02/18/2012 Sabbath Meeting Transcript

"Divorce & Remarriage - Part 6"

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EliYah's message:

Shabbat shalom to all of you once again. We are about ready to get started on our sixth installment on the topic we've been discussing for quite a while now. And this will be the next to last installment of our study on Marriage, divorce and remarriage. It's quite a detailed and involved subject that covers a lot of different areas.

We are kind of moving away this time from what deems a Biblical mandated or permissible divorce and remarriage. And now we're kind of getting into some other areas. Today we're actually going to discuss the issue of polygamy. Polygamy is kind of a hot topic now a days, isn't it?

So we're going to be talking about that & what does the scriptures actually teach about polygamy? Is polygamy wrong? Is it acceptable? We have some loose ends we need to tie up on the divorce and remarriage question.

First of all we're going to do a quick overview for those of you who might be watching this broadcast on divorce & remarriage for the first time. We discussed a couple of popular views of when remarriage is permitted. Some people believe #1. There is never to be a divorce under any circumstances.

If one partner divorces the other against their will, they are not to remarry until the death of the other partner. And some people believe #2. Divorce and remarriage are permissible if one partner has committed adultery against the other.

Now, what we have examined in the last 5 parts, is that both of these views from the perspective that I can gain from scripture are actually wrong. They both have things about them that are not true and both of them are partly true. But both of them are partly wrong also depending on other circumstances.

Then some people believe, of course, that divorce and remarriage is permissible for any old reason. That basically demotes marriage into nothing more than a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in which there is not really any commitment involved.

And of course the marriage today, well you know, I read today that over half of babies born to mothers who are 30 years of age or younger are born out of wedlock in the U.S. To me that is a tragedy.

Anyway, people believe, forget marriage, just live together without getting married at all! (No pre-numptials, no lawyers, no alimony, etc) NO COMMITMENT, NOT REAL LOVE. Children grow up in a household where there’s not a committed Mother and Father. And they grow up without security and all kinds of problems arise out of that.

Now we start with the foundation on this topic number 1. In Genesis, there was no divorce (Mt.19:9). Yahushua pointed this out. Yahweh never said anything about divorce in the book of Genesis. Did he ever say “Oh yea, if this happens or that happens then you can get divorced?”

No, he just said “man and woman, life forever together, join together as one flesh.” No if, ands, or buts, no exceptions. And that's what he was bringing us back to. And they asked him “why did Moshe permit divorce?”

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.

So he's trying to bring us back to the way things were at the beginning when there was no divorce. Now biblically speaking, looking at various scriptures on the purposes of marriage. #1 Companionship (Gen. 2:18) It's not good for man to be alone.

#2 Dominion of the earth (Gen. 1:28) Yahweh wanted man and his wife to take dominion over the earth and subdue it. #3 to be fruitful and multiply. Now to be fruitful and multiply is a command here.

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."

So be fruitful and multiply. But what do we multiply? Hopefully we are multiplying a seed of Elohim (Mal. 2:15) Not just human bodies and people that are in them. But we are supposed to be, with Yahweh's help, raising up children for Him.

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.

Yahweh wants us to raise up children of Elohim. That's what He's looking for. That's one of the purposes of marriage. However, it's not the only purpose of marriage.

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, this divorce and remarriage question is important, because it says whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.

Luke 16:18 - "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from [her] husband commits adultery.

Those are our savior's words here. And so obviously this is a very very important issue. We could potentially be in a marriage that Yahweh looks at and says “no that's not a marriage - that's adultery.”

And so we spent the last several weeks going over the Scriptures on this so that we can try and discern our Father's will as to what is a biblically acceptable divorce and remarriage, if any. And we do find that there are some cases that are permitted.

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'?

You'll notice that in verse 7 the Pharisees put the word “command” there.

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?"

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.

Yahushua said to them “Moshe , because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” So just because Yahweh permits something, doesn't mean it's what He really wants. We can get that from just this text alone.

You know, it never actually commands anybody anywhere in the text of the Torah to pray. Does that mean we should go a whole life without praying? Of course not. It's Yahweh's will for us to pray.

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."

He gives an exception which we examined quite in depth the last several broadcasts. So we have established, hopefully, if you have watched previous broadcasts #1. Sin needs to be handled in the body of Messiah. Matthew 18 should be followed.

#2. The biblical reasons for divorce and remarriage. And it's all centered around the foundation, which is Genesis. And that's where Yahusha was pointing to.

And one of them that we examined was a believer going out and marrying an unbelieving wife. Yahweh would not join that together. He forbids that. So of course, that would be a permissible reason for someone to divorce and marry a believer. Because that is spiritual harlotry. That is someone committing harlotry against Yahweh.

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."

This word that's translated from the Greek as sexual immorality is ponrneia and that word also means spiritual porneia, which is harlotry against Yahweh. That is playing the harlot and worshiping other gods which Yahweh says many times in the Tanakh (the Old Testament Scriptures.)

But given that this is a marriage he is talking about, there are going to be some examples of physical pornea that would apply. Here's one example of where a woman could divorce his wife:

1Corinthians 5:1 - It is actually reported [that there is] sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles -- that a man has his father's wife!

