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                                                                   God's Marriage Laws
                                                   The Letter of the Law, the Spirit of the Law
                                                     Correct Application, Erroneous Application
                                                                            Article bY

           With regards to God's marriage laws (or any of His Biblical laws), it is clear that God gave these laws to man to
    cause and help man do God's will and wish in any matter.  Man in dealing with God's written laws very much should
    deal with them in the way that fulfills God's desire and will in the matter, and not merely follow His laws according to
    their technical wording.  The Bible says the letter killeth (2 Cor 3:6). Yes, the letter or technical wording of God's laws in
    legalism can actually kill and do the very opposite of what God would will and desire in a particular situation!  Thus Paul
    advocated that he was not a minister of the letter of the law, but a minister of the Spirit of the law (2 Cor 3:6).  In old
    era times God ordained judges, whose job was to rightly apply God's laws.       bY-1

           God's written laws are to be an aid in discerning good and evil and determining God's will, rather than being a
    mechanical or legalistic law.  Exodus 23:13 advocates being circumspect in following God's laws, Exodus 34:27
    advocates following the tenor of the law, and Nehemiah 8:8 speaks of Ezra reading the law and giving the people the
    sense of the law.  The will and desire of God on the matter is what matters.        bY-2

           In determining whether you are a minister of the letter of the law or a minister of the will and mind of God (the
    spirit and intent of the law), please consider the following old era marriage laws, and consider how you might apply them
    if you had lived back in that era of time;      bY-3

           In the Mosaic law, although husbands were allowed to put away their wives for various reasons, yet the law spoke
    of two particular situations wherein husbands were never allowed to put away their wives.  Deuteronomy speaking of
    this says that if husband brings a particular grievous false report against his wife, he may not put her away all his days
    (Deu 22:13-19).  Deuteronomy also teaches that if a man humbles a maid, he must take her to be his wife and may not
    put her away all his days  (Deu 22:28-29).  God through not allowing the erroneous man to ever put away his wife as
    this, intended to place a additional responsibly upon this husband, and appears was endeavoring to give the wife an
    additional blessing and protection.  God by this law obviously was not trying to bring a difficulty or snare upon the
    misused wife.  Note although God in the old era allowed troubled marriages to be dissolved, He never wanted the
    husband to do it in a oppressive and cruel way, thus if the wife wanted the divorce as well as the husband, such would
    have been a more acceptable separation in God's sight.     bY-4

           Now what do you think should be done in the situation where a man misused his wife and thus (according to the
    letter of this law) could never put her away, if the marriage in due time ended up being very troubled, and his wife
    herself would very much want to be released from this marriage and very much would want her husband to put her
    away?  Remember God by this law was not trying to bring a difficulty upon the women but rather upon the erroneous
    man.  Would this woman have to remain in this troubled marriage because of this law (which was intended to bless her),
    while wives of other troubled marriages had the opportunity of being released from that marriage?  According to the
    letter of the law this wife clearly would have to stay within this marriage, note the law says he may not put her away all
    his days!       bY-5

           A minister of the letter of the law would be obligated to say this marriage simply can never be dissolved, even if the
    marriage is very troubled, and even if the wife would want it dissolved, and even though other unhappy marriages could
    be dissolved in that era of time.  Yet a minister of the will and intent of God in that era of time would say, if the wife
    wants to be put away that makes all the difference, and would say that God by this law was not trying to bring a
    difficulty upon the woman but rather a blessing, and thus this husband with and yet only with her permission and desire
    can put her away.  In this situation it is quite obvious that applying the letter of the law would do the very opposite of
    what the will and mind of God would do.  How sad it is, when Christians merely apply the letter of the law and thereby
    do the very opposite of what the intent of the law would be in the matter!       bY-6

           In considering the above situation one should also consider that in that era of time, this man might even have a
    second or third wife he was placing his affections on and might just be keeping this wife only because he had to, while
    this poor wife might be quite certain that she could find a better life without him.  In those days a woman after being put
    away was even quite free to marry another (Deu 24:1-4).        bY-7

