WHAT IS MARRIAGE?
God has a purpose and a plan for everything He created. Even the elements obey His commands. With mathematical precision the massive heavenly bodies move and fulfill their purposes. You and I live and move and have our being in HIM.
In the Pacific Ocean off the Fiji Islands, on the coral rock six feet under the surface of the water, lives an annelid worm called the Palolo. He lives to the gracious old age of one year. Exactly on the stroke of midnight, the last quarter of the moon in October, every year, this little created thing detaches itself and rises to the surface for the sole purpose of reproducing a new palolo. This birth- cycle lasts from that bewitching hour of midnight until eight o'clock in the morning, when the new creature sinks back, attaches himself to the same rock, and lives his allotted time. His timing device is astronomical. Surgical operation could not detect his time alarm. Brain inspection would never reveal this intelligence. Then, Who taught him to know when midnight strikes?
That God, our Creator, should have provided so minutely for every object of His creation and left the life pattern for Man to chance, is unthinkable. Man, His masterpiece! Man, only, created in His own image! Man, only, endowed with a will, or the privilege of choice! Only of man is it said, "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Man became a living soul." Gen. 2: 7.
With the completeness of creation, God looked upon it all and said, "It is good." But man looked about and found no one for himself. Then God per- formed His first operation. Causing a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, this Master Anesthetist took from his side a rib and made Woman. When God brought her unto the man, Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."
"THEREFORE shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, THE MAN AND HIS WIFE, and were not ashamed." Gen. 2: 24,25.
"And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and sai4, FOR THIS CAUSE shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh." Mat. 194-6.
"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. FOR THIS CA USE shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one flesh; WHAT, THEREFORE, GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, let not man put asunder." Mat. 10: 6-9.
"For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. FOR THIS CA USE shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Eph. 5:30, 31.
MARRIAGE, God's first institution, was inaugurated. WHY? Because the Lard God said, "It
is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." And on this premise,
God spoken, the Therefore, and For this cause, is built the platform, the propositions, the
requirements for Marriage.
How simply God states His pattern. Not dictatorially, as an ultimatum, but with the reasonings why, as a wise and loving Father, He explains the rules, taking care to be understood. Because He knew the elements, the mixture in the formula of His Man whom He created, how clearly did He instruct:
1. Leave father and mother
This is God's pattern for marriage.
If Man should obey, like all other creation, only lasting happiness would result. In this pattern there is neither allusion to nor provision for divorce.
God did not make a divorce plan; He made a marriage plan. His institution was perfect.
It is not good that man should live alone. So man marries. Either he follows God's plan or he alters it. If he follows the plan and God joins them together, they have no more than qualified for the marital living. All the problems and adjustments of the oneness of this union are next in line. The whole complicated business of living together comes afterward.
Leaving father and mother is a two-sided command. The man or woman must Leave; the father or mother must give up. How many marriages do you know where not even this very first requirement has been met? If either partner does not willingly leave and either parent does not willingly give up, trouble inevitably follows. Oil has leaked out of the marriage-case; divorce wheels have begun to grind. This union has begun out of accord with God's plan. If there is an unwillingness, through ignorance or otherwise, to leave, it will be impossible to cleave. Leave and cleave are the subject and predicate, as it were. Should the first two conditions not be met, the next, that of becoming one, cannot follow. Consequently there can never be the unashamed fusion resulting in that prized unity or oneness.
Leave, as in Genesis, comes from a Hebrew word, awzab, from a primitive root meaning to loosen, i.e. to relinquish, permit, commit self. In the three New Testament references this word comes from a Greek word, kataloipo, meaning to leave down or behind; to abandon; have remaining; forsake; reserve.
Cleave, or joined together are from the Hebrew word, dabak, meaning to impinge; cling; adhere. Figuratively, to catch by pursuit; abide fast; follow close (hard after); be joined together; keep fast; stick. The Greek word, proskallao, used in the New Testament references means to glue, literally or figuratively; adhere; join self; accession of or nearness to; stick; keep company. When two people are really in love, these words fully describe their relationship. God tells His bride, The Church, to return to her first love. Lovers cling to each other; stick to each other as if they were glued together. This is the exact picture in- tended for the marriage partners. The basic essential of every building is the foundation. So also is the building of a marriage: other foundation can no man lay than this which is laid by our Lord.
If, however, this foundation has not been laid, if these conditions have not been complied with, the logical conclusion of necessity would be that God hath not joined together.
That many, many marriages in the world have lasted until the death of both in no way alters this truth. The natural mind is NOT subject to the laws of God, neither can be. Few marriages of the thousands daily, ever consider these laws of God or are aware of them in their decisions. Then we are faced with a question: What is marriage?
Webster tells us that marriage is the act of legally uniting a man and woman in wedlock; the relation existing between husband and wife.
In our beloved United States of America we are reported to have the highest divorce rate in the world. Much is written and discussed about this fact. But do you ever hear marriage discussed? Marriage must precede divorce. Let us examine some of them:
Two young people, partying, Fall in love, slip off, lie about their ages, pull strings to secure a license, go to a Justice of Peace, pay the fee and are "Married." They move in with Mother and Daddy; Light dawns and defects appear; sides line against sides and next year they are "divorced". Were they really married?
WHAT IS MARRIAGE?