Obviously that would be a case of incest. If a person was involved in incestuous marriage as this example, then he could divorce her and marry another because the marriage was never honored by Yahweh. They are not involved in a marriage that Yahweh has joined together but are involved in a marriage that Elohim has forbidden.

Just like marriages between believers and unbelievers, Elohim has forbidden that. Those are marriages that are condemned by Yahweh and not accepted. So that would be an example of a divorce that Yahweh would permit. Another example is in Mark 6:17:

Mark 6:17 - For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her.

These are the kinds of marriages that are clearly wrong and forbidden in Torah. Now these marriages are considered to be porneia and divorce would be permitted and may even be demanded in these cases. Now another kind of marriage that is specifically forbidden in the Torah and which Yahweh would permit divorce is:

Leviticus 18:17 - `You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They [are] near of kin to her. It [is] wickedness.

So of course that is a case where that act would be forbidden. I hate to say it but there was actually a situation of a believer in Texas who got married to a woman and then fell in love with the woman's stepdaughter and ran off with her. But he ended up committing suicide.

That's the kind of stuff that you wonder if he claimed to be a believer, then how could he practice such an awful thing? But that's what happened. Of course that would be a situation that would demand a divorce. Hopefully the man would repent.

Now another example is a man marrying a woman and her sister.

Leviticus 18:18 - `Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive.

So if a man married two women and one was a sister of the other, then that would be an example of a forbidden marriage and divorce would be permissible in that instance. Of course what people call "gay marriage" today is not legitimate. So that would be another example of something that is not even marriage.

And neither are these other things really marriage. They're forbidden marriages. An example also would be an adulterous marriage. King David was betrothed (which was considered to be a marriage) to Michal who was King Saul's daughter. In fact, he even paid the bride price for her and he never divorced her.

But Saul defrauded David and gave her to another man.

2Samuel 3:14 - So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, saying, "Give [me] my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines."

2Samuel 3:15 - And Ishbosheth sent and took her from [her] husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish.

So because she was already betrothed to David and David never divorced her, the marriage between Michal and Paltiel was an adulterous marriage. Because David never divorced her, he could take her back and Paltiel could marry another wife.

Now their relationship was one that Yahweh forbade in the Scriptures.

Deuteronomy 22:23 - "If a young woman [who is] a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her,

Deuteronomy 22:24 - "then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.

So Yahweh saw that as being a marriage even though it was a betrothal. Other examples of adulterous marriages would be a brother divorcing his believing wife and marrying another. Yahushua mentions that a number of times.

However, such a divorce would be quite visible in the body of Messiah and hopefully would be handled in a Matthew 18 proceedings as a case of adultery. These are cases where divorce would be permitted and a person is free to marry another person.

They are not bound in such cases because its "porneia" or a kind of "porneia" that Yahweh deems to be “un-biblical marriages.” None of them violate Yahushua's principal which is, “what Elohim has joined together, let man not separate.”

Because none of them are contrary to the context in Matthew 18 and 19, which is a man and a woman coming together in one flesh to be fruitful and multiply a seed of Elohim. Now if a marriage is in violation of the will of Elohim, it's not a marriage that Yahweh would ever join together.

Just as an adulterous marriage is not valid in Yahweh's site, neither is an incestuous marriage valid in Yahweh's site. Neither is a marriage between a believer and a rebel, who refuses Yahweh and hates Yahweh. Elohim wants no part of these marriages. He hates the mixing of righteousness and wickedness.

Only forbidden marriages are actually subject to divorce. To me this makes the most sense. It brings all the scriptures together on this issue and is in line with the foundation in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. I can think of no other viewpoint which will bring all the Scriptures together in this way.

Now we are going to examine the topic of polygamy. A marriage in which a man is married to two or more woman. Polygamy itself, sort of like divorce and remarriage, is permitted. It's not specifically forbidden in the Torah. In fact, Messianic promises are made to a polygamist. King David.

King David was called a man after Yahweh's own heart. And even the house of Israel was built on a polygamous family. Because Jacob was married to Rachel and Leah. In light of this, polygamy needs to be examined. We have to look at it especially in light of Yahushua's statements.

Because if you were to look at what Yahushua said, it would appear that it does have some kind of bearing on polygamy.

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."

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.

Mark 10:11 - So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.

Mark 10:12 - "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

This does have a bearing on polygamy! Because, think about this. A man and woman are married and then the man sees another lady that he likes better. So why doesn't he just marry her if polygamy is okay? No, he ends up divorcing the first woman and he marries the other woman. And what Yahushua just said in Matthew, was that was not a marriage.

In other words, the man and the new woman are not married. They are committing adultery against the woman. So that is nothing more than adultery. Now, Yahushua's statements have a bearing on this. Because, it would seem that Yahushua is actually condemning polygamy outright if you look closely at what he's saying.

Because the reason why divorce and remarriage is considered to be adultery against the first wife is because the fact that Yahweh is still honoring the original marriage. He did not honor that divorce. And so the man and the first woman he was married to are still married in Yahweh's eyes.

