call "the Gentile Torah"! Our diet as gentiles is set out for us after the flood...we may now eat not only every green plant but every animal that moves! The Jewish diet was later much restricted but ours never was.

Jews were given many holy days, Sabbaths, and feasts which they are commanded to observe but Gentiles not living among the Israelites are never instructed to keep such.

But scripture clearly reveals that many things which Israelites were forbidden to do were also abominations to God which defiled the nations which practised them and therefore God judged them for these things (and still does!). (Relations with those of near kinship i.e. incest is just one example. See Lev.18)

On the other hand, the "Ten Commandments" as unit and a specific covenant which God made with Israel (Deut.4:13) was specifically given and made as a covenant with Israel and not with any other Gentile nation!)

Scripture is also clear that God applies 9 of these ten commandments and has established consequences for Gentiles who violate them.

Three practices are to mark Israelites forever: Circumcision of their males, observance of the Passover and keeping the 7th day sabbath. None of these are required of any Gentile unless he desired to become an Israelite or live among them.

These are just a few examples of many in this regard but as I mentioned...CONTEXT is the key.

Does this help?
Bruce

gary allnot said...

would you agree that it was Moses who wrote down the Torah?

Bruce Woodford said...

If by "the Torah" you mean Genesis to Deuteronomy, yes.

gary allnot said...

And you would agree that no one had written down any part of the torah before Moses?

Bruce Woodford said...

I don't know about that. Other people may have written down some of the things (events or teachings) recorded in the scriptures, but as far as the scriptural record goes there is no evidence of such.

gary allnot said...

Would you agree that God did not instruct Moses to impose the Torah on neighbouring nations?

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, you seem not to take into account that there is a "Gentile Torah" included in the Books of Moses. The covenant with all flesh in Genesis 9 is for all people. The diet prescribed for all people after the flood is for all nations etc.

Then Lev.18 is perfectly clear that many of the immoral practices forbidden there are defiling to all nations (not just Israel) and that they are abominations to the Lord and defile the land!

So you are right, The Lord did not instruct Moses to "impose the Torah on Gentiles" for He himself imposed much of it on Gentiles Himself, although not all.

Bruce

gary allnot said...

Would you agree then that God addressed Genesis 9 to Moses, and not the Gentiles?

Bruce Woodford said...

No I would not agree at all! All of the Torah was REVEALED TO Moses but it is an historical record of God speaking to Noah regarding his seed (all nations)and all flesh. Would you agree,Gary?

Bruce Woodford said...

No I would not agree at all! All of the Torah was REVEALED TO Moses but it is an historical record of God speaking to Noah regarding his seed (all nations)and all flesh. Would you agree,Gary?

gary allnot said...

Would you agree then that God addressed Leviticus 18 specifically to Israel, and not the Gentiles?

Bruce Woodford said...

First of all Gary, do you agree that Gen 9 is an historical record of God speaking to Noah regarding his seed, i.e. all nations?

As you answer this, I will continue to answer your questions.

gary allnot said...

So, if I understand your belief for your first reason that you think that the teachings of Jesus on Marriage and Divorce are for all people and not just for those who are committed to God.

It is because you think that the pharisees whom he was addressing were not really committed to God.

That these Jewish pharisees in Israel surrounded by jews who were educated in and referring to a Jewish law, given to them by God through Moses did not mention that they were asking about Jewish marriage.

And that there are certain laws revealed to Moses that should be apparent to all nations and they should understand what they are.

And one of those laws would be about divorce and remarriage.

Do I understand you so far?

Bruce Woodford said...

First of all Gary, it does not seem like you understood my last comment at all!

gary allnot said...

I'm Sorry Bruce, but I did not come on this site to debate you, or push my views, I wanted to see if you had good evidence for your views.
That is why I am asking questions about your understanding and your answers.
I want to know if this is just something that you made up, or have learned from culture and are bending scripture to fit, or if it is specifically taught in scripture.

