The King's Gardeners Ministries
Reverend S. L. Gardner
Spokane Valley, Washington US
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Divorce and Covenant 1
First I want to say this without reservation and in bold letters. THE SECULAR COURT DOES NOT DICTATE TO GOD WHAT IS TO BE DETERMINED IN A MARRIAGE. WHAT IS DECREED IN THE SECULAR COURT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AS DETERMINING THE DESTINY OF MARRIAGE. NOWHERE HAS GOD GIVEN THE AUTHORITY OVER MARRIAGE TO THE SECULAR COURT.
Using the court orders issued in a secular court to determine the freedom to remarry is dangerous. Only well educated specially trained biblical Judges can make these kinds of determinations.
It is heresy to take what is done in the secular court and apply it to God and Gods people. We are forbidden to bow our knee to the "king" of this earth in matters that belong to God alone! Let us all be as Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego! Yes we are told to render unto Caesar what is Caesars but NOWHERE has God told us in either the Older Testament or the Newer Testament that the determination over marriage is given over to the court of mankind.
Therefore NO one other than specially biblically trained persons can determine IF a divorce is warranted and pass judgment ON THE GUILTY PARTY. The party of innocence is NOT JUDGED OR CONDEMNED in the purest law. In perverted law yes there is no fault divorce as outlined in Malachi where the practice is decried and only men could even obtain a divorce. That should tip off any student as the Lord always treats men and women as the "adequate and equal counterparts" described in Genesis. (Adequate and equal counterpart is the accurate translation of the word help meet or helper in Gen 2:18)
So to establish covenant divorce we must determine the rules for those who have been thrown on the altar of God according to Malachi. OR those who are covered according to 1 Corinthians 7:14. OR those who were converted to believing in the One True God and His Son Jesus THE Christ at an older age.
First the rules apply to believers and those who come under the "tent" of the believer and are referred to as "foreigners in the land". These can be believers who are of gentile descent or the people who are of the household of a believer. (Reference 1 Cor 7:14 as a NT application.) Remember ALL those who were in the household where the blood was on the doorpost were spared the death of the firstborn. This is also a reference that can be applied to this biblical principal that the believer covers the non blood Jew and the unbelieving person in the household.
Secondly at the point where a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior ALL THINGS have passed away. All sins are forgiven and although some consequences follow through the cross at that point the believer can establish a covenant with God. The two Covenants God is personally involved in are
1. The covenant with Israel that brought us our Messiah and
2. Marriage of the believer. Also at that point 1 Corinthians 7:14 is enacted
as the believer sanctifies the household. Acts 16:31 Amplified Bible 31And they
answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ give yourself up to Him, take yourself
out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will
be saved, and this applies both to you and your household as well.
I will be making references from the Mishna, the Targum, writings of various Rabbinical judges, The English bible and other sources as noted. I will not be making footnotes as they don't always print out well in internet form.
I think the easiest way to determine that covenant can be established when there has been a divorce is taken from the Kethubah instructions. Kethubah was given to the woman as a written document outlining the already understood responsibilities of the husband to her. It also established amount of cash she was given as hers alone at the onset of marriage.
Was it Gods intent to have these rules? NO absolutely not, that is clearly understood as the scripture says these exist because of the hardness and perverseness of the person who ends up being held responsible for the breakup of the family. Does that mean all who seek divorce or marital separation are evil? NO not at all in fact only the party of lesser guilt was able to "sue" for a Get. The determination of parties of greater and lesser guilt carried over to the "show cause" hearing that today is meaningless but wasn't when it was instituted. The party of lesser guilt was the only party who was allowed to come before the court when the "state" of Israel was close to God and the laws were being applied correctly.
KEY - NEVER FORGET NO FAULT DIVORCE IS NOT CONSIDERED A DIVORCE THAT CAUSES GOD TO SEPARATE WHAT HE JOINED. It comes under the category of "let no man separate what God has joined" as is stated in religious ceremony. " Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matthew 19:6 That make things complicated doesn't it!?! Yes things always get complicated when sin is involved. But the premise is clear. God doesn't EVER reward the sinner! Even when sin is forgiven there are consequences in the majority of cases. Not hard to find many examples throughout the bible to substantiate that fact.
SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Torah Law states several kinds of rules for marriage. Unfortunately many of the rules that pertain only to the Levitical priesthood are applied today to the average believing Jew and the gentile rules are even different still. Gentile believers are often referred to as the "foreigner in the land". No wonder people get confused but paying attention to the religious position being addressed is important.
Kethuba is the marriage document and was established to make sure the rights of the woman becoming a wife were insured. It is used to this day to establish the rights of the bride and the monetary compensation given to her by her husband. There were monetary compensations given to her and her family by the bridegroom prior to marriage that were hers and hers alone. What she brought to the marriage was bought from her by the prospective husband for an inflated price and then the items were returned to her as a gift and she kept the money.