Otherwise, this relationship that the man has with this new woman wouldn't even be adultery. But it is adultery. And the reason why it is adultery is because Yahweh did not honor this divorce. So this is adultery, because as far as Yahweh is concerned there is no divorce that even happened. And so the first couple are still married to one another.

Because Yahushua said "whoever divorces wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery." Now, why would it be adultery? Why isn't it just polygamy? If the man is married to the first wife and he marries a second wife, then that's just polygamy. Because he still married to the first one.

Yahweh still sees it as marriage because it's considered to be adultery, right? Otherwise it wouldn't even be adultery. It would just be, he divorced her and that was it. But no, He calls it adultery. Because the first two are still married, and then he took a second wife. Now, why wouldn't that just be polygamy?

That question puzzled me for the longest time - if polygamy was ok. Well, maybe it's not. So in Yahweh's eyes, the man and the first woman are still married, so why is this not polygamy? Why is it called adultery? And that's a very important question that we need to find the answer to. And so, what is the answer?

How can we reconcile this with all the Scriptures on this issue? We can, if we understand some things. First of all, we're going to look at a Scripture here in the Torah that we read earlier, that will help us to shed light on this question.

Now, this particular Scripture is talking about taking two sisters in marriage. This Scripture is not condemning a man for taking two “spiritual” sisters, like “sisters in the faith,” in marriage. Otherwise, David would have been in sin. It's forbidding a man from taking two blood related sisters in marriage.

Now, I need to bring a scriptural principle out of this Scripture that we need to look at, specifically. And it does have an impact on the topic of polygamy. And looking at this particular Scripture in this way, will reconcile everything.

We cannot find a specific Scripture that would address Yahushua's statement – why is that not considered to be just polygamy? Like many things in Yahweh's word, if we're looking at the word of Yahweh as a rigid legal code; sort of like the laws on the books of the United States, then we're going to miss a whole lot of teaching.

What Yahweh often gives are principles. For instance, Yahweh says "if the ox and sheep of your enemy go astray, you shall surely bring them back to him again." Well, what about his goat? Should you bring a goat back? Well of course. If you bring the sheep back, then why wouldn't you bring the goat back?

But if you're looking at the word of Yahweh as a rigid code, then you might get away with it. Well, I'm following Torah! There goes his goat! There goes his other animals! But Yahweh's word was never meant to be read that way.

And Yahushua pointed this out on numerous occasions when dealing with the scribes and Pharisees, who were trying to look at it as some kind of rigid legal code in which you just follow the letter of. We've got to follow the spirit of. That's what we need to do.

For example, Paul was talking about the need for the body of Messiah to take care of their elders:

Titus 5:17 -

Titus 5:18 -

Now, he's taking the principal of not muzzling an ox while treading out the grain, as something that would compel congregations to make sure that the needs of the elders are being met. Now an elder is not an ox. So what is he doing? He's harvesting, right? Spiritually, okay? So, is it wrong for him to partake of the physical food and things? No!

This basic principle in the Torah can be applied in other ways. If it was unfair for an ox to have to work and not be able to eat the grain, then it would certainly be unfair for elders; whom ought to be held in honor as the verse says, to starve while they labor in the word and doctrine.

And so, it's okay to take a Torah-based principal and apply it in other areas that also reveal the word of Yahweh. In light of that, I want to look at Leviticus chapter 18 here:

Leviticus 18:18 - `Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive.

Now, this word translated "rival," is a Hebrew word “tsar” which means narrow; a tight place (usually figuratively, i.e. trouble); also a pebble (transitive) an opponent:--adversary, afflicted, anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, strait, tribulation, trouble.

Whenever you look in the “strongs” and see this “:--” all the words that follow, are the way that this particular word is translated. So, you're not to take a woman as a rival to her sister. The Brown Driver Briggs lexicon also has this same meaning. It's translated enemy 37 times, adversary 26 times, trouble 17 times, distress 5 times.

So it has to do with bringing two together, to create strife. That's basically the principle here. If two blood sisters are married to the same man, they are certainly more apt to have jealousies, strife and competitions between one another.

And it's this precept that helps to prevent the holy institution of marriage from being used as something that creates “tsar” – affliction, dissensions, stress, enemies and adversaries, rather than peace, love and unity. Yahweh wants marriages to be unions of peace, love and unity.

He doesn't want man turning his holy institution of marriage into something that creates enemies; that creates adversarial relationships; that creates trouble. And so basically, the Torah principle here is "to love your neighbor as yourself."

Don't turn Yahweh's holy institution of marriage into something that creates temptations for these other things. That's the basic principle here. Because sowing discord is something that Yahweh clearly hates.

Proverbs 6:16 - These six [things] YAHWEH hates, Yes, seven [are] an abomination to Him:

Proverbs 6:17 - A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,

Proverbs 6:18 - A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,

Strife and discord are the work of the flesh; they are not the fruit of the spirit. And those who sow discord between two believers are practicing something that Yahweh hates. He hates it! Now, I would say he hates it even more, if someone creates discord by getting married to a second wife against the will of the first wife.