           In considering exceptions to the law, one should consider that although Deu 22:28 strictly says one who humbles a
    daughter must marry her, yet Ex 22:16-17 speaking of the same situation says such marriage can be forfeited it the father
    of the daughter did not want it.  Note if the girl herself didn't want the marriage, she in many cases likely could also have
    forfeited the marriage by moving her dad to refuse the marriage.  Yet what if the daughter's dad was dead?  God did not
    give written laws for every situation, He rather ordained judges with sound minds and a pure heart to follow the tenor,
    sense, and intent of the law.  Are you a minister of the letter of the law or a minister of the will and mind of God?       
    bY-8

           The purpose of God matrimonial laws is to create and preserve, peace, justice, and order among mankind.  If God
    had no marriage laws and it was lawful and customary for a man to have any woman that he that day could attract to
    himself, or lawful for a woman to have any man that she that day could attract to herself, one can hardly imagine how
    much stress, anxiety, jealousy, and strife would be encountered.  God's marriage laws in both the old era and Christian
    era have the vital purpose of making husbands and wives secure companions to one another, and to make a secure
    environment for the children.  Truly we should be thankful for God's marriage laws.  Remember these good laws very
    much need to be followed according to their intent and purpose rather than merely according to the letter.     bY-10
    Too many Christians do not properly understand how God's laws are good laws worthy to be loved, for which cause
    King David was moved to say "O how love I they law" (Psa 119:97)!  King David in Psalms 119 repeatedly spoke of
    God's laws being good, something he loved, and delighted in.  May Christians understand why James spoke of God's
    laws being laws of liberty and Jesus said the truth makes us free  (James 1:25, 2:12, John 8:32,)!  Although God's laws
    obviously do not allow man to do everything he on the spur of the moment might want to do, yet their end is blessing
    and freedom!  Too many ministers of the Word in ignorance have turned to the letter of the law and "...turned aside
    unto vain jangling;  Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."  
    (1 Tim 1:6-7).     bY-11

           In considering divorce as in the old era it should be considered that after a wife was put away, she was not allowed
    to ever return to her past husband, as the separation was to be a permanent issue  (Deu 24:3, Jer 3:1).  It appears our
    wise God did not want men chasing their wives out of the house one day and a few nights later taking them back in.  If
    taking back a prior wife was lawful, husbands might have sent a wife away and she after leaving might have gone to a
    prior husband and soon after returned back to her previous husband, and trading wives back and forth could have
    resulted.  It is quite clear that such is what Jeremiah 3:1 is speaking of when it says, "If a man put away his wife, and she
    go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted?".  A
    divorce also had to be done in writing as it needed to be an official act rather than just a quick angry decision (Deu 24:
    1&3).  God had various written marriage laws in old times.  Some such laws were, Priests were not to marry a divorced
    woman or a widow (Lev 21:13-14).  If a servant left his master after his seven years of service were ended, his wife, if
    gotten from his master while serving, was to be left with his master (Ex 21:2-4).  Wives taken from among the captives
    in battle, if later disliked could be put away, although not sold for money (Deu 21:11-14).       bY-12

           Although husbands in the old era for various reasons and quite freely were allowed to put away wives and marry
    others, in the Christian era Jesus set down new and much stricter rules with regards to divorce and remarriage.  Yet
    although Christ did establish much stricter marriage  laws in the Christian era He still allowed divorce and remarriage for
    the cause of fornication.  Following are two such Scriptures;     bY-13

           (Mat 5:31-32)  "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
    {32} 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."     bY-14