I have a few more questions about your first point and several more about the following two points if you'll allow them.

Bruce Woodford said...

OK,fair enough, Gary...

I've copied your previous questions and insert my answers below...

(BTW, sorry for the delay in my answers at times. I just access the net at the local library, so don't have daily access especially during the holidays.)

Gary:So, if I understand your belief for your first reason that you think that the teachings of Jesus on Marriage and Divorce are for all people and not just for those who are committed to God.

It is because you think that the pharisees whom he was addressing were not really committed to God.

Bruce: No Gary, this is not at all the reason I believe this! It is because the Lord Jesus said His instructions were for "whosoever", not just those who are "committed to God"! And marriage was not given as a "Jewish institution", or an institution only for "those who are committed to God" but an institution for the whole race of men. That's why all men are held accountable before God.

Gary:That these Jewish pharisees in Israel surrounded by jews who were educated in and referring to a Jewish law, given to them by God through Moses did not mention that they were asking about Jewish marriage.

Bruce: Gary, their question was NOT about Jewish marriage, or if a Jewish man could divorce his wife for any cause! Their question was if a man could divorce his wife for any cause!

Gary:And that there are certain laws revealed to Moses that should be apparent to all nations and they should understand what they are.

Bruce: You seem to forget that the Gentiles which have not the law (written down to them) do by nature the things contained in the law. (They know in their conscience that if they don't want another man to take their wife...that it is also wrong for them to take another man's wife etc!)

Gary: And one of those laws would be about divorce and remarriage.

Do I understand you so far?

Bruce: As above, I don't think you have understood at all, but I hope my answers will clarify that for you.

gary allnot said...

Thanks Bruce, your answers may be more clear if I ask better questions.

Would you agree that in its context, God addressed Leviticus 18 specifically to Israel, and not the Gentiles?

Bruce Woodford said...

Lev 18 is addressed TO Israel but it is NOT just ABOUT Israel! Lev 18 tells us that the nations were defiled by their abominations. Abominations which BTW were not just abominations to Israel but they were abominations to God! That's why adultery, incest etc are wrong no matter who commits them!

gary allnot said...

is there any evidence of the nations getting a copy of this teaching?

Bruce Woodford said...

Absolutely! I'm a Gentile and we have had the scriptures for centuries! Even though some don't have the law, (the scriptures) Paul says that they do by nature the things contained in the law.

gary allnot said...

I see. Let me try to be clear.

Is there any evidence of the nations, (referenced in Leviticus 18. The ones who were defiled by their abominations) getting a special revelation of this teaching, before or around the time of Moses?

Also, I am disappointed that you did not relay my question of Dec 30.

Bruce Woodford said...

HI Gary,
I'm not aware of God giving special revelation to other nations. But all have a conscience which reproves them when they are doing wrong. The first man in the Bible who (unwittingly) was about to take another man's wife (Abimelech taking Sarah) knew without any divine revelation that such was wrong. He just didn't know that Sarah was Abraham's wife!

BTW, there is a question of yours on Dec 30th posted above. If there was another, I did not receive it. I've posted everything received from you Gary. If there was another, please post it again. Bruce

gary allnot said...

do I understand that it is your position that conscience alone is enough to know adultery is wrong?

Bruce Woodford said...

God's position is the one that really matters, Gary. See Romans 2:12-16.

gary allnot said...

So, you would agree with God, that conscience alone is enough to know adultery is wrong?

Bruce Woodford said...

Yes, Gary... Conscience is enough to know that adultery is wrong, but God has given us much specific revelation to inform us of far more and how he expects us to live our lives in view of the revelation He has given.

gary allnot said...

So you would agree that if you could honestly say that your conscience is clear then you know your actions are lawfull.

Bruce Woodford said...

