I have enjoyed sharing this and I have been, I guess you could say, encouraged by the response so far. Also, some of you who may not agree as of yet probably are going to hold to the view that we are going to be looking at today actually.
Anyway, for those of you who don't know, we are in the midst of a multiple-part study on marriage, divorce and remarriage. It's a very, very important question and a very important issue that we need to have a correct understanding on because there are some very strong scriptures spoken about the question of remarriage.
We need to examine this in light of the Torah, in light of Yahushua's words, in light of the words of the Apostles that He sent and try to see, and we'll definitely conclude, that all the Word of Yahweh speaks basically one message on this question.
There's not a variant at all in Yahweh's ultimate will as we go from Genesis all the way through the entire Scriptures.
Anyway, our topic is: "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage." This is the fifth part of our study on this question and this issue.
There are multiple views on this. Some people believe that there is never to be a divorce under any circumstances and if one partner divorces the other against their will, they are not to remarry until the death of the other partner.
Other views and this is the most popular one today by far that divorce and remarriage are permissible if one partner has committed adultery against the other. That's the one everybody, almost everybody, looks at. That's how it's commonly viewed today.
We're going to address that head on today and maybe move some people out of their comfort zone, but hopefully, that is because I am presenting truth from Yahweh's Word. That's the one we're going to look at today.
Other views are that divorce and remarriage are permissible for any reason. Just go out, get married, and if you don't like 'em, leave 'em. That's basically nothing more than a boyfriend/girlfriend type of relationship where there's no commitment to each other.
Other people say, and this is what the world commonly does forget marriage, just live together, don't even get married (no prenuptials, no lawyers, no alimony, nothing). And then children become born out of those relationships and that is not a very good foundation. There is no commitment involved, and to me, that's not real love.
If you're not committed to each other, then you really don't love each other as a husband and wife should.
Now the foundation we've looked at so far in Genesis, there was no divorce (Mt. 19:8). Yahushua made that statement:
Matthew 19:8 - He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
It never used to be that way. When Yahweh created Adam and Eve, was His desire "Oh, one day they may need to get divorced"? No. He says they're one flesh. And so, there was no divorce.
We looked in the Scriptures and found the major purposes of marriage are: Companionship (Gen. 2:18); Dominion of the earth (Gen. 1:28); and "... to be fruitful and multiply." (Gen. 1:28).
Those are some of the major tenets of the purposes of marriage. We see:
Genesis 1:28 - Then Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Now when we multiply, it doesn't mean we just have a bunch of children and let them just do whatever they want. No, we want to multiply a "seed of Elohim" (Mal. 2:15). That's Yahweh's desire. He says:
Malachi 2:15 - But did He not make [them] one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
"But did He not make them one" speaking of husband and wife. He seeks Elohimly offspring (and the Hebrew has "seed of Elohim").
Yahweh is looking for us to bear children for Him, children of Yahweh. And that is one of the major, major purposes of marriage. In the context of this, He says:
Malachi 2:16 - "For YAHWEH Elohim of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one's garment with violence," Says YAHWEH of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously."
Now how they were dealing treacherously was, they were divorcing their wives and marrying pagan women instead. And they weren't going to get any seed of Elohim doing that, were they? So that was something that Yahweh was holding against the people at that time.
Now Scriptures make a very, very strong statement in Luke chapter 16, verse 18. It says:
Luke 16:18 - "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from [her] husband commits adultery.
And so, imagine if you've divorced and you marry somebody else. You are possibly in danger of being in a marriage that Yahweh doesn't call a marriage Yahweh calls it adultery. That's a pretty serious thing.
And that's why we are looking at this very, very closely because, although I've never been divorced, thankfully, you know, there are a lot of people who are in that situation, have been in that situation, and we need to understand what the Word of Yahweh says about this question.
And so we look in Matthew 19 verse 3. We are going to start here. The view that is quite popular today is that Yahushua was speaking of adultery when He made this exception here. Let's read this.
Matthew 19:3 - The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for [just] any reason?"
Matthew 19:4 - And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made [them] at the beginning `made them male and female,'
Matthew 19:5 - "and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
Matthew 19:6 - "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim has joined together, let not man separate."
Matthew 19:7 - They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?"
(They thought it was a command.)
Matthew 19:8 - He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
Now we looked at this, verse 8, in great detail in previous broadcasts the hardness of hearts, dealing with uncircumcised hearts, unbelieving hearts. And so, He allowed divorce. Actually, that's the same reason why Yahushua would allow divorce. As we examine the Scriptures it is: Divorce between believers and unbelievers is permissible.
Matthew 19:9 - "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
("Sexual immorality" the Greek word there is "porneia.")
This is the big one right here. This is Matthew 19:9, along with another one that people like to quote from and say, "Well, I guess, if she commits adultery on me, I'm free to divorce and remarry."
And so when people look at this verse they don't think of the Greek there, the "porneia," which does mean "sexual immorality" (but also means "spiritual harlotry"). The Hebrew also carries the same duel meanings.