           (Mat 19:3&9)  "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put
    away his wife for every cause? {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."     bY-
    15
           A careful study of how the word fornication is used in the Bible, and the definitions of the Hebrew and Greek
    word         underlying the word fornication, clearly reveal that the Biblical word fornication can pertain to adultery and
    any type of sexual sins. Paragraphs 2:3-30 of article aW give many related verses.  That the word fornication can mean
    adultery or any sexual sins is acknowledged by numerous and possibly most writers, Bible scholars, and Bible
    translators.  Before one continues reading the rest of this article he really should be convinced that the Biblical word
    fornication pertains to sexual sins of the married and well as the unmarried.  One possibly should use his concordance
    and read every verse with the word fornication therein.  In the KJV Bible the word fornicat(...) with it's different endings
    appears 44 times in 40 different verses.  The writer was very surprised when he first studied every verse with the word
    fornication therein and discovered that many or most times when the word fornication is used, the Scripture context
    quite obviously is not in any way focusing on the unmarried but quite obviously is including the married as well.  Before
    this study I had thought the word fornication largely excludes the married in it's use and meaning.  1 Corinthians 5:9-10
    reads,  "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: {10} Yet not altogether with the fornicators of
    this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world."  Should
    one think this Scripture in using the word fornication is particularly intending to exclude the married from it's context?  It
    does not appear so, but rather it appears to be speaking of sexual sinners of any kind.  Many Scriptures are similar to this
    in their use of the word fornication.  It appears most Scriptures that use the word fornication by no means are
    endeavoring to exclude the married from their context.  Some revealing texts are, Jude 1:7, Acts 15:29, 2 Chr 21:11, 2
    Cor 12:21, 1 Thes 4:3, Rom 1:29, Rev 14:8.  One should also remember that the Hebrew and Greek words underlying
    the word fornication advocate sexual sins of any kind.  According as the word fornication can pertain to sexual sins of
    the married, the above two Scriptures which allow divorce and remarriage for the cause of fornication, would yet (in the
    Christian era) allow the husband to put away his wife if she is involved in sexual sins and marry another.  Yet obviously
    husbands should be patient and forgiving and not quick and cruel in putting away such a wife and marrying another.       
    bY-16

           Yet too many Christians are still disagreed on what the word fornication pertains to, and too disagreed on what this
    liberty of divorce and remarriage really pertains to.  Some Christians believe that the fornication spoken of in the above
    Scriptures (and the liberty for divorce and remarriage therewith), pertains only to dealing with invalid marriages or the
    engagement union rather than dealing with a real marriage union.  Yet if the fornication divorce permission spoken of in
    the above Scriptures pertained only to the engagement union rather than the marriage union, why would Jesus after being
    asked whether one can put away his real wife for every cause, suddenly give a reason for divorce that pertained only to
    the engagement union?! (Matt 19:3-9).  Considering how liberal divorces and marriages were in the Old Testament, why
    should one think that Jesus in being questioned about being allowed to put away a wife for every cause would all of a
    sudden given an answer which was to be applied merely to the engagement union (Matt 19:3-9)?  As in above Matthew
    5:31-32, why would Jesus after teaching that husbands can no longer divorce a real wife through a mere writing of
    divorcement, then suddenly be speaking merely of the engagement union, as He continued on and yet allowed divorce
    and remarriage for the cause of sexual sins?       bY-17

           It appears the fact that Jesus in the above Scriptures used the word fornication rather than the word adultery, is
    why some have decided Christ was not speaking of the marriage union but only of the engagement union.  Yet one must
    remember the word fornication can very much pertain to sexual sins of any kind including adultery.  One should research
    how the Bible uses the word fornication.  In considering the very situations in which Jesus gave liberty for divorce and
    remarriage for the cause of fornication, it very much appears to the writer that Jesus was not speaking merely of the
    engagement union or invalid marriages.  Note these issues are consider more extensively in paragraphs 12:18-23.5 of
    article aW.      bY-18

           If husbands in the new era could not put away their wives for the cause of adultery and marry another, one's wife
    could live in adultery and permanently leave her husband, while her husband could never put her away and marry
    another.  Thus the husband of the unfaithful wife would be required to remain single until her death.  That sure would be
    a great change as compared to how God's people in the old era could have numerous wives and could quite freely put
    away disliked wives and marry others.  Although Jesus did get stricter with regards to divorce and remarriage, it appears
    one really lacks solid basis to believe He disallowed it altogether.      bY-20