A truly born again Christian falls in love with an unbeliever, or one who has not accepted Christ Jesus as his personal Savior. So overwhelming is this love that no thought is given to a spiritual element or involvement . Matters dictate a hasty ceremony, but everything is so overshadowed by this love, what could be wrong? Later evidence reflects no common ground for expression of unity spiritually. Well, one can stay home while the other goes to Church. But then children bring complications; spiritual truths instilled in the one become vital; to the other non-essential. The mental communion has lessened because from the heart come thoughts and these hearts dwell in different realms. The physical relationship bears the strain for a while, then all congested factors take a toll even in that area -- their one remaining contact with unity. Years might drag by and one or two lives be victims of this "dying;" or that other alternative, "divorce" presents its claim.
Compile your own list of histories and the end result will cause you to repeat the same question. What is marriage?
The little old couple in applying for social welfare assistance was told to come together and bring their marriage certificate. Having nine children and being poor and hard working, surely left no time to delve into theoretical ramifications. They kept their early appointment and when called, presented their legal paper. The Clerk used little tact in notifying them that the proof of their marriage was no more than the license, which they accepted with payment as their certificate. All those years they had proudly kept this symbol of wedlock in the old trunk.
Were they married?
This is from our personal files of Missionary experiences in Mexico. One of our most prominent and faithful families was the happy couple of seven children. They were devout in attendance and study and prayer. After about a month of serious Bible teaching, this Brother reported to his Foreman in the Factory where he worked one morning and asked for half a day off. Business was slack and the permit was granted without much concern, but by way of routine questioning, this man dropped his eyes in slight embarrassment and said he wanted to go get married. Next day, four other members of our Church, all true believers in Christ Jesus, asked for the same permission for the same reason.
In Mexico, among the poor, this is an accepted custom. Marriage licenses are costly and often these young men cannot afford even that luxury. There is an unwritten law, then, governing this arrangement. Would you say these honest and happy people were living out of wedlock?
Another story is told, reportedly true, of an old Shepherd in a remote hill village in Mexico. Both he and his faithful old wife were in their late seventies. Word was sent out that on a certain day one of the Priests would be in their nearest village and as a favor from The Church, would marry all, for free. They talked it over, and on a whim basis decided to go and receive this free sanction of their Church. Many were the couples who took advantage of this exceptional offer, and by the time their turn came, wear and tear on the disposition of him officiating was prominent. Verbosely he reminded the husband that from this hour he was head of the house and the duty of the wife was to obey him with respect. When this concept had been clearly defined and they were dismissed, the two aged ones trudged home, weary and a bit bewildered. While she patted out the tortillas as was the custom, he sat meditating upon that ceremony. Then it got through to him. "Woman," he shouted. "Come here." So unexpected and abrupt was this breach in custom that she ran to see what might be the matter.
"You heard what Father said. Take my boots off!" She gasped. "Take them off, and don't forget who is boss in this house." Confusion accelerated into open warfare and not only dishes but furniture came apart in the wake. Days in passing could not alter this dilemma. Finally, they were advised to go back to the village, go through the process for divorce, which was signing a paper with their thumb prints, and their marriage, holy bond, would be legitimately severed. This poor unhappy old pair walked another day back to undo their misery. When they were assured that they now were free, the bonds of marriage having no longer any hold over them, he said, "Come on, Woman, let's go home." And they resumed their happy state of living out of wedlock. So, what is marriage?
Surely the customs of marriage are as varied as the peoples upon the earth. Another curious one in a certain Indian tribe in southern Mexico is this: After the young man and young woman have looked at each other and the time is ripe, he, in the dark of night, takes his bull and ties it to her front porch -- hut. She, if willing to accept this engagement, the next night takes her cow and ties it to his porch. The entire village, recognizing the owners of these two animals are made aware of this event and the ceremony of feasting follows. This is marriage.
HEART MARRIAGE -- LEGAL MARRIAGE
Hearts welded together in love is the requisite, then, for "heart marriage." Whatever the legal custom is, then, is the requirement for "legal marriages." You cannot call the union of every Mr. and Mrs. a marriage. Many are merely legal permits to live together, respectably, or respectively.
The well known story in Gen. 29:16-28 of the problems Jacob had in his wooing of Rachel is a classic illustration of these two types of marriage.
"And Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed, but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.
And Jacob loved Rachel and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel, thy younger daughter. And Laban said, "It is better that I give her to thee than that I should give her to another man; abide with me." And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast.
And it came to pass in the evening that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him, and he went in unto her. And it came to pass in the morning, behold it was Leah. (Now just imagine that!) And he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? Did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And he went in unto Rachel and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years."
Society governs legality, but the principles of true matrimony were established by God. According to their customs, or laws, he was legally married to Leah, but did not get the "pink slip" on Rachel for seven years later. This one he loved, but had a legal permit to live with the other. To which of these, then, was he really married? With which did he have unity, physically, mentally, and spiritually? Was it with the one with whom he lived seven years before they were "married"?
Could you say that God had joined Jacob and his first wife together?
Quickly sonic of you already may have jumped to a conclusion: This Writer has become an advocate of free love. Verily no! For this same Book which gave us these principles of marriage, gave us also the commandment to abide by the laws of our country, being subject to authority over us. In our country a license and a marriage ceremony are both required. The sin of omission is equal to that of commission. One purpose of this Study is to challenge you to know and understand that our tremendous problem of divorce is marriage.