What they put in there is "ADULTERY." So we're going to put that into the text for the sake of today's discussion. We're going to put this word "ADULTERY" into Matthew 19:9 to see if that really fits.
It says: "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for ADULTERY, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
And then we have the companion verse in Matthew 5:32. He says: "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except ADULTERY causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Now with these Scriptures in mind, we're going to examine this and see how well this actually fits.
So we have a scenario here. You have a man and a woman here who are married and both of them are believers. And the man finds another woman that he likes better. So, he wrongly decides that he is going to divorce his existing wife. So she is now out of the picture.
He decides that he is going to marry this other woman instead. This is the scenario. We see he divorced the first wife. Is this a marriage? Now according to Yahushua's words that we had read no, it would not be. He's committing adultery with this woman.
And this woman who is divorced, if she were to remarry, would be committing adultery against her husband. We read that, right? So, obviously, I think we can all agree that this is a situation that Yahushua was trying to have us prevent.
So in this situation we agree. This relationship with the new woman is not really a marriage. The new woman that he got married to... it is not really a marriage. It's just adultery against his first wife. He kicked her out and now he's committing adultery against her.
Now why is it adultery? Well, the reason why it's adultery is because he (this man), in the eyes of Yahweh, he is still married to the first woman, right? That's why it is considered to be adultery. Those two are not really married. What Elohim has put together, man should not separate.
So what he is actually doing is he thinks he's divorcing the woman, but he's not. And he's actually just committing adultery against her, because in Yahweh's eyes, he's still married to the first wife, and this new relationship is not a marriage at all.
So the relationship with this new woman is not a marriage. It's adultery. I hope we can all agree on that.
Now because Yahweh did not honor the divorce, they are considered to be one flesh, just to prevent this woman from being able to remarry, correct? Because He said that when she is separated, she can't get married. That's what Yahushua said. He said whoever marries her commits adultery because they are still married.
Yahushua said, "Whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
Now going back to Yahushua's statement, let's put that word "adultery" into the text to fit the situation here: "Whoever divorces his wife, except for the reason of adultery, and marries another, commits adultery."
Now, if Yahushua's exception here He gave for divorce and remarriage, if the exception He is providing really is adultery, then it seems to me, He's contradicting Himself and He is actually making a convoluted statement, if the exception really is adultery. Now I will give you a reason for that.
He says (Matt. 19:9): "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for ADULTERY, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
Now remember, Yahushua said that she could not marry anyone else because she would be committing adultery, right? Whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. That's what the text says.
So if you're looking at this... if she decides to get married, she's going to commit adultery and this woman that he is married to, he is actually committing adultery against her.
Now why couldn't this woman down here who decides to get remarried... why couldn't she get remarried (because her husband is committing adultery against her)? And if the exception is adultery up here, then why can't this woman down here get remarried?
And so the text doesn't make any sense, because in Yahweh's eyes she's still married to the first man, (right?) while he committed adultery against her by marrying this other wife.
So along comes a man that, you know, she thinks is "sent from heaven." And since her husband committed adultery against her, she feels free to get married, and so she does. But the problem is, Yahushua said, "and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." So that presents a major problem.
I hope we all can see this. I felt the need to bring graphics into this to visualize and explain what I'm trying to share.
But she is going to say, "Well, I'm not married to him anymore because he committed adultery against me," because she sees the exception clause as being adultery. But Yahushua said whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.
All right, so why couldn't she remarry if adultery actually does cancel the marriage? And this is why it simply does not make any sense when you look at it that way.
It causes His statement to be convoluted, and actually what happens today is quite simply a mockery of His statements here in Matthew 19 and Matthew 5 we read.
Again, for clarification, let's look now at Matthew 5:32. If adultery down here is the approved exception, if that is the approved exception, if this woman were to be divorced by her husband, he would be committing adultery, correct? He would be committing adultery. He would be guilty of that.
And since he committed adultery, why can't this woman down here remarry, if adultery is the approved exception? See, the reason is adultery is not necessarily the approved exception. It doesn't make any sense if you make it the exception because if he committed adultery, she would be free to remarry.
But no, Yahushua says if she remarries she commits adultery. And so, adultery can't be the exception He's speaking of. It would not make any sense whatsoever.
And actually what happens in many congregations is just down right moral debauchery because of this understanding.
Their new marriage now, according to Yahushua's words, is adultery. So, if you take it that way and say, "Ok, it is adultery. He says it is adultery"... all right, if it is adultery, then that causes the first man (the first man up here at the top), he can say, "Well, you know, she committed adultery against me."
"She down here, she committed adultery against me, and so, I can get married to this woman right here. And I like her a lot, so I'm just going to marry her since she (the first wife) remarried. She committed adultery against me, so that frees me to get remarried. So I can marry this woman I committed adultery with."
So, since the man is committing adultery and adultery cancels the first marriage, why wouldn't that enable him to continue in that remarriage to the woman he liked better? It's a sneaky little thing, but if you understand the verse this way, it would be justifiable. You can't have it as adultery for the one and not adultery for the other.