Wouldn't you say so? I would. He calls it and abomination! This discord and adversarial relationship is exactly what He's trying to prevent, when He gave the command not to take a wife as a rival to her sister. And we see the result of this action in the case of Jacob, when he married Leah and Rachel.

Now remember, Jacob was defrauded by Laban and therefore may not have even necessarily violated the principle because he did not intend to take Rachel as a rival to her sister, but was instead tricked into it by Rachel's father, Laban.

Probably out of mercy for Leah; a woman he did not want to marry and to avoid strife with Laban, he went along with it. And so, Yahweh knows the potential for rivalry and strife that would occur when a man takes a woman as a rival to her sister. It creates an unhappy home for children. Who wants to live with strife and arguing?

And therefore, would prevent that home from really producing the seed of Elohim that Yahweh wants out of marriage. Now this Hebrew word “rival” is actually used in 1 Samuel, chapter 1 to describe a marriage between two people who are not even blood related. Hannah was married to Elkanah and there was another wife that Elkanah had.

1Samuel 1:4 - And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.

1Samuel 1:5 - But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although YAHWEH had closed her womb.

1Samuel 1:6 - And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because YAHWEH had closed her womb.

Notice in verse 6, rival is the same Hebrew word – “tsarah.”

1Samuel 1:7 - So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of YAHWEH, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.

1Samuel 1:8 - Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? [Am] I not better to you than ten sons?"

But nothing her husband said or did could comfort Hannah from the affliction and the oppression that she felt from her rival. And there's no indication that they were even blood sisters. But the sadness in such a home can be just as great. And when Jacob and his family fled, Laban caught back up with Jacob and he said:

Genesis 31:50 - "If you afflict my daughters, or if you take [other] wives besides my daughters, [although] no man [is] with us -- see, Elohim [is] witness between you and me!"

So even Laban recognized that polygamy can cause problems between two unrelated women. It's an awful thing that he did to his daughters, but he considered that Jacob adding another wife to his family as something that would afflict his daughters.

In fact, there are no examples in Scripture of any righteous man marrying a second wife against the will of his first wife. I think we can begin to see the importance of this, because of the example of Abraham. Here's a man whose name means "father of many.”

Genesis 15:2 - But Abram said, "Master YAHWEH, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house [is] Eliezer of Damascus?"

Genesis 15:3 - Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!"

So Abram is walking around with this name which means "father of many," and he has no children because Sarah is barren. Now, why didn't he just go out and marry a second wife? I mean, he did afterword. He married Keturah and others.

Why didn't he just marry some other woman and he wouldn't have to give his estate to some man that's not even his family? I mean, he's walking around in total shame. Here he is "father of many." How many children do you have Mr. "father of many?" Well, ahhh none. Your wife is barren? Why don't you just marry another wife? What was preventing him?

Now it doesn't say this specifically, but I believe that there were conditions in the marital covenant. And depending on the quality of the wife that you were ready to receive, there were already pre-conditions as to whether someone would marry another wife or not prior to there being a consummation. You can kind of see that with Laban.

He said "now remember, don't take any other women besides my daughters." As though there was already a pre-existing agreement between the two, so that would not happen. And so it wasn't until later that Sarah said "okay, why don't you take my hand maid." It wasn't until this point that Abraham even did anything besides that.

We know that even though Sarah permitted it, that there was strife. Now imagine if he took a second wife against Sarah's will. Don't you think that the rivalry would have been even greater and Abraham would have been afflicting his wife? Of course!

Leviticus 18:18 - `Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive.

Now, the spirit behind what's spoken here is that you should not afflict your wife! Don't afflict her. Don't create strife in the household. Don't sow discord between you and the wife of your youth. Between two people who are supposed to be loving one another as a living example of love to the children in the household.

And so whether a person takes a woman as rival to her blood sister or he takes a woman as a rival who is just going to be a rival anyway. What's the difference? The outcome is the same. A person who does this, is not loving his first wife. He's afflicting her.

He's laying down a stumbling block before her feet that will sow discord between two sisters, who are supposed to be loving one another as sisters in the faith. Sowing discord is something that Yahweh hates. He considers it to be an abomination to him and we are not called to create stumbling blocks for others; we are called to be stepping stones.

It's not commanded that a man take a second wife. It's not like you have to say "oh no, I have to obey Yahweh and take a second wife." No, it's not commanded. It's an option in some cases in Scripture that we see men doing it.

Even Yahushua Messiah, in order not to offend had Peter go and catch some fish and pull the money out of the fish's mouth in order to pay the Temple tax. So that's how careful he was; even in the things he didn't have to do, he went the extra mile. And we're called to live like he did. I hate to say it, but I've seen it happen.

Where men in our faith have taken a second wife against the will of the first, only in it resulting in the first wife hating the second wife. What ultimately ends up happening is divorce. Now, if we are people who are sowing discord and creating affliction in our households, we will be held responsible for doing that.