NO, I would not agree to that! One's conscience can be seared, it can be hardened by stubborn disobedience, it can be confused by cultures which have departed from the knowledge of God etc etc! The only way one can be sure their actions are lawful is if they are consistent with and obedient to scriptural instructions.

gary allnot said...

do I understand then, that it is your position that conscience alone is not enough to know adultery is wrong?

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, simply read Romans chapters 1 and 2. Yes, conscience alone is enough to know that adutery is wrong, but many have turned away and rebelled against what they know of God and God has given them over to a reprobate mind to do many things contrary to His word. They are still guilty before God and will be held accountable (even though they may feel no guilt in their own conscience now!)

gary allnot said...

On January 16th you wrote that conscience alone was not enough.
On January 17th you wrote that conscience alone was enough.

which is correct?

Bruce Woodford said...

You are misconstruing what I said and ignoring that I was answering two completely different questions!

gary allnot said...

Did you say that your conscience can be seared and is not enough to know your actions are lawful?

Bruce Woodford said...

Yes, I did Gary. That was in response to your question, "If your conscience is clear can you know your actions are lawful?"

Many people who do wickedness have no experience of guilt over their unlawful actions because they have already suppressed what they did know of God!

gary allnot said...

Are you saying that your conscience can only be seared after you have already sinned?

Bruce Woodford said...

Did you read Romans 1 and 2 Gary?

gary allnot said...

You realize that I am trying to find out how YOU interpret this passage, don't you?

Bruce Woodford said...

Which passage did you have in mind, specifically? Seems like we have discussed quite a few!

gary allnot said...

As I see it, you have stated that when Jesus says, “Whoever” in Matthew 19:9 he means all people at all times and not just his immediate audience who followed the Torah. Because there is a Gentile Torah that applies to all Nations, even the nations mentioned in Leviticus 18 and the evidence of them getting this teaching is that they have a conscience. And their conscience will naturally teach them the same as the law would. And you then said that this was according to Romans 1 and 2. You also mentioned that conscience alone (in some cases) was not enough to know adultery was wrong.

Was that the path we took?

Bruce Woodford said...

Yes Gary..."whosoever" includes all people just as "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish". And yes, conscience tells all people that adultery is wrong but when people suppress and violate that conscience and deliberately disobey God their conscience is hardened and may no longer trouble them.

gary allnot said...

I understand your claims, but I am still trying to understand the evidence that reinforces your claims.

your first reason that you gave for believing that Gods marital requirements are for all people and not just those who are committed to him was, Jesus' use of the word "whosoever" when he was talking to the pharisees (Matthew 19:9), and that these pharisees were not following God. Therefore it follows that Jesus' meant it for all people.

the following evidence we agreed on was that:
the pharisees were considered experts in Jewish law.
these pharisees were asking Jesus about a particular law revealed through Moses.
This law was written by Moses in the Torah.
No other nation was given the Torah.
The jews were not to impose the Torah on other nations.
There is no record of God Imposing any system of law on other nations.

And now, it seems you were giving your opinion of Romans 1 - 2 that the nations seem to have a conscience and that should be enough to act as a law to them, although it isn't always.

However, In the text, Jesus mentions nothing about the conscience of the nations. The pharisees say nothing about the conscience of the nations. The pharisees refer to the Torah, and Jesus replies specifically referencing the Torah as well.

So It seems as though these pharisees, In context, were asking Jesus about something very specific. Wouldn't you agree?

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, You seem to forget that marriage was given to the entire race by God (Gen.2) and that the whole book of Genesis records events about the origins of all nations and covers more time (likely about 2500 years) than all the rest of the OT (about 1500 years). You also seem to forget or ignore that during all the time of Genesis, Israel had not yet been called out from the nations!

You also seem to ignore that John the Baptizer clearly applied the law of Lev.18 to Herod, a Gentile King, when he told him it was unlawful for him to have his brother's wife!