Either the marriage is no longer a "one flesh" marriage or it is a "one flesh" marriage. Either Yahweh honors the divorce or He doesn't. So what you have there are two people who justify their marriages and make Yahushua's statements of no affect and each of them live their lives as though nothing even happened.
And, you know, this is exactly what happens. I actually presented this scenario to an elder of a congregation, a fairly well known congregation, and I said, "What about this? Because you have Yahushua contradicting Himself." And he said he had a solution to the problem.
He said that when a man divorced his wife (for the reason we mentioned earlier he divorced his wife and married another), in this new marriage, he did commit adultery the first time, but it wasn't adultery anymore after that (after he committed adultery the first time).
In other words, when a man had relations with another woman, it was adultery the first time. But since that adultery canceled the marriage, it is no longer adultery. Now it's a marriage.
So, he is saying Yahweh honors the divorce he made with his first wife and he could continue having physical relations with this woman he committed adultery with and that wouldn't be adultery anymore. And then his first wife, whom he divorced, could find a new husband because he committed adultery that one time.
And so, in other words, they've completed what is essentially this boyfriend/girlfriend pattern. I mean, it was sent in motion in their teenage years. And now they justify (through one act of adultery), they justify their divorces and remarriages and basically make Yahushua's statements of no effect.
Because if you really think about it... to me, it is a very bizarre interpretation. I mean, it is still adultery no matter how many times you commit the act, right? That's the only way you can get around it. It is only adultery the first time. It is not adultery after that.
But if you have this, basically anyone can divorce and remarry anybody for any reason. And the adultery that they commit with their new wife, or new husband, cancels the previous marriage and adultery is no longer adultery, and divorce and remarriage is always justifiable under any conditions.
How can you say having physical relations with a woman is adultery the first time, but not adultery each time after that? After that it's just a new marriage. It causes Yahushua's statements to just be erased and just dismissed as nothing when His disciples heard it and said, "Man, if that's the case, it's better not to marry."
They didn't understand it the way the elder understood it, obviously. What would prevent people from just swapping wives?
For instance, you have "Sue" and "Sam." They are married. They have three children. And then you have "Jack" and "Jane." They are married. They have three children together. Through a terrible circumstance, Sam and Jane commit adultery against their spouses, a very inappropriate thing.
This is a pretend scenario. I don't know of anytime this has ever happened. Actually, I've heard of it, but don't know personally. But they decide to repent and both Sue (up at the top) and Jack decide they are going to forgive their spouses. They're not going to hold it against them. Sue is faithful and Jack (down here), he's faithful with his wife.
But Jane is unfaithful and Sam is unfaithful and they committed adultery, but they repent and Sue and Jack forgive their spouses. But based on their understanding of Matthew, they are both free to divorce their spouses because adultery would cancel their marriages.
Sue decides she is going to divorce Sam because Sam committed adultery, and adultery, in her mind, cancels the marriage. And then Jack decides to divorce Sue. I'm sorry, Jack divorces Jane and Sue divorces Sam. So now we have both families are in a divorce situation.
But then they feel justified, because adultery took place they can divorce their spouses. But then, you know, brother Jack realizes that, "Hmm.. Sam and Jane, they're free to marry now." And so, Sam and Jane say, "You know what? Adultery cancels our marriages, right? So, even though we committed adultery together, we can get married."
There is nothing they can see in the text that would prevent them from getting married. So they decide to get married. But then, Jack and Sue... Jack says, "I always kind of liked Sister Sue." So she decides to hitch up with Jack and now they're married.
It's all justified based on their understanding of Matthew 5, that adultery cancels the marriages. So what we have with this understanding of adultery is, basically, Yahweh sanctioned wife swapping in the assembly.
And since nobody can find any scripture to condemn them of their new relationships, they decide to declare them Yahweh-sanctioned marriages. In fact, the assembly could hold weddings for each couple and no one could say it's even wrong, based on their understanding that adultery canceled the former marriages.
Now, obviously, this is moral debauchery in the assembly and results in very confused and very hurt children in the assembly. I mean, how could we explain to Jack's children over here, how could we explain to Jack's children that "Sister Sue" is their new mommy over here? That's their new mommy.
And their real mommy, "Sister Jane" over here, their real mom, that's their real mom down here. How are we going to explain to them their real mommy seated two rows behind them in the congregation is married to "Sister Sue's" old husband, Sam?
You know, this kind of wicked, moral standard is a horrible witness to our children, not to mention to the community. But sadly, this is the case in some churches and congregations today.
I've heard recently of a situation in a Yahweh-fearing assembly where this has actually happened and it was all justified. In fact, one of the people that did this is an elder in the assembly. I say, "What an abomination!" And to think in a million years that Yahweh could consider this to be an honorable marriage.
Hebrews 13:4 - Marriage [is] honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers Elohim will judge.
Can Yahweh really honor this kind of situation? Obviously, not! At least, I hope you say, "Obviously, not!"
But if we understood it, if we understood adultery as being the legitimate exception for divorce, then we would have to say, "It's okay to swap wives and only the first time you committed that act with the man or with the woman it was adultery, and after that it's just marriage."