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,

Matthew 13:42 - "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Notice it says “all things that offend." So if we are creating stumbling blocks, we are creating offense for another person whereas what we are supposed to be doing is helping and building each other up and not tearing each other down. That word in the Scripture is “skandalon” which means to lay a snare or give occasion for someone to fall.

Paul mentions in Romans 14 “if my eating or even my drinking would cause another person to stumble I'm not walking in love.” He says “that if my eating causes another to stumble, I would rather not eat.” And so, we are called to love our wives and not cause them to stumble.

And yet there are men who justify polygamy and say "I don't have to listen to my wife and I can do whatever I want; I'm autonomous and I can go marry a second wife against the will my first wife and create scandal, temptation, strife and discord in my household and that's okay." No, it's not okay.

Whether we are practicing lawlessness or putting temptation in other people's paths, we're still responsible. That's why Yahushua said "he who divorces his wife and marries another causes her to commit adultery." He blamed him. He blamed the husband. He caused her to commit adultery, if she married somebody else.

You have a responsibility in your household to not cause your wife to stumble by laying that stumbling block. The same is true for a wife towards her husband, but we'll get to that next week. Another example is Matthew 16:

Matthew 16:21 - From that time Yahushua began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

Matthew 16:22 - Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Master; this shall not happen to You!"

Matthew 16:23 - But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of Elohim, but the things of men."

Yahushua called Peter Satan! Did he sin? Satan was using Peter to try and cause Yahushua to be tempted to pride. He said, “Oh that wouldn't happen to you. You're too wonderful and great.” So Yahushua called Peter Satan because he yielded to Satan's words by trying to create pride in Yahushua. But Yahushua rebuked the enemy.

Isn't that what the enemy always does? He's always trying to trip us up and cause us offense and to stumble. As men of the household, is that what we're supposed to do? Cause our wives to stumble or to build them up and bless, love and bring peace to our household? Of course, we're supposed to build up and not tear down.

If a husband is supposed to be loving and guiding his wife to righteousness and purifying her by washing her with the word, then marrying a second wife against her will is not loving her, but instead is afflicting her. That's not guiding her to righteousness, but sowing discord.

So with that in mind, it's no surprise when I read what Yahushua said about divorce and remarriage. He did not call this “remarriage” polygamy. What did he call it? He called it adultery! Because it's a sin against the first wife. It's a sin that's tantamount to adultery. It's nothing different than adultery to marry that second wife.

So whether you divorce your first wife and marry a second or whether you add another wife, what's the difference? You're still creating affliction in the household. And so, what is adultery? Adultery is a sin against the first wife. That's what it is. It's a sin. Yahushua is very strong about that.

He blames the husband for causing his wife to commit adultery when she remarries. All throughout Scripture Yahweh hated it when a man who is in authority and power created affliction to those who were at a disadvantage. He hated those men who afflicted the fatherless, widows or the poor. He hated the man who did those things.

Who were at a disadvantage. We see that over and over again. We are called to not create affliction, but to create a building up:

Exodus 22:22 - "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child.

Exodus 22:23 - "If you afflict them in any way, [and] they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry;

Exodus 22:24 - "and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

And so when a disadvantaged person was afflicted, Yahweh hated it.

1Peter 3:7 - Husbands, likewise, dwell with [them] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as [being] heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

And so, he's blaming the husband here for causing the woman to commit adultery. The man is not without fault. Now the woman is at fault too because she is committing the adultery. But he's the one causing her to do it, so he's to blame as well. Over and over again Yahweh talks about the one's who are disadvantaged.

Those who are afflicted while under authority. He hated it when the wives needs were not met by the congregations when their husbands passed away. He was very concerned about them starving. So if he's very concerned about their physical needs, then obviously he's concerned about spiritual needs also. Maybe more so.

If a man was to divorce his believing wife and marry another, Yahweh classifies that affliction to be nothing more than adultery. He did not honor it, so Yahweh has a message to all the women around the world who fear that their husband is going to take a second wife; Yahweh cares about you! Take righteous Job.

He's a man who had a wife and he refused to even consider marrying a second wife to the point that he made a covenant with his eyes; that he would not look upon a virgin. And that's what the Hebrew has there.

Job 31:1 - "I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?

Job 31:2 - For what [is] the allotment of Elohim from above, And the inheritance of the Almighty from on high?

The word for Young woman in verse 1 is “bethula,” which means virgin. Why did he have to keep that covenant with his eyes, couldn't he just marry her? No, he wouldn't even look up upon her.

Job 31:3 - [Is] it not destruction for the wicked, And disaster for the workers of iniquity?

Job 31:4 - Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps?

Yahweh counts our steps. Why would Job have to keep his eyes from looking at virgins if he could take a second wife any old time? He must have had an arranged marriage where it was already agreed upon in the beginning, that she was going to be his one and only. And he knew how serious a matter it was for him to sin against his wife in that way.

Therefore, he made a covenant with his eyes. When we understand it this way, which to me reconciles all Scripture on the matter, it clears up Yahushua's statements in light of the polygamy question. A man can't just divorce his wife and marry somebody else and then say "I'm okay."