In presenting this series on Marriage recently, to a group of Missionaries dedicated to teaching Truth to the heathen, one precious child of God whom I love dearly and appreciate the effective work she and her husband are doing, became exasperated, with unconcealed warmth. Into the air were flung expressions as: ... "No right to meddle into our private lives. I don't have to obey him ... I know best ... How do you know whether God joined us together or not? According to this then I am not even married ... What do you want us to do, get a divorce? ..."
Another wise son of God simply said, "Get married!"
This is my answer.
Throughout the scriptures, God uses the parallel of Love and marriage between a husband and wife to express or describe the spiritual union or relationship with Christ and His Bride, the Church. With Him the principle is synonymous. The physical or natural helps us to understand the spiritual; the spiritual helps us understand the physical.
In Ephesians 5: 22-23 wives and husbands are given certain commandments: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands, in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."First let us deal with the duties of a wife. One, amplified, commandment is given the wife: submit.
As used in this passage submit comes from a Greek word, hupotasso, which means to subordinate; to obey; be under obedience; put under; subdue unto; subject to. Generally, it means beneath; below, inferior position; determine. Specifically, in this exact usage, it means covertly, or modestly.
These last two words clarify the relationship the Holy Spirit intended the true wife toward her husband. Webster defines covertly as secretly; in private; sheltered; not open or exposed. Moderately means not going to extremes; keeping within the bounds; not excessive; not violent or rigorous.
Thinking of the wife's submission to her husband under these impulses makes the teaching compatible with all Christ's teachings. She is not to wear a sign that she is holding an inferior position in the household and being dominated by her husband. Indeed, if the husband is fulfilling his part, she can not be. The love agreement between them, God inspired, demands privacy in this realm. It is between the two of them that this relationship exists. Neither makes an open show -- he of his domination or she of her subordination, but in a sheltered, private, daily routine, because of respect and reverence, this partnership holds; from love, not force nor violence.
Allow your thoughts to trace out marriages you know that may have suffered irreparable damage because of a lack of proper understanding in this regulation. Often unbelieving husbands, claiming nothing from The Holy Word but this obedience of the wife, force her into a miserable conformity to his domination even in things spiritual. She might be drawn into insatiable hunger to fellowship with a group of Christian believers; he, unbelieving, forbids her. Then the battle: Do I obey the Lord who tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, or do I obey my husband? She might be led of the Holy Spirit to give of her increase, the tithe, to the Lord, but her husband forbids this giving. Does she obey the Lord or go by the admonition of the husband?
Oh how severe the trial! How sorely the people perish for want of knowledge! God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has given us the principle governing every phase of our living. There is the right answer even to this. He gave it. Husbands, Love your wives. Even as Christ loved the Church; even as they love their own bodies.
There was the believing wife who loved her unbelieving husband. She studied her Bible and longed to follow His precepts. She also worked, helping with the support of the children. One day, forcibly, through the reading of The Word, God spoke to her that she should pay tithes from the money she earned. Money was the sore spot of this union. So her battle began! Should she obey God or her husband? The situation was not just a thought principle, but became an enraged warfare at the discovery that ten dollars had been taken from the hundred she had made and thrown away -- robbing the children. She was forbidden, under threat, ever to tithe again.
Tears. Agony of heart. Weeping in prayer. Yet for all this that principle remained. God would not make an exception because of her particular situation. There was no other remedy but to give of her increase, for she preferred the reproach and condemnation of even her beloved husband to the danger of disobedience to God. Then she began to sneak around, slipping a little here (all the time her own money which she earned), holding out a little there, so at the first of the month, when her check was received, she might have the cherished tenth to secretly give to her Lord.
This condition is not an isolated one. Many are the sad cases of wives who are caught in this adversity. This woman sought help from an elderly couple whose lives were spent in spiritual living. She plainly presented her problem and three times they told her in the plainest terms, quoting nothing but The Word, God's answer, yet she could not grasp it; could not synchronize these two opposing acts of obedience.
Then the Light of revelation taught her: "Render unto God the things that are God's and unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's!" The tenth, principle of giving, is not man's but God's. Man, even a husband, cannot claim that portion therefore has no choice of control. Only when this truth seeped into her understanding did this believing wife find peace of mind. She was fulfilling all of God's commands by this recognition. In Christ Jesus, in things of the spirit, there is neither male or female. All are one in Him. Of the other ninety percent, the husband took control.
Obedience of the wife is over-emphasized and under-understood. Often the expression is chirped, "The husband is head of the house." Misquote. The husband is the head of the wife. But as to the managing of the house, several scriptures define this duty as the wife's or mother's. Possibly the most beautiful is found in Proverbs 31: 10-3 1.
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil (no lack of gain). She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchant's ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth afield, and buyeth it; (a good business woman) with the fruit of her hands she procureth a vineyard (good manager).
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; (she is a teacher); and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Surely this is God's plan for true marriage. No thought of our presumptuous idea of insubordination, inferiority and servitude. Her husband loved her. My conviction is that rarely would you ever find a woman who is greatly loved who does not instinctively submit, complementing the love.
Man was made head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the Church. This was God's ordination. Head, according to Strong, is kephale (kef-al-ay') and comes from kapto, meaning the head, in the sense of seizing, as a part most readily taken hold of. Literally or figuratively. This gives the husband two things: authority over the wife and responsibility for her. When this order is recognized, there is scriptural and biological grounds for unity. In any given relationship, when the woman takes upon herself the headship, this is adverse to divine order.