All this has been mentioned in our previous conversations as well as the fact that Paul was writing to Gentiles in his Roman epistle in ch.7 where he specifically deals with the matter of adultery when a woman marries another man when her husband is still alive!

You claim that God never imposed any system of law on other nations! What about the dietary instructions they were given in Genesis? What about the mandate for capital punishment of murderers in Gen.9? What about God's reproof of adultery in Gen.20? (Just a few examples of many!)

Gary are you really willing to obey whatever God's word tells you? Or are you only willing to obey if God will agree with you? The Lord Jesus sets forth a key principle for understanding His teachings in John 7:17. One who is willing to do God's will shall know of the doctrine. But the corollary is also true, The Lord will not teach anything to anyone who is not willing. See Mark 11:28-33

You are again claiming that the Pharisees were dealing with something very specific. WE have already dealt with that and proven that such was NOT the case! They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause?" That is a very broad subject!!! Divorce for any cause!

gary allnot said...

Well Bruce,
I haven't actually forgotten any of those things.
I've only included the facts that we both have agreed on so far.
Few as they may be.
I did not include all of the other claims you have made.
These claims may be true, but are not the questions that are being asked at this time. And so far, evidence has not been provided to support those claims.

So If we can just stick to the questions at hand, we will be able to work through the evidence for each, and then move on to address the rest of these claims in turn.

The subject that the pharisees were asking Jesus about may seem broad, but I thought that you agreed on December 12th that they were speaking to Jesus about a specific law to their context.

Did you not agree to that on December 12th?

Bruce Woodford said...

No I didn't Gary! Read it again. The question they asked was about divorce for every cause! When they did not liker Jesus' response, they countered with Moses' command of Deut 24 which was a command for a very specific situation, an incestuous marriage entered into ignorantly and only discovered after the fact!

Such marriage are still happening today in cases where brothers and sisters are put into foster care and meet and fall in love not knowing they are actually biological siblings.

Such marriages are commanded by God to be put apart.

gary allnot said...

Lets examine your last statement then.
here is a part of what you just wrote.
"The question they asked was about divorce for every cause"

so, what is your evidence for this claim?

Bruce Woodford said...

Matthew 19:3

gary allnot said...

Are you using the whole verse as your evidence, or just part of it?

Bruce Woodford said...

The whole verse in it's context, Gary.

But I'm not sure what the point of your question is.

But this question clearly sets forth the subject that the Pharisees had on their minds when they came to Jesus.

gary allnot said...

Would you agree that in Matthew 19:3 the Pharisees begin their question with the words, "Is it lawful..."?

Bruce Woodford said...

Certainly! Why do you ask?

gary allnot said...

So then, would you agree that the first thing that they are drawing attention to and asking about is the Law?

Bruce Woodford said...

Certainly they were! But don't make the common mistake of assuming that "the law" is just for Jews!! Remember that John the Baptist told Herod, a Gentile King,"It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife." He directly applied Lev.18 to him!

BTW are you really seeking to find out what I believe on the subject and why, OR are you seeking to find out what you and I agree on? There is a great difference, Gary! You don't seem to agree with me on the above point as it has been brought up numerous times in our conversations but you seem to continually dodge or ignore it. Why?

gary allnot said...

I understand your concerns.
please be assured that I am not trying to agree or disagree with you. I am trying to see if there is evidence for your claims.
If there is good evidence to support your claims, then how could I not agree?

please do not think that I am ignoring or dodging your questions. I am fascinated by it and excited to explore it in its turn.
It is just that I really want to follow through on the first topic and see if there is evidence for it before we get distracted by other topics. If there isn't good evidence for the first question, then we should settle that before we move on.

So, the claim that we are examining now is your statement, "The question they asked was about divorce for every cause"

Now, would you agree that when the Pharisees were asking about "divorce for any cause," they were asking if that was something that was in their law?

Bruce Woodford said...