But if polygamy were acceptable in all cases, he could just marry a second wife rather than divorcing the first one. He likes somebody else and starts getting the “hots” for another woman, so he just decides to marry her. But it doesn't work that way. He gets tired of the one and wears her out and find somebody else?

That's adultery in Yahweh's eyes. If polygamy were acceptable in all cases, then divorce and remarriage wouldn't be adultery. It would just be polygamy. So polygamy is not acceptable in every situation.

So understanding it this way, prevents the loophole of a man thinking that he can just marry another woman before divorcing his first wife and then divorce her later; thinking he can get away with it. Isn't that how man thinks? When he wants something, he figures a way around the words of Yahweh. He tries to figure some way to justify himself.

It's a tendency that men and women both have. How can I not be guilty of adultery? Well, “I'll just marry the second wife and my first wife will marry again. Then she'll want to divorce me, which will allow me to then have just my second wife.” That's how a man could think.

It isn't going to work because there are biblical principles at work here, that we cannot ignore. And there won't be any lawyer standing there with you on judgment day with his “loophole in the law.” His wheeling and dealing is not going to be able to get you out of biblical principles of love.

Because the purpose of every command in scripture is that we do love. So at issue here, is that you are afflicting the one you're supposed to be loving. You're supposed to be loving this woman as Yahushua loved the assembly. And this is a work in progress right here with me too. Loving the one that I'm married to as Yahushua loves the assembly.

But if a man divorces his wife and she marries another man, he is partly guilty of it. Therefore, we are called to be a people who do not cause others to stumble.

Luke 17:1 - Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe [to him] through whom they do come!

What Elohim has joined together, let not man separate. Now, if a man and his wife together chose to allow a second wife into a marriage, is that acceptable? Well, first of all, if a man and his wife choose to do that, it would prevent him from being what's called an attendant; deacon or overseer in the congregations.

Titus 1:5 - For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you --

Titus 1:6 - if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

Titus 1:7 - For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of Elohim, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

1Timothy 3:2 - A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

1Timothy 3:12 - Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling [their] children and their own houses well.

That's a repeated requirement. Some people have said at least one wife. They try to add "at least one wife" in that passage. But no, it doesn't work that way. Single people can be elders. Other people have said that the word “one”in that passage doesn't mean the number, but instead means the first wife.

It's amazing the little loopholes people try to find. There are other places where it is translated first, but the word does mean one. In Thayer's lexicon it's translated “one” 229 times out 271. And if you look the way it's been translated the other times, even the word “one” would fit. For instance:

Titus 3:10 - Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,

It would be acceptable to translate this “After admonition one and two, reject a divisive man.” There's a Torah principle behind this verse also. Paul's not just pulling this out of thin air.

Deuteronomy 17:17 - "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

Yahweh knew the potential of polygamous marriages creating problems in the households. In the case of Solomon, he disobeyed this commandment with a vengeance. He had over 1000 women as part of his harem. And what happened?

The women turned his heart away from Yahweh and the same can happen to one who is in overseer or a person in authority in the body of Messiah. The women can end up turning his heart away and thereby causing the whole congregation to stumble. Another thing to consider and I don't think too many women would go along with it.

But, if she wanted that. If a wife wanted and agreed to let her husband marry another woman, there is another thing we need to consider in the Scriptures.

1Peter 2:13 - Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Master's sake, whether to the king as supreme,

It is quite illegal in the United States of America to have a polygamous marriage. Now, there are some people practicing it openly and some of those people end up in jail or in trouble. But, it is against the law.

1Peter 2:13 - Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Master's sake, whether to the king as supreme,

1Peter 2:14 - or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and [for the] praise of those who do good.

1Peter 2:15 - For this is the will of Elohim, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men --

1Peter 2:16 - as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of Elohim.

1Peter 2:17 - Honor all [people]. Love the brotherhood. Fear Elohim. Honor the king.

Now if a man went out and married a second wife, would he even be considered legitimate in our society? Would he even be able to “put to silence the ignorance of foolish men?” No! They would look at him and call him a “goon” or a “kook” or someone who is oppressive to woman.

But he says “submit yourselves” or in other words be aware of what kind of testimony you're going to have in the community you're going to be a part of, for the Master's sake. We don't want to cause other people to stumble! And that's the bottom line.

I guarantee you, any man of Yahweh who was to marry a second wife, you would cause other people in the community around you to stumble! You would. Period. Whether right or wrong. You would. In the same way, Yahushua, if he didn't pay the temple tax, even though he was free to not pay it, paid the temple tax lest he caused them to stumble.

And so if you were to marry a second wife, I promise you, that you would cause people to stumble. The greater principle is, that if in your freedom you're causing others to stumble, you're violating the law of not causing others to be offended. To stumble over your behavior.

Yahweh even says, “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Master's sake.” It's better that they would persecute you because you're obeying and fulfilling the commandments of Yahweh. Not because you take a second wife, which is not commanded by Yahweh. And so, the greater principle is that we walk in love.

The same is true if a man has alcohol in his house and someone visits his home that was an alcohoic and would be tempted by the alcohol. You wouldn't break out the wine bottle, and cause this brother to stumble by drinking in his presence. You would not be walking in love by creating this temptation and causing him to stumble.