Man, instinctively, recognizes this and feels usurped when the wife "wears the pants." He may never admit or refer to his position as the usurped, but they both know. She, if this is the case, deprives him of his greatest God-given heritage; she deprives herself of the same thing. Both of them are aware of this, inside. Unfortunately, some women acclaim this as proper and deserved, considering the circumstances. Unfortunately, under the circumstances, the wife may be better equipped to assume headship. Unfortunately, some circumstances force this role upon the wife. In any event, this is contrary to God's plan for a home. Man's forced reaction leads him to seek for another outlet or situation in which his manhood may find expression. Grounds for divorce, often the end result, list them as: "Mental cruelty, incompatibility, drunkenness; another woman, desertion, non-support," and such like accusations.
Of course, you already have heard of this type husband, brazenly justifying his acceptance of this reversal, explaining that they had, he and his wife, come to a workable arrangement with mutual consent: she decides little matters, like what kind of car they will buy, where and what kind their new house will be, where to send the children to college; he takes on himself decisions of weightier matters, such as who will be next President, the balancing of the national budget, etc.
Is it not significant that this subservient position of the wife, this decree of having the husband rule over her was part of the curse spoken to Eve for her disobedience in the Garden? "Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Gen. 3:16.
"Husbands, Love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it."
Love, (Strong) means: be disposed to; desire; prefer; choose; to will; intend; minded; to breathe after; sensually dote; affection; benevolence; to be a friend; personal attachment; embracing especially the judgment and deliberate assent; will, as a matter or principle, duty and propriety.
Nourish (Strong) means to rear up to maturity; to cherish; train; bring up; denotes origin (the point from whence motion or action precedes). Literally or figuratively; to pamper; to feed.
Cherish means to warm; brood; to foster. Webster defines cherish to care for kindly; to take into the mind fondly, as a hope or thought; to supply with necessary substance for life and growth; to support; to maintain.
Love! Nourish! Cherish! Powerful words. One gets the picture of the same kind of love a Mother has for her child; or a mother hen has for her brood of chicks. They, instinctively pet, pamper, feed, fondle, breathe after, dote, befriend, keep alive and warm. The connotation of origin is interesting, for the one flesh originates with the consummation of the marital vows, so, from the beginning, this feeling should be natural and imperative.
In this light, then, of loving, nourishing, cherishing, headship becomes a vital responsibility. The husband is literally responsible for his wife's attitudes, reactions, living. God made him ruler, therefore God shall require at his hands the outcome of the union. A General is given command over his army, but is held responsible for their welfare. As Christ is responsible for the Church, so is man responsible for his wife. If they are one flesh, she is to him what Eve was to Adam, "Bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh;" what The Church is to Christ, "Bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh." As it is physically impossible to separate the bone from the flesh without causing death, so is it impossible to separate the man from his wife, if they are one flesh, without causing death.
Imagine the old bones staying home Saturday night while the flesh goes out with the boys!
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ -- (or who shall separate a wife from the love of her husband) -- Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." Rom. 8: 35-37.
So God decreed, "Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church." In every reference the two are synonymous. What is taught concerning one is applicable to the other. Just as becoming a member of a local organization called a Church does not make one a Christian, or "part of His Body," even so having a legal ceremony with both names written on the same piece of paper does not make a man and woman married, or "one flesh."
Marriage, God's term, is not a legal ceremony. The ceremony is merely the outward or open acknowledgment that these two have fulfilled the requirements and have been granted the license to live together. They have "joined the church" if you please. But the ceremony is void of true meaning if their Love has not already united them. True marriage takes place in the heart and mind, or in the spirit and soul at betrothal. Then according to each country's particular customs, this union begins with appropriate ceremony.
DWELL ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE
In the third chapter of First Peter, Phillip's translation, a simple, practical and beautiful passage is given:
"In the same spirit you married women should adapt yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they do not obey the Word of God they may be won to God without any word being spoken, simply by seeing the pure and reverent behavior of you, their wives. Your beauty should not be dependent on an elaborate coiffure, or on the wearing of jewelry or fine clothes, but on the inner personality, the unfading loveliness of a calm gentle spirit, a thing very precious in the eyes of God. This was the secret of the beauty of the holy women of ancient times who trusted in God and were submissive to their husbands. Sara, you will remember, obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. And you have become, as it were, her true descendants today as long as you too live good lives and do not give way to hysterical fears.
Similarly, you husbands should try to understand the wives you live with, honoring them as physically weaker yet equally heirs with you of the grace of eternal life. If you don't do this, you will find it impossible to pray properly."
King James, 1 Pet. 3: 7 says, "Husbands dwell with them according to knowledge. .
Knowledge comes from the Greek, gnosis, the act of knowing, and ginosko, to know (absolute) -- and a great variety of applications and implications as: allow, be aware of, feel, perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand. Among the references was the word science, meaning intelligence or consciousness; to see completely, co-perception, moral consciousness.
What a feast husbands and wives would have if they would lump these together and feed upon them! In essence this would be merely the fulfillment of the golden rule. With each partner being conscious of the other, seeing completely from the other's viewpoint, co-perceiving problems, pressures, emotional stresses, physical momentary unfitness; each being aware of, being resolved to know, able and willing to speak in sympathy and assurance, understanding the other -- what girders of steel for a marriage framework!
If the wife's allotment were to make the living, how much excessive spending would be eliminated? If the husband's allotment were to bear the children, how many families of eight, twelve, fifteen would there be? Dwelling together according to knowledge? At a glance it would seem that some partners don't know much!
UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part bath he that believeth with an infidel (unbeliever)? And what agreement bath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; -- " 2 Cor. 6:14-16.