Of interest is Kethubah from ancient to modern times, the husbands portion reads in part, "The obligation of this marriage contract Kethubah this dowry, and this additional amount, I accept upon myself and upon my heirs after me. It can be paid from the entire best part of the property and possessions that I own under all the heavens, whether I own this property or already, or will own it in the future. It includes both mortgageable property and non-mortgageable property. All of this shall be mortgaged and bound as security to pay this marriage contract, this dowry, and this additional amount. It can be taken from me, even from the shirt on my back, during my lifetime, and after my lifetime, from this day and forever".
In the Kethubah the husband promises to honor his wife as his own body.
I find it interesting that in society later it was the woman who was expected to bring a "dowry" to the husband when the opposite was the original intent.
The womans portion of the Kethubah was stating that she consented to accept her prospective husbands dowry and that she consented to be married to him. This was necessary because marriage rules state that no woman may be married without her consent. Therefore a "marriage" of someone who was purchased, enslaved or otherwise didn't consent to the marriage willingly was not covenant. See Yevamoth 110a; Binyamin Ze'ev 50; Teshuvoth Tashbatz 3:301, Tzaviath, Daniel 4:14, 4:22, 4:29, 4:32, 5:19, 6:18, 7:19.
It is also recorded that a man cannot divorce his covenant wife without her consent. Cherem Rabbenu Gershom circa 960 - 1028. Hirsch on Exodus 22:16. Teshuboth Rivash 153. This certainly speaks to the issue of no-fault divorce and the believer!
Please note that the Kethubah was not originally included in the laws God gave directly to Moses. See Sefer HaIttur, quoted in Nachalath Shiva 12:18. The Kethuba was a rabinically instituted document created to insure the rights of women including those who have obtained a rabbinical divorce or "Get" as the party of lesser guilt. Kethubah rules clearly state that if a woman is divorced she can collect her Kethubah estate from her ex-husband and was so far reaching she could collect even if her ex-husband sold the property or spent the money that was designated to her. There is NO reward in the rabbinical judgments for parties found guilty. They are condemned and consequences are established. Geonic writings including Otzar HaGeonium 500,p.201; Nakdanim, quoted in Rabbenu Chananel, Otzer HaGeonim 133, p.54. Sanhedrin Shimon ben Shetach, Shabbath 14b Kethuboth 82b Tosefta Kethuboth 12:1, Apocrypha Tobit 7:14 and others.
ONLY a person who was found the party of innocence in a divorce action was granted a Get that would allow remarriage. Targum - Levush 66:6; Nachalath Shiva 12:29 The word inserted in the Kethubah to describe a woman who could covenant as a divorcee was "mathrakhta" an Aramaic word. see Targum
Numbers 30:9-10 Amplified Bible pertaining to believers. 9But the vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, with which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. (Understand that this would be a woman who has been given the Get of an innocent.) The widow or divorced woman could establish a vow as an accepted independent viable person in society. She was not demeaned and was treated as a responsible citizen. Linking the divorced woman with a widow is not coincidental. If this was not a legitimately sanctioned innocent that was divorced she wouldn't be combined with the legitimate widow in the rule. These women have been divorced and have been given the Get of an innocent that would allow them to remarry.
The person asking for a divorce had to prove that they were the offended party. The offenses to enter the court were serious and normally required the death penalty in the times when Israel was closely following the Lord. There was a clause where the offended party could plead for the life of the offender. The court then applied a Get that allowed the offended party to remarry but the party of guilt was given a Get that ordered they would never be allowed to marry again.
The Different Categories of Gets
Suffice to say the Gets came down to us as Order of Protection, Complete Divorce Decree and Decree of legal separation. The last one was a prewritten Get given to women whose husbands were in the military or were seamen and could die and never have their actual body returned. It couldn't be used until a certain amount of time elapsed and would be comparable to our decree of death given after 7 years absence with no evidence of life.
Now here is an example of what God will not tolerate. God does not condemn the divorced woman who was the party of lesser guilt but instead condemns the actions of the person who does the "illegal" divorce. I use the term "illegal" as no fault divorce is not a modern invention it has always been around and God has never approved according to Jesus and the Prophets.
Please remember that we are grafted into Israel through accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord so these verses are relevant. Reference in vs 12 is made to those who bring offering to the Lord of hosts and can be taken as including the leadership of the sanctuary.
Malachi 2:10-12 Amplified Bible pertaining to believers
10Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then do we deal faithlessly and treacherously each against his brother, profaning the covenant of God with our fathers? 11Judah has been faithless and dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah that is, Jewish men has profaned the holy sanctuary of the Lord which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god having divorced his Jewish wife. 12The Lord will cast out of the tents of Jacob to the last man those who do this evil thing, the master and the servant or the pupil alike, even him who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts 13And this you do with double guilt; you cover the altar of the Lord with tears shed by your unoffending wives, divorced by you that you might take heathen wives, and with your own weeping and crying out because the Lord does not regard your offering any more or accept it with favor at your hand. 14Yet you ask, Why does He reject it? Because the Lord was witness to the covenant made at your marriage between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously and to whom you were faithless. Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant made by your marriage vows.