Actually Gary, I'm not sure whose law they had in mind! Some of them were quite liberal in their allowance of divorce and some were stricter. But when they asked Jesus, "Is it lawful..." they got an answer that was consistent with the law of God for He was and is God.

gary allnot said...

would you agree that they were likely asking about the law that they were most conversant in?

Bruce Woodford said...

That's my problem, Gary, ....I don't know what "law" they were most conversant with! The Torah (Old Testament scriptures) or extra-biblical Jewish traditions?

But I suspect they knew what the scriptures said and weren't at all happy when the Lord Jesus answered them from a perfectly scriptural perspective!

gary allnot said...

So then, would you say that you believe that they were not initially asking about the law given through Moses?

Bruce Woodford said...

They knew very well what the law of Moses said! And they, like many today did not like it at all.

They were trying to see if Jesus would "come on their side" but were sadly disappointed!

gary allnot said...

And what is it exactly that Moses Said?

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, Moses actually had quite a lot to say about divorce!
The 21st chapters of 4 of the books of Moses are most interesting.
He recorded the first divorce in the Bible which was actually commanded by God (Gen.21:9-14) This was a marriage to a woman (Hagar) who was taken to become a surrogate mother because Sarah was barren. (See Gen.16:1-3)

He recorded the terms of divorce for a hard hearted man putting away his wife because she doesn't please him! (EX.21:7-11)

He records that priests were forbidden to marry any divorced woman. (Lev.21:7,14)

In Deut.21:10-14 Moses gave regulations re marrying a woman taken captive and the regulations upon a hard-hearted man who would put such a woman away.

Deut.24:1-4 is God’s divine command given through Moses for divorce in the case of an incestuous marriage discovered after the fact.

Moses didn’t write Malachi, but the prophet Malachi records that the divine permission of divorce for hard-hearted men given in Moses’ day had been removed and now no man was permitted to deal treacherously with his wife. See Mal.2:14-16

Do you see now, why the Pharisees (who were very familiar with the O.T. scriptures) did not like what the law said?

gary allnot said...

Which of these laws of Moses do you think they were talking to Jesus about?

Bruce Woodford said...

With their original question, they were not referencing any of Moses' laws, but hoping for agreement with their own position (that a man could divorce his wife for any or every cause).

But when the Lord Jesus took them to God's original plan ..."they twain shall be one flesh" and then added God's newest revelation..."what God hath joined together let not man put asunder"....they did not like His answer at all!

So seeking to dodge the "narrowness" of Jesus' position, they tried to counter with Moses' command to give a writing of divorcement! They knew and Jesus knew that the only command Moses ever gave to give a writing of divorcement was Deut.24:1-4. But that was not for "every cause" but rather a very limited and unusual cause (an incestuous marriage entered into ignorantly).

So Jesus referred them to Moses PERMISSION (Ex.21 and Deut.21) which allowed men to divorce their wives, but He reminded them that God only allowed such for the hardness of their hearts (and instituted the regulations of such divorces to protect the women who were thus treacherously "dumped"!)

Then, as I mentioned yesterday, Malachi's later revelation cancelled forever Moses' "permission".

Then Jesus went another step further to tell them that if anyone at all put away his wife except for fornication (that is, marital fornication such as was the case in Deut.24 or any other marriage which God judges from the moment it was entered into i.e. a homosexual marriage, an adulterous marriage, or a polygamous marriage) and marries another commits adultery!

You will notice that the Pharisees did not even stick around to argue any further!

The Lord Jesus' pronouncement condemned and shamed them for their horrible abuse of the marriage relationship!

His simple words in Matt.19 need to be heeded more than ever in our own day when marriages are entered into so lightly and exited just as lightly with no heed given to divine revelation about the divine institution of marriage!

gary allnot said...

So then, it is your opinion that these Pharisees were not initially asking about the law of Moses. But Jesus, with his response, brought them back to the books of the Torah the Moses had written?