Paul, in 1 Cor. 9:5 declares his own privilege, with this limitation, "Have we not power (no right) to lead about a sister, a wife, that is a believer, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord -- ?" The time to determine this is before marriage. Teenagers sometimes think parents are not understanding when they insist upon proper associations, but considering these important factors, this vital period in a young person's life can lay the predicate for happiness or tragedy in his marital life. How many times a believer, or a Christian, finds himself unequally yoked together with an unbeliever! They may be well mated physically, and congenial mentally, yet have no common meeting ground for spiritual fellowship. At best, they would be only two-thirds compatible. Two people who do not believe alike cannot be true to each other; cannot be one. This should sober the thinking of those mature enough to "commit matrimony."
"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me," Paul writes in 1 Cor. 7, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman (if he does not want to get married). 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 (her due); and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife bath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband bath not power of his own body, but the wife."
Herein is an exception to the man's having authority over his wife. In the area of marital relationship, the wife has power of his body.
Power, as used in this sense according to Strong, comes from the Greek word, exousiazo (ex-oo-ad'-zo) meaning to control; exercise authority upon; bring under the power of, in the sense of ability, privilege of force or capacity; superhuman; potentate; token of control; delegated influence; authority; jurisdiction; liberty; right; strength.
Neither the husband nor the wife has the right or privilege of withholding his or her body from the other. This is the fulfillment of God's purpose in the creation of woman. When He said it was not good for man to live alone, he created one to share his living. Much unhappiness in marriage that ultimately leads to divorce is because of this factor. Undoubtedly this state of thinking is due to a number of reasons, most of which could be eliminated by proper understanding and education. It is a sad reflection on Christian training, but too frequently pious parents instill a false attitude concerning the giving of their bodies in marriage. God meant exactly what He said when He told us, "They two shall become one flesh." This has no connotation of duty for the specific purpose of reproduction. It is part of God's creative forethought and is given for the same reason food is given for man. Indeed, the sex urge is subordinate to none save that of self-preservation and even so is not entirely dissociated from it.
Every animal, including man, was created with this instinct and every animal, except man, obeys God's rules. Animals mate according to their instincts, then refrain until mating time again, never crossing this border to include strange animals. Man, having a will, wills to break the rules. Man suffers. God, knowing this man, allowed for this nature, giving specific regulations, prohibitions and commandments, with the proper result of blessing or penalty.
Woman was made for man to love, in the same spirit with which the Church is designed for Christ to love. In this love-mating children are born -- be they physical or spiritual. Just as Christ is grieved in His Spirit when His Bride, The Church, is unfaithful, even so is the spirit of the marital partner grieved in disloyalty or rejection.
Paul continues, "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."
Defraud, in this same connection, is from two Greek words, aposteréo, and stereo meaning to deprive; to despoil, to make destitute; keep back by fraud.
Webster defines defraud as to deprive of some right or interest by deception; cheat; withhold wrongfully.
That interesting word, cheat, is frequently used in reference to infidelity or unfaithfulness. Pure, clean, righteous, or self-righteous women who are the essence of physical chastity feel martyred when occasionally they discover their husbands have been cheating on them. Yet, perhaps for years these women have defrauded these same husbands by denying them their right -- their bodies. The reverse has been known to be true. According to God's Word, he withholding himself from the other, is a defrauder. To be convicted of fraud in civil courts is punishable by law. To defraud separates. Bars are lifted between the two involved. The same law concerning marital fraudery is defined by Paul. When this law is broken, separation follows; bars come between two involved.
You can think of examples: The lady who wrapped herself in a sheet for nearly six months, near panic at her husband's approach, until following the advice of an older sister, he boldly unwrapped her and despite protests a marriage was saved.
There was the lady who after two days of marriage, agreed to accept a lovely watch in exchange for her husband's first kiss, freely given. You are right, this was a generation twice removed. But the facts remain. Maybe you know this lady; she finally consulted a marriage counselor because her husband, a minister of the gospel, always insisted on his dues on Sunday night after Church. Her complaint, piloting toward divorce, was that he knew how tired she always was the next day and she had to wash on Mondays. Sound, wise advice to her was to wash Tuesdays -- but one wonders!
Some women, and isolated cases including men, grow so deep spiritually that they outgrow such indulgences. Frauds!
One man calmly announced to his wife, ripe old age of thirty six years, that he no longer had desire. That was that! Fraud!
The command: Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.
Consider again two unequally yoked together, a believer with an unbeliever. The believer, prompted by the Holy Spirit, feels drawn to hide away in prayer according to the Scripture. The unbelieving partner scoffs at the thought. One must yield. How can two walk together except they be agreed?
The command continued: Then come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Incontinency means powerless; without self-control. This same word is used in instruction to the unmarried and widows, saying, "It is good for them to abide even as I -- with control over his need -- but if they cannot contain, (have continency, or self control) let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn," to burn being the acknowledgment of desire with which God created them. No stigma, for God said it was not good for man to live alone.
That was direction for the unmarried and widows, but to the married God commanded: "Let not the wife depart from her husband; But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband; and let not the husband put away his wife."
Depart presents an endless chain of derivatives and hidden meanings, all of which I shall state because of the sheer interest of how one little word can hide such a depth and variety of meaning. Beginning this chain of references was the Greek word, choreo, denoting the idea of empty expanse, room, i.e. space of territory; to be bilious or irritable; enraged; choleric; be angry; chasm; vacancy; impassable gulf or interval; heap; rubbish; loose dirt; dust.