This scripture is so routinely used to condemn a divorced woman but read it carefully. Did no fault divorce exist in law? Yes and this is what God thought about it. Oh God forgive those who use the findings of the perverted religious and the secular court to establish the ungodly dispensation of the covenant of God. And God forgive those who condemn a party who has been unwillingly cast aside in the unholy courts.
Matthew 5:31-33 Amplified Bible brings us another quandary but hold on there is an answer. 31It has also been said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. 32But I tell you, Whoever dismisses and repudiates and divorces his wife, except on the grounds of unfaithfulness sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery.
Matthew 19:8-10 Amplified Bible
8He said to them, Because of the hardness stubbornness and perversity of your hearts Moses permitted you to dismiss and repudiate and divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been so ordained. 9I say to you: whoever dismisses repudiates, divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Matthew 19:9 is not found in all manuscripts and I submit that the following scripture is more accurately portraying the actual law.
Luke 16:18 Whoever divorces dismisses and repudiates his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. Jesus is referring to the pure examination done by the rabbinical court where the individual marriage is concerned. It is obvious that the Lord is speaking of the party that has been found guilty of these sins NOT the person who was victimized by their sin.
Then we have the problem with mistranslations in our Bibles that throw off the entire meanings of the text. Example - Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her writing of divorcement; but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery' and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. KJV
At first glance, this passage seems to say that if a mean-spirited man arbitrarily divorces his wife for no good reason, then she - the victim - is guilty of committing adultery. According to a perusal of Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary proclaims the actual truth taught in the aforementioned scripture.
"Causeth her to commit adultery." The Greek word translated here as "adultery is properly defined by Strong in the following manner;
846 autos (ow-tos); from the particle au [perhaps akin to the base of 109 through the idea of baffling wind] (backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the comparative 1438) of the third person and (with the proper personal pronoun of the other persons;
KJV - her, it (-self), one, the other, (mine) own, said, ([self-], the) same, my-, thyself, [your-] selves, she, that, their (-s), them selves, there in into of on with they these things, this man, those together which. Compare 848.
Accordingly, this passage could just as easily, and should have been translated as, "Causeth himself to commit adultery."
Common sense dictates that this is most certainly a more appropriate translation; anything contrary is a direct and outrageous moral insult to God. Therefore, if a person (male or female; Galatians 3:28) divorces their spouse without cause, then the person who initiated the unjust divorce is guilty of adultery if that person re-marries; Matthew 19:3-9.
Reading on within this same scriptural passage: "and whosoever shall marry
her that is divorced committeth adultery." The Greek word that is translated
here as the phrase "her that is divorced is defined by Strong's Concordance
630 apoluo (ap-ol-oo'-o; from 575 and 3098; to free fully, i.e. literally relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively, depart0, or (figuratively) let die, pardon or specially divorce. KJV - (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away release, set at liberty.
In other words, the Greek word "apoluo" simply means "divorced"; the personal pronoun "her" was arbitrarily and unfairly inserted into this text by the King James translators - a very unfortunate mistake on their part and has caused untold grief and suffering on the part of countless numbers of people down through recent history. I can only assume that their grievous error in this particular matter was caused by their misguided cultural and theological heritage.
Therefore, in conclusion, Matthew 5:32 should properly be translated in the following manner: "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth HIMSELF to commit adultery' and whosoever marry the same HIMSELF that is divorced without cause committeth adultery.
The corrected translation is now consistent with both the thread throughout the biblical text concerning consequences for the guilty and the absolution of the innocent.
I find it amazing that Christians are so willing to revictimize the party of lesser guilt branding them as THE sinner when in the vast majority of cases they have been taken to a secular court without cause. Christians must stop killing their wounded. Each of us must learn at least the most basic rules to see if a person was the innocent victim of divorce and therefore deserves our support in that way. Fortunately we know that no fault divorce is NOT the determining factor in these decisions.
Discovering if the marriage was indeed a covenant or not is another cause for concern that isn't completely covered here and some may find that distressing. However if a person has the stamina and Grace to stand for their marriages then we must consider their plea for support. God sorts out the rest or we are given instructions by people who have taken the time to learn ALL the laws concerning marriage if those can be found.
Without having THE WHOLE COUNSEL of the Word it is better to side with those who say God told them to Stand for their marriages. Mark 4:22 and Luke 12:2 will stand us in good stead here. God will reveal what we are to know - until then we must be careful of judgments.
Rev. Dr. S.L. Gardner
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