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, they didn't need to ask what was lawful according to the Torah! They were "the experts" on the Torah!

But they were notorious for setting aside the Word of God in favor of their own traditions. Jesus often reproved them for such.

And their conversation with Jesus in Matthew 19 is just another example of the Lord Jesus bringing Pharisees back to that which they knowingly and willfully rejected.

gary allnot said...

Well now, that seems to be the crux of the problem with your first point. You initially said that Jesus was telling the pharisees that his teaching about divorce was for everybody. But your evidence shows that Jesus redirects them back from generalities about everyone back to their own law given through Moses.

Not reaching out beyond the scope of the law, but bringing Gods people back to the law that they had already been given.

So, based on your evidence, I have to disagree with your first point.

Are you ready to move onto your second point?

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, You have disagreed with my first point right from the start!

Your last comment above is just ridiculous! The Pharisees had started the conversation on the subject of lawfulness of divorce for every cause.

When Jesus clearly demonstrated the unlawfulness of such for anyone, they responded with "evidence" to the contrary but the "evidence" was from the law of Moses which dealt with an entirely different matter (divorce for a vary unique, specific and unusual cause!)

So He was using the law of Moses to counter and refute their abuse of the same law of Moses!

This says absolutely nothing in favour of God having a different standard for marriage for Gentiles, New Covenant believers today or unbelievers today!

If you think Jesus' instructions in Matthew 19 do NOT apply to you or me today... please answer one question for me, Gary...."Where in scripture do you think we should go to find God's mind for the marriages of unbelievers today and where should we go to find His standard for marriages of believers today?

Gary, you can move on a second or third topic anytime you wish. You can disagree with me at any time and you will never be held accountable for such. But you will have to give account to God where ever and when ever you disagree with Him.

gary allnot said...

Thanks for your concern Bruce, but from the evidence we've seen so far I don't think that we could say that disagreeing with you is disagreeing with God.
So far you have a tendency of backing up your claims with even stranger claims, instead of any real evidence.

We will get to all of your questions in turn. And we will look at the evidence for them in their turn as well.

Now, your second reason was that while Paul was addressing divorce in Romans 7:1-3 Paul does not use the words "christian" or "believer". do I have that about right?

Bruce Woodford said...

Hi Gary,
Before we continue, I'd like to see your answer to the question in the previous comment. I would like to see your evidence for this conclusion to which you have come.

I have been willing to answer scores of questions for you, you arbitrarily determine what is evidence and what is not (according to you) but have steadfastly resisted subjecting your own views to the same sort of scrutiny!

Unless this can be a truly reciprocal discussion, I have no interest in continuing on YOUR present terms.

The ball is in your court Gary.

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary see above.

Bruce Woodford said...

No Gary I did not forget to post your comment. You forgot to agree to a genuine reciprocal discussion where each can challenge the other on an equal footing. Unless you do, I am unwilling to continue with your present agenda. As I said above, the ball is in your court.

Bruce Woodford said...

Once again, See above, Gary.

Bruce Woodford said...

Sorry Gary, no more questions of yours posted until you are willing to answer a few of mine. I think I made that clear already.

Bruce Woodford said...

No Gary, I'm not ignoring you, rather you are ignoring and refusing to respond to my request to you. The ball is in your court, not mine.
Bruce

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary, Yes we agreed that you were simply seeking what evidence I had for my views and I agreed to give such.

But then on Jan 27th you claim that you disagreed with my views but gave no reasons why you disagreed.

On Jan 31st you claimed that you were not agreeing or disagreeing!

Then on February 7th you were disagreeing again!

It is when you depart from your own agreement and express disagreement BUT CLAIM THAT YOU CANNOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO PRESENT REASONS FOR YOUR DISAGREEMENT, that I changed my rules as you had changed yours!

I don't mind being disagreed with, but I do mind carrying on a one-sided discussion with another party who refuses to discuss and provide evidences for their own expressed opinions.