Now, Women! YOU are admonished, yes commanded not to create an empty expanse between yourself and your husband; not to be responsible for any space of territory. You are commanded not to be unpleasant, either in mind as suggested by irritable or in action, or physically as suggested by bilious. What a nauseating word! Bilious. And an irritable woman creates that same effect upon those around her, especially her husband. If and when such a situation exists, a logical reaction is to become enraged. This, in turn, could promote both mental and physical illness, as undesirable and loathsome as cholera -- a disease with violent vomiting and purging. What a picture! Then there is that idea of chasm, vacancy, that impassable gulf or interval. Physically, that particular disease would create exactly that condition; mentally, the same result could be expected -- and impassable chasm between the two who were meant to be one.
The consummation of such a series of conditions would ultimately lead to the rubbish heap. As loose dirt, or dust is easily carried away by a strong wind, so is a marriage where this condition prevails easily uprooted and the members scattered. The wages of sin is death. Disobedience is sin. Let not the wife depart from her husband!
"Let not the husband put away his wife." 1 Cor. 7:11. Mark 10:2-12. "And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh; What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he said to them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."
Mat. 19:7-12, "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. 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. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given."
Put away comes from two Greek words, aphieme (af-eé-ay-mee) and hiemi, meaning to send forth, in various applications as: forsake, lay aside, leave, let alone, omit, remit, suffer, yield up.
Divorcement is from two Greek words, apostasion, properly meaning something separative; specifically divorce, and from aphistemi, meaning to remove; instigate a revolt, to desist; desert; draw away; refrain; withdraw self.
At least a partial understanding of marriage and divorce laws in the land during Moses' day is essential. Polygamy was both permitted and practiced, the custom being prevalent in the heathen lands of which the Israelites were become possessors. The tendency of Israel was toward monogamy, however, even among the most beloved patriarch duplicity or multiplicity of wives is recorded -- often the cause of downfall and sin. Unhappiness and tragedy between rival wives and mixed children unveiled in these Old Testament scriptures decry this Pagan versus-God marital economy.
Arabs could divorce their wives with only a spoken word. For this reason heathen or Gentile wives adorned themselves with costly rings, earrings, necklaces, coins on their head gear and both bracelets and anklets. If the husband should announce to her some morning, "You no longer please me. Goodbye, it was nice knowing you," she that moment was to turn and walk out taking nothing with her except what she was wearing on her person. Often we in our day find it difficult to understand certain parables, for instance the one of the bride who lost her silver piece and the rejoicing which followed when she had moved all the furniture, swept .under the rug and found it. This was her security in case of her rejection.
Peter understood these ways and customs without doubt, utilizing this concept by way of contrast in his admonition to Christian wives: Wives, do not rely for your attraction upon the wearing of costly jewelry, elaborate coiffures, or extravagant dress, but rather let your beauty be the inner personality of a lovable and gentle spirit; the sweetness of a quiet and calm chastity. Peter knew these attributes of Godly reflection could hold the interest and love of a believer in Christ. 1 Pet. 3:1-4.
Paul was aware of God's principle of marriage when he wrote to Timothy that Bishops or Elders or Deacons should be the husband of one wife; not partaker with heathen customs of polygamy. 1 Tim. 3:2.
Moses surely must have known God's law, from the beginning, but because of their stiff necked ways and hardness of heart, he permitted them not only to have more than one wife, but also the legality of divorce, except the improvement of a written document. He even went a step further and allowed the woman thus put away the right to become another man's wife, with one restriction: Should this husband also be displeased with her, she was forbidden to return again and become the wife of the first husband. Deut. 24:1, 2.
Under this Mosaic law, the sin of adultery was not a matter of divorce, for that sin was punishable by death -- stoning. Again an explanation of their marriage customs or laws in that day is necessary or surely we in our limited comprehension, detect a conflict. Betrothal was a spoken covenant. Usually the families of both the bride and groom came together with witnesses. He would give her an "engagement ring" or some token of value, thus sealing his promise to marry her, or their betrothal. From that hour, she was set apart for him, al though usually the wedding proper would take place a year later. In screening brave and dedicated soldiers for war, mention is make of betrothal, "What man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? Let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in battle, and another man take her." Deut. 20:7. Then, "When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business; but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken." Deut. 24:5. Some of those Old Testament customs are worth keeping, no?
Betrothing a wife, then is comparable to our modern engagement; taking a wife is equivalent to our actual marriage. It was during this betrothal period of one year that the angel appeared to Mary, she was over-shadowed by the Holy Ghost and was with child. During this pre-nuptial period, Joseph, seeing the evidence of "infidelity, or fornication, or adultery" purposed to put her away privately, loving her too much to expose her to death by stoning. Then, as we know, the angel appeared also to Joseph and informed him of her virginity and purpose.
Jesus, knowing well this standard custom, could say, "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 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." This exception clause is not an allowance for divorce, for then would Jesus issue a law contrary to God's law, which He clearly stated was from the beginning. Always, in every precept of spiritual truth, Jesus carried out His Father's commandments keeping His laws; fulfilling, not revoking.
Guilt of fornication freed the man from his promise or covenant of betrothal.
Divorce teaching then declares: Do not leave; do not put away; do not de fraud; do not give a bill of divorcement. These are the do not, for what God has joined together.
