Class Notes: 4/2/2014
Mark 10:2-3; The divorce gimmick; The doctrine of divorce part 2
In our study of Mark we are in Mark 10:2-3; where the Pharisees asked Jesus a trick question about divorce as Jesus was teaching the crowds who came to Him. Their objective was to entrap Jesus and discredit Him in an attempt to divide His followers.
So last time we took up the doctrine of divorce. We left off with a short compatibility checklist for those planning to be married.
We also noted the principle that people are no better in marriage than they are as people. People who fail in single status will fail in marriage. People who succeed in single status will succeed in marriage. This is because virtue is the issue.
Marriage is a challenge because it takes two successful people who make good decisions to make a successful marriage Both must be individually to make good decisions and have the virtue to be responsible before God for their own thoughts, decisions and actions.
A good marriage is not designed to be a source of happiness it is designed to be a source of virtue. Virtue is designed for happiness. Luke 11:28; Virtue is the source of happiness in marriage just as it is the source of happiness in all situations no matter how challenging. Heb 12:2;
We will now look at various cases where a marriage is dissolved. The death of a spouse dissolves a marriage, Rom 7:2-3; a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law (contract) of marriage.
If she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is classified as an adulterous. But if her husband dies, she is released from that contract, and is not an adulterous even though she marries another man." This applies equally to men as well as to women.
Personal love outside of the integrity envelope is the most dangerous situation. The most dangerous people in the world are people who "fall in love" outside of the integrity envelope. Nothing is more dangerous than a "lover" who has no virtue from function inside the integrity envelope.
Remember the integrity envelope is formed from the synergy developed from problem solving device number seven (Personal Love for God) and eight (Integrity love for all mankind).
If a woman is not willing to submit to the authority of a man during courtship, then she should never marry him. The woman has greater influence when she submits to the authority of her husband than when she tries to usurp the authority of her husband.
No woman's beauty is complete until she has accepted the authority of her husband. To accept the authority of her husband the woman must possess impersonal love from integrity envelope as the basis for her personal love.
1 Cor 7:39; "A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If, however, the husband dies, she is free to be married to whomever she wills, but only in the Lord."
If a husband or wife dies, the surviving spouse is free to remarry. Age is not an issue.
The surviving spouse is free to remarry, but only under the leading of the Lord. Remarriage does not necessarily bring all the happiness you envision. You must make sure you have completed recovered from the loss of your previous spouse before you remarry. The rules for divorce in the Old Testament were defined in Deut 24:1-4.
"When a man takes a wife and he marries her, and it comes to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found in her a matter of shame (dishonor, indecency) in her, then he writes her a certificate of divorce and he places it in her hands, and he sends her out of the house."
Generally, "a matter of nakedness" would refer to adultery. But under the Mosaic Law adultery was a criminal offense punishable by death, Deut 22:22; so this phrase does not refer to adultery.
The Rabbinical school of Hillel interpreted this as meaning divorce for any reason, anything that displeases a husband such as:
(a) By causing her husband to eat food that had not been first tithed.
(b) By not keeping a Temple vow.
(c) By walking in public with her hair loose (down).
(d) By flirting with a man.
(e) By being noisy, so that neighbors can hear her arguing.
(f) If the man found a woman who was more beautiful.
This phrase is also found in Deut 23:14, ".... therefore He (the Lord) must not see a matter of nakedness (anything indecent) among you and turn away from you." This does not refer to adultery either.
The best translation for this phrase should be "a matter of shame, a matter of dishonor, or a matter of nakedness." Scripture does not define this "matter of shame" but apparently there were cultural norms and standards that defined it at that time.
Deut 23:15-16; defines a matter of dishonor or shame as simply returning an escaped slave. It was dishonorable to return an escaped slave to his former owner.
Becoming a cult prostitute was considered a matter of shame, Deut 23:17. Deut 23:18;Net note 30 defines a matter of dishonor as tithing the wages of a homosexual prostitute
Deut 24;1; is the first reference to divorce in the Word of God. It established a legal, civil procedure for divorce. A Levite tried the civil case. Divorce was a civil matter; adultery was a criminal matter.
We see from this verse that divorce was legal under certain circumstances called "a matter of shame." The explanation of this is not recorded in Scripture but it doesn't matter because our Lord rescinded the Mosaic Law during the dispensation of the hypostatic union and He restated it's meaning.