Because with that understanding, you can get divorced and remarried for any reason. And the minute you commit adultery against your spouse by doing the remarriage, it cancels the former marriage and you get married.
You're married to the existing spouse and everything's fine. You think you can live happily ever after and not face any consequences or wrong because of a misunderstanding and misapplication of Yahweh's Word in Matthew 5 and Matthew 19.
Now I hope I'm not hitting you too hard, but this is Scripture. We've got to understand Yahushua's words. He was not making it easier on us. He is taking us back to the way it was in the beginning when there was no divorce.
Now what should be done if there is an adultery in a marriage?
Now we know that Scripture commands the death penalty and for this reason there are some people who have justified divorcing their spouses by saying, "Yea, well, you know, they committed adultery and they say they repented, but I don't really trust them anymore, and so, as far as I'm concerned, they're dead in my eyes."
"They're as good as dead to me. The Bible says that men and women who do that should be put to death and if we lived in Bible times, I could get remarried because the adulterer and adulteress should be put to death." And so they justify remarrying on the basis of the other person being dead in their eyes.
Now if we went by this reasoning though, we could find divorce justifiable the first time we see our spouses sinning because "the wages of sin is death." In fact, Yahweh commands a death penalty for Sabbath breaking. Exodus 31:14 says that the Sabbath breaker who profanes the Sabbath shall be put to death.
And so a man could justify divorce just by watching his wife one time in their relationship, watch her one time break the Sabbath. He could justify divorcing her because she should be dead. So the "should be dead" concept starts to really get preposterous once you begin to apply it across the board. The fact is we all should be dead.
The fact is that through the Messiah Yahushua we who are dead are made alive! We, who ought to be destroyed, are spared and we are saved. So we are called to be longsuffering with one another and not judge one another and say, "You're as good as dead to me." No, they're alive.
If they repent and they turn away from that adultery, they're not dead. They are alive in the Messiah Yahushua. And we should not treat them as dead.
Now if adultery is ever committed by an unbeliever, Paul did say, he said Yahushua never commanded that a believer has to remain married to an unbeliever. Marriages between believers and unbelievers are actually forbidden in the Torah, in the law of Yahweh, and they're not a part of Yahweh's plan from the beginning.
So if an unbelieving spouse chooses to commit adultery, it's not a sin to divorce them. It's not really a sin to divorce them for any reason because they're not believers. Now they have to confess out of their own mouth that they're not believers. Don't just judge a believer to be an unbeliever on your own judgment.
But if we want to be sensitive to Yahweh's leading in our life, we need to be sensitive to the possibility that Yahweh will save that unbelieving spouse, even if they committed adultery. And we may be the agent through whom they get saved.
I've seen very many situations where patient men and women were living with unbelievers and through their witness to their unbelieving spouses, their spouses were saved and they had glorious marriages. So, I agree with Paul on that.
Just because if you were an unbeliever and you're married to an unbeliever (two unbelievers married each other, one became a believer), don't just run down to the divorce court right away. See whether or not it is Yahweh's plan for you to save your spouse. Make sure that if you choose to divorce, it is Yahweh's clear leading in your life.
Now adultery really becomes an issue if adultery is committed by a believer who is married to another believer. Of course, adultery is never supposed to be a problem in marriages between two believers. But if it is a problem, it's not a good sign that that offender is actually a believer to begin with.
But the offender can certainly be a believer who got weak, if the offender actually just fell into temptation and committed adultery. Even King David, a man after Yahweh's own heart, committed the sin of adultery. We have Solomon, his son his weakness was women. Samson, the strongest man in the Bible his weakness was women.
So, if the man after Yahweh's own heart can falter and if the man who is the wisest man in the Bible (except for Yahushua) can falter and if the strongest man can falter, certainly it's possible for a believer to get weak and to fall to temptation especially in today's sexually charged and horribly immoral society that we live in.
The world's collection of pornography is just a few clicks away on the internet this huge collection of... whatever. So there will sometimes be cases where (never justifiable, never), a man or a woman gets caught in the sin of adultery.
I mean, King David's sin began with his eyes. It was through visual pornography that he fell to the temptations and fell into adultery. So in this wicked and adulterous generation, Satan has no shortage of servants to temp men with their eyes. And so while men do sin, it's Satan and those who imitate Satan that try to tempt men to want to do the sin.
And that is why we, as believers, need to be wearing clothing that actually covers modest clothing that draws no attention to the private parts of our body, the parts of our body that are only intended for our spouse to know the shape and form of.
And we certainly don't want to be imitating the adversary, the devil, by being a source of temptation for another person. That's what Satan does. Satan is always trying to tempt people. We don't want to be those who cause others to stumble and cause offense.
And so, Yahushua said in Matthew chapter 13:
Matthew 13:40 - "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
Matthew 13:41 - "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
Those two kinds of people who will be destroyed those who practice lawlessness and those who offend or cause others to fall into temptation and therefore sin against Yahweh.
Now on the internet all of us need to be on guard, and I encourage everyone, please, be accountable to each other in this area. Women who spend a lot of time on the internet are very vulnerable to getting involved in relationships with men other than their husband, especially if they're work-at-home moms on the computers.