UNBELIEVERS -- BELIEVERS
"If any brother (believer) hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." This regulation Paul ordained in all churches. 1 Cor. 7: 12-15, 17.
Conflict with God's law? No! God does not join a believer with an unbeliever.
Oh how our people perish for want of marital knowledge!
Paul continued, because of the distressful circumstances of that period, the persecution of the Christians and impending political tribulations, "Art thou bound to a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh; but I spare you." 1 Cor. 7:27, 28.
Isolating this portion, as so often happens in given controversial teaching, proof, scriptural proof could be offered that remarriage is permissible.
"The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married, to whom she will; only in the Lord." 1 Cor. 7:39.
Brother Paul seems to be reversing his decrees. He here clearly states only death gives the woman liberty to remarry. In Romans 7:1-3, he, during a concise discourse on the law -- not discussing marriage at all -- makes the same statement, "Know ye not, brethren (for I speak to them that know the law) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For (illustration to explain the law principle) the woman which bath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband, so then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."
Dead, in the Greek, comes from the word, apothnesko, from thnesko and apo, meaning off, literally or figuratively; This Greek word, apo, when used as a prefix in composition, denotes off, away from something near in various senses of place, time, or relationship. Apo denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, or reversal.
The manifold wisdom of God! And the tragic limitation of our English translations to give us a glimpse into the fullness of the spirit of God's speaking!
Dead, leave, depart, defraud, put away and divorcement all come from that one word, or prefix, apo. Only with this knowledge can we excuse Paul's apparent contradiction of his own teaching; or Jesus' seeming acknowledgment of a divorce regulation.
Bewildered? But what is marriage?
"And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, Of every tree of the garden (of Eden) thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
Was that a literal tree? Where are the seeds of it today, for how nice it would be to pluck some ripe fruit of knowledge and not have this long season of searching and researching! You say of course not! Surely it was figurative, or spoken with a figurative meaning.
But God's own spoken words, without an exception clause, definitely stated that the day he ate thereof he should surely die! Was that a literal day? Adam lived to be nine hundred and thirty years old.
Surely it was figurative speaking.
Did Adam die that day? Or was God just joking? The Holy Spirit is not a comedian; nor is jesting found in this Holy Bible. Then, this word did not mean die, we insist; not physical death! It must have meant spiritual death.
But the Spirit does not die! That, the spirit, was the part of man made in the image of God, and cannot die. The spirit returns to God who gave it.
Since it was not physical death and since it was not "spiritual" death, what did happen to Adam that day he disobeyed God?
Surely it was figurative death!
Now, indulge in unfeigned, sincere meditation upon exactly what did happen that day between God and Adam. God had formed man, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life because the Love-heart of God wanted to be worshiped; because the Father-heart of God wanted children with whom to fellowship. In Ephesians 5:22-33, in the recorded duties in relationship of a husband and wife, involving such terms as husbands being head of the wives as Christ is head of the Church; husbands loving the wives as Christ loves the Church, that He might sanctify it, cleanse it, present it to himself a glorious Church not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish; husbands nourishing their wives as Christ nourishes the Church; admitting this as a great mystery this entire series of similes is speaking concerning Christ and The Church. So the Husband-heart of God wanted a Bride to love.
God gave Adam dominion, or co-authority with Him. Gen. 1:26.
God gave him the privilege of pro-creation. Gen. 1:28. God gave him provision for abundant sustenance. Gen. 1:28, 30.
A true husband fits this pattern.
God and Adam shared everything together; they communed in the cool of the day. There were no "weeds in their garden." God, being head, counseled and Adam obeyed. God provided and Adam enjoyed His provision. Adam took care of his dwelling place. He was always "home" when God came. He was not afraid, nor ashamed even though he was "naked" before God. He was intelligent, knowing the name and nature of every facet of his association. He had no problem talking with and understanding God, or being understood. There was perfect unity and harmony between them. They welcomed the presence of the other.
They loved and shared each other. They were, figuratively speaking, married!
Then one of them disobeyed! One of them broke the commandment. Knowledge of evil was born. Fear took hold. Dread replaced desire. Shame drove the one into hiding because of awareness that a blemish, a spot was on the body. Answering the home-coming call with warmth and eagerness had turned into a far-off response. Instead of simple yes and no answers, the replies became evasive, shifting attention to another. Fellowship was broken.
Death had separated God and Adam. They had "died off" as to place, time and relationship. There was departure, cessation, completion, reversal. Figuratively speaking, their marriage had ended in divorce. It took them both to make this union -- two becoming one -- but just one could break it.
This was Paul's ordination in all the Churches, that when death had occurred in a marital union, then the marital law was no longer binding: the believer was no longer under bondage; the "woman was no adulteress though she be married to another man."
DIVORCE IS NOT THE PROBLEM
Question! Then why bother? Just marry, get a divorce and marry again!
Answer: This is the world standard. Legally, according to divorce laws in many countries, this is permissible. No problem, rather a passing inconvenience. According to the divorce statistics in Christian America the evidence is convincing.
But divorce is not the problem. Marriage is the problem!
God ordained and instituted marriage. Man instituted divorce.
If the so-called marriage is merely a legal contract, or paid license to live together with respect in a community, then there is no un-lawful act if a so-called divorce is paid for and the contract terminated. If God is not considered in the marriage, then why try to hold him accountable for the divorce?
Believers, if you are not really married, then get married! Because if you are not living together in love, you are really divorced. You don't just go to a lawyer one day and get a divorce, any more than you just go to a Minister one day and get a marriage. Both are made.