I have no responsibility to publish your views on my blog if you are unwilling to defend them! Start your own blog to present your own views and then let me question and challenge you on the same basis as you want to challenge me! You will them understand how lopsided such a "discussion" would be!

If you really want to express disagreement, I do not mind at all as long as you are willing to subject your views to the same sort of scrutiny to which you wish to subject mine.

I have no responsibility to retrieve and store all your comments after YOU have violated the agreement which you made with me. But as soon as you are willing to subject your own views to the same sort of scrutiny as you wish to subject mine, I will be quite happy to post your subsequent comments.

The ball is still in your court, Gary.

Bruce

Bruce Woodford said...

Gary,
This is my final response to you. Unless you are willing to state your reasons for disagreement and be willing to defend such, I have no further interest in this conversation. You can start your own blog if you wish and allow me to question you on the same basis as you wish to question me.

Farewell.

Anonymous said...

Herod was Jewish

Bruce Woodford said...

Are you sure of that Gary? How do you know?

Anonymous said...

Josephus tells us.

-Brad

Bruce Woodford said...

Brad,
Can you quote what Josephus says about Herod and give the reference in his writings?

Thanks.
Bruce

brad said...

Did you find it yet?

Bruce Woodford said...

No Brad, I had asked you! You made the claim, what is your basis? Where did YOU read it in Josephus' writings? Or were you just quoting hearsay?

Anonymous said...

Actually, you made the claim that he was not Jewish without any fact.
I refuted your claim with a fact.
Are you willing to go on record to say that you did not check your facts?

Anonymous said...

Are you telling me that you don't believe that Josephus said this?

Bruce Woodford said...

I am simply asking for verification of your claim.

Bruce Woodford said...

Claims and facts are two different things. Facts can be verified, claims may or may not be verified.

Everything I have read about Herod denies that he was Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Well?

Bruce Woodford said...

You said that Josephus tells us that Herod was Jewish. So just tell us what Josephus said and where he said it.
That's all.

Anonymous said...

And you said that Herod was not Jewish. Tell us how you made that assertion without any fact.

I definitely have quotes from Josephus in both Wars and Antiquities. They are definitely there and anyone can look them up to verify them.
But first, why are you being combative in your assertion that you must be right? is your personality unable to be wrong or receive instruction?

Bruce Woodford said...

If you have quotes from Josephus, simply cite them!

Otherwise what is your point in this discussion on marriage and divorce?

Since you posted your statement that Herod was Jewish you have posted 6 other times with no proof of your statement and you have not contributed at all to the discussion of the subject at hand. Do so or no more of your comments will be posted.

Anonymous said...

The point is that your discussion on divorce and remarriage is predicated in part on your assertion that John attributed jewish laws onto a gentile. An assertion in which you, with no evidence at all, claimed that Herod was a Gentile.

Since this is the very foundation of your argument, and your foundation is built on bad guesswork, the entire argument needs to be torn down and your stance on marriage divorce and remarriage completely rethought vis a vie how it relates to non-believers.

The evidence can be found in;
Wars - book 2, chapter 13: 7
Antiquities - book 20, chapter 8: 7

I expect an apology and your repentance.

Bruce Woodford said...

Sorry Gary, Your Josephus quotes deal with Herod the Great 74 BC to 4 BC. He was not a Jew by birth for his parents were Arabs but converted to Judaism. He was not a Jew by religion for he did not follow Judaism.

But the "Herod" in question in my articles above is Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great!
He was not a Jew at all!

Just check the facts about Herod Antipas in any good encuclopedia.

You expected an apology and repentance from me... since you are wrong... are you willing to give the apology? Are you willing to repent? Are you willing to change your own views and practice regarding divorce and remarriage?

Obedience to God and His Word is the only safe and happy path.

Yours in the service of the very Best of Masters.

Bruce

Anonymous said...

