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Rev. Robert M. Celeste

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 Ponder, ponder, ponder Matthew 5:32 keyword: divorce

For many years now most of us have been preaching and saying that the only grounds for divorce is adultery. It seems that, while God hates divorce, we were wrong, there appears to be more than adultery as grounds for a man divorcing his wife.

Let us look first and foremost at what Jesus said directly on the subject of divorce.

The Pharisees also came unto Jesus, testing Him, and saying unto Him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Jesus answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that God which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

They say unto Him, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?”

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Matthew 19:3-9

Notice in verses nine, The Lord Jesus uses both the words fornication and adultery. He says that the reasons that a man can divorce his wife are for fornications.

Now let’s look at what Jesus had to say on the subject of divorce in the Sermon on the Mount.

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matthew 5:31&31

Let us look at one phrase in the Greek, “shall put away” and three Greek words, the words for divorcement, fornication and adultery.

First let us look at “shall put away” this is the translation of the Greek word apoluo, which is pronounced ap-ol-oo'-o. It means to free fully, i.e. (literally) relieve, release, dismiss, or (figuratively) let die, pardon or (specially) divorce:--(let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty. So, “Whosoever shall put away his wife” can easily and accurately be translated “Whosoever shall divorce his wife”.

Now let’s look at the word translated “divorcement” it is in the Greek, apostasion, pronounced ap-os-tas'-ee-on and it literally means a writing of divorcement.

But now let us look at the word translated as “adultery” in the original Greek, the word “adultery” is moichao, pronounced moy-khah'-o and means to commit adultery. Having sexual relations with one or more of the opposite sex.

But now let us look at the word translated as “fornication” for that is the word the Lord uses when He is giving the only acceptable reason for divorce. Fornication is in the Greek the word porneia, pronounced por-ni'-ah, it is the word in which our word pornography and pornographic are derived from. It means; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry:--fornication. It means all of the things covered in Leviticus 18:5-23 and Leviticus 20:10-21.

It may also mean a wife that withholds sex from her husband as found in 1 Corinthians 7:

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

Defraud one another means holding sex back, it is only permissible for times mutually agreed upon for fasting and prayer. As an example, let us say a child is very sick, or is missing, the parents may agree to fast and pray for the child, during that time, up to and including 40 days, they may abstain from all sexual contact while they fast and pray to the Lord for the child.

So, the legitimate grounds for divorce, in the eyes of the Lord, are the grounds of fornication. Please note, it is not required to divorce, it is allowed. I hope that both clears up some misunderstandings about divorce and answers some questions as well.

Men, I must go a step further and warn you who may be considering divorce after what you just read. This is the Peoples Republic of the United States, in this you must understand this, if you divorce your wife, you will pay and you will be severely restricted in how much you can see your children and how much influence you will exercise over them. And if she moves another man into your house there is nothing you can do about it. So, if I were you I would stay for the children’s sake.

Additional reading: Day forty of forty, The family. And So, why did God kill Onan?

Day 40 of 40 of The family series

Why did God kill Onan?

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