When does a murder become a murder? Is it the moment a shot is fired and the body drops? Or is it in the heart of the one planning? Of course, the one shot is just as dead, but the one firing the shot is the murderer only according to his motive, his heart. When does one commit adultery? When the act is consummated, or is it in the heart while the plan is being formulated? If the exception clause were in reality God-permitted, as many assume, then possibly every marriage in existence would have scriptural grounds for severance, for Jesus Himself explains that "if a man even looks upon a woman to lust after her, in his heart he has already committed adultery with her."
No! God did not make an exception for divorce. Neither did he forbid marriage. 1 Tim. 4:3 includes the forbidding marriage with other examples of seducing spirits. Romanism is not exclusive in this forbiddance. Many of our Protestant clergy vehemently forbid marriage to worthy couples, using these misunderstandings as scriptural holds.
SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES
At this writing I have on my desk some half dozen pamphlets and booklets on this subject of marriage and divorce, written by today's leaders in spiritual matters, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers. In the entire collection only one shows any evidence or depth of research to see if these things be true. We are told that the Holy Spirit was sent to guide us into all truth. Without exception, save this one, they quote principally the Matthew references, then after several pages of prejudiced and doctrinal exposition, reach the only conclusion they were taught from tradition of their churches: no divorce, except for "fornication;" no re-marriage, except with the penalty of adultery. Not one other pierces the real problem or fault and points, scripturally, to a solution.
One young lady married, very young, and after a tragic period of abuse "got a divorce." She waited until really mature, then in the course of growth, met, fell in love with and became the wife of a commendable young man. Their marriage had all the qualifications of success, then during the early months, both accepted Christ as their Savior and became active members in a prominent denomination. They were beloved leaders of young people, bringing to this Church a great increase, both numerically and in stability. Under their influence there was a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the midst; their praise was sung both by Pastor and Elders.
Then someone heard of the former marriage and the flood gates of rejection with condemnation were flung open. The persecution resulted in their being officially excluded from all Church activity -- except the privilege of sitting in the audience, and of course giving their tithe. They suffered, not understanding. Wagging tongues and shaking heads branded them as "adulterers, because she had a 'living mate."' Weeks of desolation and frustration, trying to reconcile this Christian behavior with what their hearts told them and their Holy Bibles taught them, passed. Then news reached them that the "living mate" had died. She no longer was living in adultery. For this glorious change that had happened to her, again she was permitted to reclaim the position as Young People's Leader, teaching a Sunday School Class.
How different was she? People perish for want of knowledge!
Listed in the Commandments are several Thou Shalt Nots: Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not lie; thou shalt not bear false witness. In our denominations today, it is to those guilty of these things that the gospel is preached. When a soul repents and turns from the guilt of sin, he is "accepted" in said denomination and gives testimony of the joy of salvation, having an inner assurance that no longer does the particular sin have hold upon him. He is set free from the guilt of this stain by the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Savior. All the "Church" rejoices with this one who is now brother, part of the Body of Jesus Christ, acceptable.
No Church pastor nor group of elders would think of suggesting that the transformed alcoholic continue with his drinking and sin, once having received forgiveness and been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb. No one would think of requiring the liar to continue in his lies, or the thief in his stealing. Yet, for the "adulterer" in this case, the unfortunate one is even counseled to "go back and attach yourself again to the 'living mate'; rejoin yourself to one still in unbelief." The very spirit of purity and grace and love and Godliness revolts at such error.
When one in authority would compel such continuation, is not this the Blind leading the Blind? Both have fallen into a thousand ditches all over our divorce-ridden country. When marriage is error; when Jesus Christ was not even acknowledged in the union, then God hath not joined together!
God instituted marriage and gave the pattern:
1. Leave parents
Two kinds of marriages: The Legal ceremony; The Heart ceremony.
Only the marriage which conforms to God's pattern has God joined together.
God did not give a divorce plan. He only gave a marriage plan.
No blanket statement can be made about divorce, or marriage, but each is determined by the facts involved. Two particular conditions are listed as scriptural qualifications for divorce:
1. If the unbeliever departs, the believer is free from the marital bondage.
2. Death -- the same death that divorced Adam from God when he partook of the forbidden fruit. Synonyms of this figurative death are: depart, defraud, put away and divorcement.
God made woman because He said it is not good for man to live alone. Knowing the primal urge within man, He gave order that, to avoid fornication, every man was to have his own wife, and every woman was to have her own husband. No exception was mentioned of a former marriage.
If the unbelieving should depart (causing death to the marriage) the believer was freed from bondage and permitted to remarry.
When death separates, remarriage is granted without the attachment of "adultery."
WHAT CAN WE THEN CONCLUDE?
Missionaries are sent to "heathen" countries to tear down tradition and replace it with Truth. Yet, in our own Churches, dogmas and tradition of the elders have this tragic hold over the little flocks. Shepherds are not entering into All The Truth and are standing in the door preventing the sheep from entering in. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed, but the Churches still bind with fetters; errors of tradition handed down by the fathers.
Let us conclude that the errors lie in The Marriage. Let us examine and rightly divide The Word of Truth from the word of tradition. Let us establish according to The Holy Word of Truth what is error; casting aside as refuse the chaff and holding fast to the pure grain, without mixture. Let us be Doers of The Word; not hearers only of words. Let us love one another even as Christ loved The Church and gave HIMSELF for it.
Mabel Johnson Maciel
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