There are social networks now, Facebook, where the discovery of old friends and old flings can ultimately lead to adultery. Many marriages have fallen in this very snare. We've got to be careful! We've got to be really on guard, all of us.
I mean, computer screens should be in an active room, not in some private room somewhere. And the screen should be in full view of anyone in the house where anybody can walk up behind you (without even being heard or seen) or be able to look into a window from the outside and be able to see whether or not anything is really going on.
And so we all should be accountable to each other about any time that we spend away from our families.
But getting back to the subject... If a believer commits adultery against their believing spouse, what do we do?
I find it very interesting in this chapter (Matthew 19) that we have been looking at for several weeks where divorce is forbidden between believers.
Yahushua talks about the danger of offending children and the need for us to become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Yahweh and how we ought to be willing, if necessary, to even pluck out our eyes and cut our hand or foot off if those members of our body cause us to sin. Now let's go read about this:
Matthew 18:1 - At that time the disciples came to Yahushua, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Matthew 18:2 - Then Yahushua called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
Matthew 18:3 - and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 - "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:5 - "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:6 - "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 18:7 - "Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Remember what Yahushua said about the wheat and the tares the tares that cause offense. We do not want to cause anyone else offense, do we? We don't want to cause others to stumble.
Matthew 18:8 - "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast [it] from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.
Matthew 18:9 - "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast [it] from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
(Now interestingly... continue to read here):
Matthew 18:10 - "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
And all this is centered around the context of children, so we have to be very, very, very, very, very careful.
The angels of children are always in the presence of Yahweh, and so, Yahushua warns us of the danger of offending these humble little ones that believe in Him. Now children who are born to parents that believe in Yahweh should be humble little ones that believe in Him. We should all be as humble little children, right?
So if a parent who believes in Yahweh chooses to commit adultery or divorce their spouse, it is obviously a major, major stumbling block to the children. Yahushua warned us about causing them to sin and the dangers of being a stumbling block, especially to children.
When King David committed adultery, his children were caused to stumble. His firstborn, Amnon, fell into sin by committing incest with his sister, Tamar. David's third son, Absalom, committed adultery and incest by lying with David's concubines.
And we all know that Solomon had a problem with women that ultimately led to him committing idolatry as well. And so the bad example that David had set in his own household affected everyone, but especially his sons. It is these kinds of dangers that Yahushua is warning us about.
In fact, Yahushua made the same statements about plucking out your eye and cutting off you hand, if necessary, if it causes you to sin when He spoke of adultery in Matthew chapter 5.
Matthew 5:27 - "You have heard that it was said to those of old, `You shall not commit adultery.'
Matthew 5:28 - "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:29 - "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast [it] from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
(Gehenna or hell)
Matthew 5:30 - "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast [it] from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:31 - "Furthermore it has been said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'
Matthew 5:32 - "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Now do we see a connection here? When Yahushua spoke of the dangers of committing adultery in our hearts, He also gave a similar admonition about the cutting off of our hand or eye if it causes us to sin. It is the hand and the eye that are often involved in the act of visual harlotry through things like pornography and lust of women and so on.
So we need to realize how important it is (all of us) to avoid this, especially adultery. He gives us two ways of how adultery was being committed in that generation, even though they thought it wasn't.
And that was (1) Through ignoring the 10th commandment which forbids lusting after your neighbor's wife. Now your neighbor, there might be people who are not yet married that a person is lusting for, but that's not your wife. That's somebody else's wife.
In the eyes of Yahweh, that woman belongs to somebody else, not you. And so, there's no justifying it.
(2) The second way of committing adultery was through divorce and remarriage. Now those are the two topics. Those are the two things that Yahushua was speaking of in context the adultery that was occurring through the eyes and then there was the adultery that was occurring through divorce and remarriage.
Those were the two ways adultery was being committed in that generation, and I dare say, that is the two ways that adultery is most commonly committed in our generation.
So... what should be done? What should be done?
Well, Yahushua said:
Matthew 18:10 - "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
(Let's continue reading this):
Matthew 18:11 - "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
Matthew 18:12 - "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
Matthew 18:13 - "And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that [sheep] than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
Matthew 18:14 - "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
We have to realize the extent of which Yahweh went to save us. In this illustration, Yahushua is demonstrating the great love He has for the "little ones." That's whether children or children at heart.
After all Yahushua went through to save the little ones, it's very grievous for Him to see any of us cause those little ones (children or anyone who "become as little children"), it's very grievous in His eyes for any of us to cause them to stumble.
So we are warned. He says: "Woe to that man by whom the offense comes! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned into the depth of the sea. Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
Brothers and sisters, the reason why Yahweh hates adultery is because of the little ones! That's why He hates divorce. And it was when He saw the results.
He is seeking an Elohim-like offspring, a seed of Elohim, and if we, through any of our adulterous behavior (whether visual or whether physical or whether through a remarriage situation), we cause our little ones to stumble Woe is us! Yahweh help us! Woe is us!