Well, in the United States today, I guarantee you the same would be true if you would marry a second wife. You would absolutely cause others to stumble and they would totally disregard anything that you had to say about scripture. We don't want that and we don't need that!

Therefore, any commandment of men that does not violate a commandment of Yahweh should be followed for the sake of putting to silence those who would accuse us and attempt to cast us in a bad light. Choosing to have only one wife does not violate a command in the Torah. In fact, it's more in line with what Yahweh's original intent was.

And so, it's going to effect the witness and we should not do that. Most marriages include a covenant that contain words like, “keep thee only unto her for as long as you both shall live.”

If your marriage covenant included those words, you would not be able to marry a second wife and keep your covenant because you have made an agreement with your wife. Part of this covenant was "keep yourself only unto her for as long as you both shall live." So, you are to keep that covenant with your wife and not to defraud her.

Don't let your lusts and covetousness (not being content with such things as you have) cause you to go astray in this matter and find yourself on the receiving end of Yahweh's vengeance.

1Thessalonians 4:3 - For this is the will of Elohim, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

1Thessalonians 4:4 - that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,

1Thessalonians 4:5 - not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know Elohim;

1Thessalonians 4:6 - that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because YAHWEH [is] the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.

1Thessalonians 4:7 - For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

1Thessalonians 4:8 - Therefore he who rejects [this] does not reject man, but Elohim, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

So, I would add that even if your marriage covenant did not include words like "keep thee only unto her,” what was the expectation of your wife when you went into the marriage? What were both of your expectations going into the marriage? Well, it's pretty much the expectation of almost every marriage today.

Yahweh is going to hold us accountable, because we face judgment – again, there's not going to be no lawyer with his loophole in the law going to convince Yahweh that you're really loving your wife if a man takes a second wife and this was never the expectation or desire of the first wife from the very outset.

She wanted a man that would be wholly devoted to her and her only! That's one of the reasons she wanted to get married in most cases. You're still defrauding her. You're defrauding your wife if you decide to do such a thing. So, whether or not actual words are spoken is not the issue. The issue is what did that covenant really consist of?

What was the expectation of both parties going in to it? You know, it's the world that needs 50 pages of legal agreements to address every possible loophole. That's what the world needs, because men are deceptive. We have an Elohim in heaven who knows the hearts and knows there was never an expectation of polygamy in the marriage. No legalese needed.

That was a part of what the covenant consisted of. No way around it. Now, why was polygamy ever allowed? Why would Yahweh even allow such a thing? Now, we need to remember, that when a child is born there is a 50% chance of a child being born a boy or girl. For that reason, there's relatively equal number of men and women in society.

So why would Yahweh allow polygamy? If he wanted man to have more than one wife, why wouldn't he have a whole bunch of women and then occasionally a man would be born? But he put it 50-50. In the United States 49.12% of the population is male and 50.88% is female.

But if we lived in a society where there was significantly more women than men, I could see a legitimacy for a man having more than one wife. Otherwise, there would be huge numbers of women who would be sentenced to a life of celibacy; having never known the joys of marriage or having children. And you know what? That was often the case in ancient times.

Men would die protecting their families. Now, a woman might say that it's not fair that a man can have more than one wife but a woman cannot have more than one husband. But it's also not fair that a man has to go out and die for you, now is it? It isn't fair that the men have to go out and risk their necks for their families.

We each have our roles that we need to fulfill and both of them sometimes have unpleasant tasks involved. Or maybe what would seem unfair; put it that way. Example:

1Samuel 4:10 - So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.

A lot less man after that, wasn't there?

2Chronicles 13:17 - Then Abijah and his people struck them with a great slaughter; so five hundred thousand choice men of Israel fell slain.

That means 500,000 women would have no man to marry if polygamy's was not allowed. Well, polygamy was allowed. I could see where polygamy would be permissible in settings like that. And that wouldn't be oppressive to women. It would be oppressive to women if they could never find anyone to marry. Now that would be oppressive to woman!

At a time when men are going out and risking their lives for their family, it is true that some of them would lose their lives. But today we live in a society where the number of men is pretty much the same as the number of woman. So what's the purpose of polygamy?

In fact, if multitudes of men practice polygamy, there wouldn't be enough women for men to marry. It would create the reverse situation, which is every bit as oppressive. And that's what we see going on in China today. Lots of men and no women.

So in Matthew 19 Yahushua is basically trying to bring us back to our original condition of the way things were back in the beginning. One man and one woman producing together a seed of Elohim. That's evidenced by his statements here in Matthew 19; Matthew 5; Luke 16 and Mark 10.

In these instances it's very evident to me, that unless we understand the biblical principles of love - the biblical principles of the differences between adultery and polygamy - a person can find themselves in what they think is a polygamous marriage, but in the eyes of Yahweh its adultery against the first wife.

And so Yahushua's statements and the examples we see in Scripture, demonstrate the importance of a man to not afflict his first wife by taking on a second wife against the original intent and plan of the marriage. Rather we are called to nourish; to cherish; to not cause an occasion for stumbling and affliction and not to deal with them treacherously.