Whatever "the matter of shame" was, it became the basis for the divorce gimmick. The woman was not the guilty party, but the victim of a gimmick used by the husband to get rid of his wife. She therefore, had the right of remarriage.
The Divorce Gimmick: "Gimmick" is a slang word for an ingenious devise or a scheme of deception. A gimmick is tricky and deceptive. The divorce gimmick can also be called the Herod syndrome, because Herod the Great had nine or ten wives, that he divorced to get the next wife. The same thing occurred with his son Herod Antipas.
The divorce gimmick is based on sly self- justification to get rid of an unwanted spouse on some pretext because he has someone else in mind for remarriage.
The innocent victim has the right of remarriage, but only after an elapse of time to recover from the shock. The guilty party does not have the right of remarriage.
The divorce gimmick is simply a flimsy excuse to divorce for the purpose of marrying someone else.
The divorce gimmick seeks to maintain a superficial righteousness, and even self-justification but it is simply a combination of hypocrisy, deceit and sin.
Deut 24:2; "And when she leaves his house, and goes her way and becomes the wife of another man."
Because she is the innocent victim of a divorce gimmick, she has the right of remarriage. God the Holy Spirit led Moses to anticipate what would happen next.
Deut 24:3; "then if her second husband hates her (the divorce gimmick) and writes her a certificate of divorce and places it in her hand and sends her out of the house, or if her second husband dies who took her to be his wife,"
NASV note 1 Hatred is not a legal basis for divorce. Just because a spouse hates their partner, that is no basis for divorce. The use of the word " hatred" indicates that "the matter of shame" was being distorted by the emotion of the husband.
God the Holy Spirit uses this example to show the thinking of someone who uses the divorce gimmick for self-justification so Hatred was the motivation for the divorce gimmick.
In Mark 10:5; our Lord explains Deut 24:1 in terms of scar tissue of the soul when He tells the Pharisees, "Because of your hardness of heart (scar tissue of the soul) Moses permitted you to divorce your wife"
Deut 24:3; gives two reasons for dissolving a marriage under the Mosaic Law. An illegal reason - her husband hates her; a legal reason - her husband dies.
v4, "then her first husband, who previously divorced her is forbidden to marry her again, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, therefore you will not bring sin into the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance."
She is not defiled in the sense that she has done something wrong. It means that she has had sex with her second husband, and that has permanently destroyed the authority of her first husband.
Because of this the Bible says the former wife should never go back to her first husband if she divorces his second husband. His authority has been destroyed so he is vulnerable to the sins of hatred, revenge, jealousy, bitterness, and vindictiveness because of the second husband.
He will also be hypersensitive regarding his sexual ability in comparison with the second husband. The phrase "you will not bring sin into the land" includes two concepts: adultery which is criminality because it is a violation of civil law and the divorce gimmick.
The divorce gimmick destroyed the stability of the nation under the laws of divine establishment. The stability of the nation depends on the existence of a pivot of mature believers who function in the stability of marriage and integrity of family life.
Our Lord not only rescinded the Mosaic Law during the dispensation of the hypostatic union, but actually limited legitimate divorce to cases of adultery. As the apostle to the Church, Paul was given the opportunity to add desertion as a legitimate reason for divorce.
Scripture therefore gives three reasons for divorce and the right of remarriage: the divorce gimmick, adultery, and desertion.
But our Lord limited divorce to adultery, and permitted Paul to add desertion. Jesus explained that Moses had been liberal in granting divorces because of their scar tissue of the soul.
In Israel there was a formal process for documenting a divorce. The divorce was certified by a legal written document. The divorce decree was delivered to the woman with the husband's signature stamped or sealed in the presence of at least two witnesses. The husband had to take the responsibility for the decision made, since his signature was on the decree.
Divorce in Israel was always a civil procedure. The judge was a Levite priest. He was responsible to counsel the couple, admonish them, and render a decision. If he granted the divorce, the Levite wrote the decree. The decree was then signed by the husband and delivered to the wife in the presence of at least two witnesses.
There are five things that dissolve a marriage and give the right of remarriage.
a. Any thing by way of divorce and remarriage before salvation. All pre-salvation sins are blotted out as of faith in Christ, Isa 43:25, 44:22; Psa 103:12; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14.
b. Adultery, Matt 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11-12. But adultery does not mean that the marriage must breakup under the principle of "forgive as Christ has forgiven." Eph 4:32;
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