           If Jesus in allowing divorce and remarriage for the cause of fornication, for some reason would have been giving
    husbands permission to put away their wives only if they were guilty of premarital fornication, one in so far would have
    an advantage in marring non virgins, because he could divorce them and marry another, if they were unfaithful to him
    and left him, while if he married a virgin he could never divorce her and marry another even if she permanently left him
    and went with another man.  Paragraphs aW 5:10-13 speak more of this.     bY-21

           Although the Bible clearly is man's most important source of written direction, in considering these things one
    should still consider that the writings of Tertullian, early Anabaptists, Menno Simmons, and John Holdeman all with one
    voice, interpret Jesus' above teachings to allow husbands to put away a wife for the cause of adultery and marry
    another.  Their writings are given in paragraphs 11:3-15, 12:24-25 of article aW.  May Christians be careful to follow
    God's laws according to the good intent thereof, and be careful lest they disallow what God does not disallow for His
    children.       bY-22

           Some Christians likely feel the promises made in marriage vows in themselves should disallow remarriages after a
    divorce, and thus many second marriages should be broken apart simply because they conflict with human promises, and
    the divorced ones thus required to be single and children torn apart.  Concerning the obligation and duty that wedding
    vows place upon Christians as well as non Christians, one must consider that God in the new era does not want people
    to make promises in the binding way of swearing or making oaths, as God's people did in the old era (Matt 5:33-37,
    James 5:12).  God rather now wants all human promises to be made with the intent that if God approves and allows we
    will do this or that (James 4:13-16).  In old times husbands were given authority to disallow and make void his wife's or
    children's vows (Num 30).  How much more may God also disallow any of our vows if He wills to do so, since he is
    much greater than a mere husband, and since we should always make our promises as in subjection to God's approval
    and allowance to begin with.        bY-23

           If second marriages must be torn apart merely because they are not in agreement with earlier human promises, one
    should never even be allowed to serve the Lord, if he in his past promised someone he wouldn't serve the Lord.  If
    human promises are always binding, one should also have to remain a permanent criminal, if he promised some crime
    organization his life long service.  Although God obviously will hold one more to a good promise than to a bad promise,
    yet God can forgive human promises and only those promises that God holds people to are valid and active
    promises.       bY-24

           What should husband's be required to vow or promise in getting married?  Jesus Himself in our time yet allows
    husbands to put away their wives for fornication and marry another (Matt 5:32, 19:9).  The writings of Tertullian, early
    Anabaptists, Menno Simmons, and John Holdeman all with one voice according to Jesus teaching, allow husbands to put
    away a wife for the cause of adultery and marry another.  Thus for what reason should husbands in getting married be
    required to vow to never take another wife until death part?  Yet many Churches demand a similar vow of men at their
    wedding.  The writer at his wedding was asked; "Will you... keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live".  
    I having much respect and confidence in my church answered "yes".  Yet now I have learned such vow demanded
    something of me that Christ never asked of husbands.  Rather Christ allows the husband to marry another if his wife
    would become guilty of sexual misbehavior (fornication) and refuses to repent and possibly even would leave him.  As
    God knows that I at my wedding was endeavoring to vow only according to His true will, I believe I now am only held
    to God's true requirement rather than to my ignorant vow.      bY-25

           Because of many errors in our day, both among those who merely claim to be Christians and those who are
    Christians, the dividing line between the Kingdom of this World and the Kingdom of Christ is not a distinct as it should
    be.  Yet the Kingdom of this World and Kingdom of Christ are two totally different kingdoms.  Just because society or
    so called Christians believe in getting married does not mean they are a part of the Kingdom of Christ.  The world
    believed in marriage just before the flood and will still believe in marriage just before Christ's return (Mat 24:38-39), yet
    believing in marriage alone does not make people a part of the Kingdom of Christ!  Concerning marriages and divorces
    that were done in ignorance and unbelief and outside of the Kingdom of Christ, how should they be dealt with when
    those involved in them are won to Christ and His Kingdom?  This is an important question that deservers a good
    answer.       bY-26