1Peter 3:7 - Husbands, likewise, dwell with [them] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as [being] heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Where did he get this idea of prayers being hindered? Well, we need to dwell with our wives with understanding, being careful to honor them. Handle them gently as you would any vessel that's fragile or easily damaged. That's what it means by the weaker vessel. It doesn't mean that she's necessarily weaker spiritually.

She's just weaker and more apt to be damaged. More apt to be hurt. And so we handle the vessel as though it says "handle with care – fragile," so that we might build up our homes and strengthen our marriages; rather than weakening them and tearing them apart.

Just because we have authority in the home does not mean that we have the freedom to do whatever we want. Our wives and our children have an Elohim in heaven that is very watchful. Just as we read in first Peter – our prayers could actually be hindered through mis-treatment of our better halves.

In fact, the book of Malachi mentions something along these lines and I think this is where Peter is coming up with this.

Malachi 2:13 - And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of YAHWEH with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive [it] with goodwill from your hands.

Malachi 2:14 - Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because YAHWEH has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.

Prayer being hindered.

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.

Notice it says “godly offspring.” There is the “seed of Elohim” that we looked at earlier. The word “treacherously” here, comes from the Hebrew word meaning to be unfaithful; to betray; or to not honor an agreement – whether by divorce or by defrauding your wife through polygamous marriages.

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."

So brothers and sisters, I believe this understanding does bring all of the Scriptures together on this issue of polygamy. We can't just pull one thing out of context, grab it and run with it. We do need to look at all the Scriptures on this issue.

Now, before we go into our next segment, briefly here I want to address something for those of you who have no husband or no wife. In this study, we have focused on this plan for men and women to be together in which marriage producing a seed of Elohim is the focal point of Yahweh's plan.

However, let's remember Yahushua's words as we read the rest of Matthew 19.

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."

Matthew 19:10 - His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with [his] wife, it is better not to marry."

Because they would see divorce as being so rare.

Matthew 19:11 - But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only [those] to whom it has been given:

What saying? "Better not to marry." He continues:

Matthew 19:12 - "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from [their] mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept [it], let him accept [it]."

Now, if you are single, don't think for a minute that because you aren't married that you are useless. You can still be fruitful for Yahweh's kingdom and you can still produce a seed of Elohim. Even if you're single you can produce a seed of Elohim and I'm not talking about anything ridiculous here.

The apostle Paul was not married and he did a great and awesome work for Yahweh. He converted many who were children of the devil to becoming children of Elohim. So not necessarily everyone is required to marry and have children. But if Yahweh leads you, yes do get married. And endeavor to bear and build children of Elohim.

It's not good for man to be alone. Some people can accept it and some people can't. Some people just have no desire to get married, of which some I have met. So if Yahweh leads you to get married – get married. If Yahweh leads you to not get married – then don't get married.

You don't have to get married. In fact, I think Yahushua was reassuring that marriage is still a part of the Father's will for some people. Because right after he said all this:

Matthew 19:13 - Then little children were brought to Him that He might put [His] hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.

Matthew 19:14 - But Yahushua said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 19:15 - And He laid [His] hands on them and departed from there.

And so, let the little children come to Yahushua. Do not forbid them. Lead them to Yahushua's arms that they might be blessed. A married person can guide their children to do just that and an unmarried person can go and convert many to become as children of Elohim.

Even unmarried women can be a blessing in the body of Messiah – without being a teacher – by seeking out ways to serve the brethren and guide other women to Yahushua. The important thing is that single people avoid becoming self-oriented.

Remember that our role in our life is not to sit around the house and serve ourselves, but to be like the Messiah; going out and finding ways to serve others. If you're just taking up the ground and being unfruitful and unuseful by not bearing any fruit, remember what Yahushua said:

Luke 13:6 - He also spoke this parable: "A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

Luke 13:7 - "Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, `Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'

Now Yahweh is patient, he says:

Luke 13:8 - "But he answered and said to him, `Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize [it].

Luke 13:9 - `And if it bears fruit, [well]. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"

Now part of the blessing of family life is the multiple opportunities to serve others. Whether they be your spouse or your children. But if you're single and you're focused on Yahweh, find your gifts and calling and look around you at the needs and serve. And win souls.

Proverbs 11:30 - The fruit of the righteous [is a] tree of life, And he who wins souls [is] wise.

So getting back to our root verse's here. Back to Genesis. You may not be able to multiply the seed of Elohim by getting married, but there are other ways.

Matthew 10:41 - "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

Therefore, if someone is assisting in ministry to someone who is going out and reaching the lost, they get that person's reward also. Because, they're supporting the one who does. I have more about this if you look on my website, towards the bottom, you'll see “kingdom building.”

Read those studies on kingdom building and hopefully they'll be a blessing to you. Next week we want to talk about "how to Win an unbelieving spouse." And we will wrap up our study on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Until then, my brothers and sisters may Yahweh bless you and may Yahweh truly have mercy on us all.

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