Josephus was a great general, a scholar and a trusted historian. Besides the apostles, he is one of the only jewish historians from the first century. And you are telling me that DESPITE what Josephus PLAINLY says about Heorod, and based on absolutely NO fact at all, you claim that the same Herod is NOT a Jew. Even though Josephus plainly states that he was. That the Jews of his day claimed that he was. And that the Syrians of his day also agreed that he was? You have the audacity to say (again, with absolutely NO evidence) that Herod’s Parents were converts, but that Herod himself was not.
Were you there? Are you a better source than Josephus? Do you know more about first century Hebrew history than a someone who was born into the culture, the history, the time and the place? Tell us how you know so much!

Not only that, but you are also claiming that the son of a Jew is not a Jew. Even though, they traditionally all have been?

And to back up your claims you suggest that I do MY OWN research in a “good encuclopedia”? Something that you have never done or even offered to do. You have never offered a single scrap of evidence to back up any of your claims. And yet you are happy to dismiss actual written historical evidence with the word “sorry”?

I have many times checked many good encyclopedias, and I have not found one that has said that Herod Antipas was NOT a Jew.

THEN you say that I am wrong?

And my name is not Gary. But it seems you only understand what you want to.

Then you finish off your poorly worded, unresearched, unbiblical explanation by suggesting that YOU are being obedient to God and His Word?

If the very Best of Masters is Ignorance, then truly you are in service to him.

Bruce Woodford said...

I have not at all disputed what Josephus says about Herod the Great!
However,the Herod in question, who was reproved by John the Baptizer is NOT Herod the Great but Herod Antipas!

You did not acknowledge that you had the wrong Herod!

You may not have found any encyclopaedias which said that Herod Antipas was NOT a Jew, but have you found any which said that he WAS????

If so, please cite them here.

Otherwise, are you willing to give an apology and repent?

Anonymous said...

I did acknowledge that Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the great.
The onus is on you to prove that he was NOT Jewish (against all evidence).

If you can,I will definitely apologize and repent.
However, since you have not and cannot prove it then you must apologize and repent!

Bruce Woodford said...

In which of your comments did you even mention Herod Antipas???

He is the one I have been dealing with in this discussion, not Herod the Great (his father) who is the one whom Josephus refers to as a Jew.

Herod the Great's father was a convert to Judaism so Herod the Great was not a Jew by birth, nor was he a Jew by religion for he certainly did not practice Judaism! He was simply regarded as a Jew because his father was a Jewish proselyte.

Back to the question....Does Josephus claim that Herod Antipas was a Jew???

And further, you claim that I need to revamp my entire view of divorce and remarriage particularly how it applies to non-believers! I've never said anything in these articles about non-believers! The Lord Jesus said that his instructions applied to "whosoever". Marriage was instituted for the entire race not just for believers. So His word on marriage applies to all whether they are believers or not.

Whether you are a Christian or not makes no difference. John the Baptist applied Biblical teaching on marriage to Herod Antipas who certainly was not a believer but had divorced his wife and married the divorced wife of his brother Philip.

So the Lord's teaching on marriage and divorce and John the Baptizer's teaching applies to anyone at all, including you and me (whether we are Jews, Gentiles, Christians or pagans)!

Bruce Woodford said...

"Anonymous", you have not answered my question above. In which of your comments prior to May 8th did you even mention Herod Antipas???

Bruce Woodford said...

"Anonymous" when folks refuse to answer questions about their posts on my blog, they don't get to make any further posts.

Bruce Woodford said...

"Anonymous", your May 7th post line 9 refers to a comment of mine about Herod the Great, NOT Herod Antipas! You, yourself never acknowledged that Antipas, the one who was reproved by John the Baptizer, was the son of Herod the Great whom your two Josephus references dealt with.

Before you post any more comments, you need to back up and acknowledge the facts. When you do, our discussion can continue. But without acknowledgement of the truth of the facts, it just won't continue.