We have a very, very stern warning because He says Yahweh sees their angels continually. And I will confess, I have been a stumbling block to my children. Now, thankfully, I have not committed adultery. But especially when I was younger, in my marriage, lust was a major issue in my life. All of us our susceptible to it.
We have to realize how Yahushua sees this. We have to realize it. And it is very easy to see, you know, what Yahweh is seeing when He looks down from heaven all the adultery that just goes unnoticed, either through remarriage or through the heart.
So we have to be really, really (all of us), have to really be on guard. And so Yahushua calls a child into His midst and He warned us. He says unless you're like this little child you will not enter. And He admonishes us to get rid of the things that cause us to stumble into this kind of sin.
He reminds us what He went though to save all of us. So when we cause others to stumble (either through the way we dress, the way that we act, through inappropriate relationships), Yahweh is very, very grieved.
So it is in this context that Yahushua says this:
Matthew 18:15 - "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
Now what usually happens is the opposite.
Matthew 18:16 - "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that `by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'
Matthew 18:17 - "And if he refuses to hear them, tell [it] to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
(Tell it to the church or the congregation.)
So the whole process here is to identify an unbeliever. The very first part of Yahushua's words alludes to adultery (here in Matthew 18) and the danger of causing offense, and so, it makes sense that Yahushua would next address what should be done if a believer sins against another believer.
Now we know that, sadly, the first steps are especially the ones ignored the most, but they are to guard against slander and to guard against gossip. We are all susceptible to sinning. So if your brother sins against you, you are to "tell him his fault between you and him alone" rather than telling others about it.
And it is only after you have told him and him alone, or her and her alone, and they will not hear you that anyone else should be involved and then only one or two at the most.
And if he won't hear the one or two more, then it should be told if you can't let it go, if you can't forgive and just let it go, which I recommend. Believe me, we all have problems sinning against each other. We're trying to be more like Messiah every day. We've got to be compassionate with each other and we have to forgive each other.
But if there is some kind of sin that you can't let go, then go through the process that Yahushua talks about here, and also keep in mind your own failures and be humble about it.
So, if he won't listen to the whole congregation then, yes, he should be like a heathen to us. And so these are the steps that should be followed if a believer commits adultery against their spouse. Yahushua did not make any exceptions to that. He didn't say, "Well, this sin over here you can ignore."
In fact, no, adultery is actually the context of this. And He goes on in Matthew 19 to discuss the marital relationship as well. So I don't think it is just a coincidence that sin in the assembly is discussed in this context, and isn't context one of the most important factors in understanding the Scriptures? Certainly.
So if a believer commits adultery against their spouse, such an act, of course, is not becoming of a believer, but it needs to be determined whether or not that person has forsaken the faith. That's the purpose of this whole process is to identify whether or not this person committing this sin has actually forsaken the faith and is now an unbeliever.
So, the clear instruction: (1) "Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother."
Don't go around as a talebearer. Don't bear grudges. Don't take vengeance. Vengeance is Yahweh's. He will repay. No, tell him his fault he has done between him and him alone.
(2) "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."
It's only after you have confronted the person "You who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness." Even if he sins against you and you go to him in humility, pride wouldn't be the stumbling block here, at least anything you're provoking.
(3) "If he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
If he won't listen to the brothers, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. It is an unrepentant sinner. Yahushua Himself marks the line of division between a believer and an unbeliever, between those who have repented of their sins and those who have not. That's the difference.
Repentance, in fact, is the very first step an unbeliever needs to make.
Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Yahushua Messiah for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
A believer is going to have a willingness to hear Yahweh's Word and repent for such a heinous act, and not have a hardened heart.
Now if a believer refused to repent for committing adultery against their spouse, then obviously they have left the faith and they're not really a believer any longer. At that point now, you have a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. Do we see the process?
Adultery doesn't automatically switch-a roo change-a-roo cancel a marriage. It's when a believer forsakes the faith and refuses to repent of committing adultery that then, and only then, they are committing spiritual harlotry against Yahweh not just harlotry against you, but harlotry against Yahweh.
And harlotry against Yahweh they are to be treated as a heathen. And when a believer is married to an unbeliever, Yahweh has some choice words for this kind of situation where a believer is married to an unbeliever.
He says in Malachi 2:11 it's "an abomination" which ends up "profaning Yahweh's holy institution which He loves."
In Nehemiah 13:27 it is called a "great evil, transgressing against our Elohim."
In Ezra 9:2 it is called a "trespass" which results in mixing the "holy seed" (of Elohim) with the wicked.
And Ezra 9, verses 10 and 14 "Forsaking the commandments" and "break(ing) Yahweh's commandments." That's what it's called.
In Joshua 23:11-13, it says "Snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes."
Now the one who has actually committed this crime of adultery has committed a serious crime against their spouse and their children, and so to refuse to repent of this deed is a decision to forsake Yahweh and to follow after the idols of this world.
And so to remain in fellowship with a person who claims to be a believer yet refuses to repent of obvious sin like adultery would be a failure on the part of the congregation to put away from yourselves the evil person.
1Corinthians 5:9 - I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
1Corinthians 5:10 - Yet [I] certainly [did] not [mean] with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
1Corinthians 5:11 - But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person.
1Corinthians 5:12 - For what [have] I [to do] with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
1Corinthians 5:13 - But those who are outside Elohim judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."
(Let Yahweh judge them.)
We are not even to eat with such a person, so how would it be okay to remain married to them if they refuse to repent of their adultery?
The Torah principal applied here from Yahweh's Law is to "put away from yourselves the evil person." These are words to describe what ancient Israel was accomplishing when they put a wicked person to death.
Deuteronomy 22:22 - "If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die -- the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.
This is what he is referring to, this kind of thing. We can't stone the wicked in this generation and there are really no laws today that a man is violating in face of any kind of danger whatsoever when a man or a woman commits adultery against their spouse.
There are laws in our books and how we can deal with them while under Roman rule. We regard them as the walking dead in our eyes because they refuse to repent. I'm not talking about just someone who committed adultery and repented.
I'm talking about someone who has repented (we are not supposed to divorce). But ones who refuse to repent, and they've gone to the congregation and they refuse and they are continuing in that circumstance then, yes. This kind of shunning for unrepentant adulterous behavior is a statement to the world: We do no condone such things.
Yet, forgiveness being offered to the one that does repent is a statement to the world: You know what? We're all susceptible to sin, but we turn away from it and we confess it and we forsake it. And there is grace available from our Heavenly Father.
Brothers, this all fits perfectly with all of Scripture. Everything that I'm sharing with you, I don't see how it can't. But today there is too little accountability and these kinds of things happen. And sometimes a person will commit adultery against their spouse and then just go marry the person and say, "Oh, it's okay now."
And then they will get married to somebody. You know, steps need to be taken so that adultery and refusal to repent for that adultery is known everywhere. They can't just run off to some other congregation. The instructions Yahushua gave in dealing with sin between believers can apply in many other areas as well.
For instance, if a husband who professes to be a believer refuses to repent for getting drunk every night and abusing his wife and his children, these steps can certainly be taken if necessary.
However, we need to remember Yahushua's instructions in Matthew 18 that they are not to be used as a tool for a wife to gain authority over her husband or her running off and telling everybody the way she disagrees with her husband's decisions, so using this tool to get people roused up against his authority in the house.
No, that's not what it's supposed to be for. This is dealing with clear-cut, unquestionable sin that any believer will look at it and say, "Yeah, I need to repent of that." And if this person refuses to repent and they know it is wrong and they continue to do it, that's when we can use it.
Don't use Matthew 18 over doctrinal disputes of things. That's not what it's meant to be for. It's for identifying someone who knows it's wrong, but refuses to repent. That's what it boils down to.
What is a wife supposed to do if her husband disobeys the Word?
1Peter 3:1 - Wives, likewise, [be] submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
Without a word. Without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.
1Peter 3:2 - when they observe your chaste conduct [accompanied] by fear.
And so there needs to be a proper balance here of a wife being in submission to her husband, giving him the freedom to lead his family in the ways of Yahweh and also dealing with heinous sin in the congregations, such as refusing to repent for committing adultery.
In many situations a husband will be doing these kinds of things, wouldn't leave his wife anyway, and then his sin would be clearly revealed. But if a wife were to have a husband committing these sins, she may need to meekly, after confronting him, tell another person about it so that it can be dealt with.
Of course, the goal should never be to find ways out of the marriage. The goal should be to do everything necessary to compel that person to repentance. Every situation is different and needs to be handled according to Yahweh's leading, with meekness and with fear.
Galatians 6:1 - Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who [are] spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
If you get a little too judgmental of the other person, before you know it you are falling into the same temptations. We always need to remain humble, don't we? Always, always, always remain humble!
And so, if everything has been done, and everything has been done to try to bring this person to repentance, and all efforts have been made to restore such a one into the fellowship with Yahweh and His people and he still resists, or she still resists, refuses to repent and blasphemes the Way.
And if such a matter is taken carefully, prayfully and every effort to restore him has failed in spite of all attempts to restore him, she does not have to remain in a marriage Yahweh calls a snare and a trap and an abomination.
The purpose and goal of the steps in Matthew 18, actually after you've cast him out, is to allow him a season to reflect on the separation and maybe through the separation he will be brought to repentance.
Before remarrying don't just jump into another marriage. See if maybe the separation and the shunning will produce any good fruit.
And if, by the will of Yahweh, she feels it's time and she sees this man is not repenting then, since the marriage is between a believer and an unbeliever... Paul did say a person is not in bondage in such cases... you don't have to stay around or remain unmarried for the rest of your life.
Now if the spouse committed adultery and repented of their sins, then that is where we need to bring, as difficult as it can be, we need to bring forgiveness. And that is the very next thing Yahushua brings up here in Matthew 18:21.
Matthew 18:21 - Then Peter came to Him and said, "Master, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
Aren't we all guilty of sinning against each other from time to time? We don't want to be. He says, "How many times should I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
Matthew 18:22 - Yahushua said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:23 - "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
Matthew 18:24 - "And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
Matthew 18:25 - "But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
Matthew 18:26 - "The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, `Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'
Matthew 18:27 - "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
Matthew 18:28 - "But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took [him] by the throat, saying, `Pay me what you owe!'
Matthew 18:29 - "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'
Matthew 18:30 - "And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
Matthew 18:31 - "So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
Matthew 18:32 - "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
Matthew 18:33 - `Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?'
Matthew 18:34 - "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
Matthew 18:35 - "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."
We have to keep in mind the abundant mercy that our Heavenly Father has had on all of us for all the wickedness which we have been forgiven for. Notice that the King forgave his servant of a debt of ten thousand talents, but that servant who was forgiven refused to forgive a debt of a man who just owed him a hundred denari.
The point Yahushua was making here is that we should always forgive our brother when he repents. There isn't any sin our brother could commit against us that would exceed our own debt to Yahweh. Yahushua didn't say, "Go ahead and bear that grudge if your brother committed a sin of ____ (fill in the blank)."
In light of the context of Matthew 18, with adultery being alluded to here, the effect on children and things like that, it becomes very evident that adultery is not an exception when it comes to forgiveness, no matter how difficult it might be. And if the spouse does repent, it should be forgiven.
After all, how do you know, you don't even realize, you have little idols in your own heart that are adultery against Yahweh that you don't even realize, yet?
So, in light of these principles, the question of whether adultery is grounds for divorce becomes very clear. If the adultery was committed and the spouse refused to repent even after being confronted by the congregation, yes, it is grounds for potential divorce.
In that case, the person has basically forsook the faith and has chosen to live the unrepentant lifestyle. And he can act righteous all he wants, but that person is in a very, very dangerous situation.
2Peter 2:20 - For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Master and Savior Yahushua Messiah, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
2Peter 2:21 - For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
It would have been better if they never knew. It would have been better if they were an unbeliever who just never knew.
2Peter 2:22 - But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
I want to offer a word of caution about Facebook. Yahushua says, "He who has his hand on the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven." Be careful about what relationships you resurrect.
Revelation 22:15 - But outside [are] dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
So those who make adultery their practice will be outside, not inside.
Ezekiel 18:24 - "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked [man] does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
Mark 9:42 - "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
Serious words, my brothers and sisters. If you are in a marriage that Yahweh calls adultery because you divorced a believing husband or a believing wife, and the believing husband and the believing wife are still believers and you are in a new marriage, you need to divorce.
Now there is a procedure you can follow that will protect the children. I will be getting more into that, but there is a procedure. If you have to live in the same apartment building (one person lives upstairs, another person lives downstairs), you have to be platonic in the relationship, because that is adultery.
May Yahweh keep all of us pure and upright in this wicked and adulterous generation. How many times did even Peter say this is an adulterous generation, even among those who were in Judaism? It was an adulterous generation. And we are in a very wicked and adulterous generation.
And when he called the men to repent and be saved from this wicked and adulterous generation, he was talking to the Jews.
Let's not return to the vomit standard of this world. Let's embrace the standard that's set forth in the Word of Yahweh a holy and righteous standard that requires us to be faithful in our marriages and to be fully accountable and repent if we are not faithful.
We need to get back to the standard that upholds families and strengthens them. The current adultery-being-the-exception clause standard is failing miserably to do that.
We all need to walk in the way of compassion for those who repent because we all have been recipients of compassion from heaven. Forgiving others just as we have been forgiven, but also not sparing judgment and shunning when a person refuses to repent of things like adultery.
Our goal, my brothers and sisters, is that all of us will be more like the Messiah, that all of us will let Messiah Yahushua flow through us both in the way we conduct ourselves and in the compassion that we show others who fail just like we do.
We are all very susceptible to sin. Let's not become prideful and say, "I could never do that." You never know. If we are faced with the same temptations and same challenges as that other person and live the way they lived and grew up the way they grew up, you can't say you would be any better than they were, or any better than they are.
Let's stay humble, yet at the same time, let's address this sin in the congregation. And I appeal to you who are elders. Please, take this message and apply it. If this convicts you, take this message and apply it and share it.
Now next week we will examine some cases where certain forms of porneia, or sexual immorality, or physical porneia are actually legitimate cases for divorce for any reason. There are some forms of porneia that are acceptable grounds for divorce. Adultery is not one of them. That makes it a contradiction.
So we will address that and we will also address the polygamy, or polygyny, issue which seems to be attracting a lot of attention in these days. And we are going to find that Yahushua's words actually do have quite a lot of bearing on the polygamy question. We are going to look deeply into that.
In the meantime, brothers and sisters, let's repent of any and all forms of spiritual harlotry or adultery in the heart or anything. In fact, anything that would cause offense toward our children, let's turn away from those things. It's a very serious matter.
May Yahweh strengthen all of us. May Yahweh convict all of us. And may we truly be an accurate reflection of the pure and holy body of Messiah that we are supposed to be representing.
May Yahweh bless you and may Yahweh have mercy on us all!
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