           In determining whether you are a minister of the letter of the law or a minister of the will and mind of God, please
    consider the following possible situations wherein two women from the world were won to Christ and His Kingdom, and
    consider how you might deal with them;     

           Wicked Jezebel lived carelessly together with her boyfriend for three years (although he preferred to get married),
    afterwhich Jezebel got very unreasonable with him and left him.  Jezebel soon after leaving him got married to another
    man.  Now Jezebel is very glad she didn't marry her long lived with boyfriend, because she after being won to Christ and
    His Kingdom is told her present marriage is good and acceptable because she was never divorced.       bY-27

           Mary although also non Christian was more conscientious then Jezebel, and hated to live with her boyfriend
    without being married, so they got married, although he preferred to just live together.  Yet six months after their
    wedding he got very unreasonable with Mary and divorced her against her wishes.  Mary was very grieved about the
    situation, yet some time later she got married again, which marriage turned out very well for her.  They have numerous
    children which Mary and her husband love dearly.  Yet now she after being won to Christ and His Kingdom is told she
    must leave her second husband whom she greatly loves, because her present marriage involves divorce and remarriage
    which may not be done.  Her heart as well as the hearts of her husband and children are all broken, and they don't know
    what to do in this heart breaking situation.       bY-28

           Jezebel now is telling Mary that she feels very sorry for her, and wishes Mary had refused to marry her first
    boyfriend like she had done, because then God would allow her present marriage to stand!  Are ministers of the will and
    mind of God instructing Jezebel and Mary, or are blind guides of the letter of the law instructing them?  God knows
    Mary was more upright than Jezebel in her past, and her human marriage vows (promises) He can forgive.  God knows
    Mary's prior marriage only lasted six months while Jezebel lived with her prior boyfriend for three years.  Remember if
    God could not forgive human promises then one who promises to never be a Christian simply could never be a Christian,
    and one who would promise life long service in organized crime would always have to be a criminal.  One should
    consider that concerning some marriages, God possibly never did acknowledge them as valid.  Remember the real intent
    of God's good marriage laws is to create secure marriage partners and secure children and God wants His laws to be
    followed as to best fulfill their intent.  Are you a minister of the letter of the law or a minister of the will and mind of
    God?         bY-30

           Following is given a parable which also should be considered in considering how to deal with past erroneous
    marriages when those involved in them have repented and want to become a part of the Kingdom of Christ;       bY-31
    Israel had a law that all who steal must get both of their hands cut off, thus they had basically no thievery done in their
    nation.  No locks and keys were needed because everyone in this nation could be trusted!  Many people wanted to
    become a part of Israel because of the security in this nation, and many did become a part thereof.  Honest people and
    those who were fully resolved to be honest were anxious to migrate to Israel.  Yet many people could not become a part
    of Israel because they had stolen in their past and Israel had the strange law that if anyone had ever stole, even if before
    becoming a part of their nation they would have to cut off their hands upon becoming citizens of Israel!  One might say
    how ridiculous.  One might also say allowing such immigrates to keep their hands would not disrupt the theft security of
    Israel, while rather only giving such immigrates a chance in Israel.  Yet stop and think about Israel's strange law, is such
    not similar to what Christians are doing when they rigidly require those who were married and divorced in their sinful
    past, and who have now repented, to leave a established wife and family when they become a part of God's New
    Testament Israel?       bY-32

           In considering God's marriage laws, one must remember that the real reason for them is to avoid havoc among
    humanity.  They are intended to make husbands and wives secure companions to one another, and to make a secure
    environment for the children.  God wants His good marriage laws to always be followed as to fulfill their intent.  Yet
    how many Christians in legalistically enforcing and misapplying God's marriage laws have created havoc rather than
    prevented havoc?  How many ministers of the Word in legalistically enforcing and misapplying the letter of law have
    disrupted what our God would have made a secure and happy family within His Kingdom.  Yes, God's good marriage
    laws help to create the more abundant life that Jesus came to give.  How it must grieve the heart of God when He sees
    the possibly sincere yet dreadful misuse of His good laws!  Wouldn't the good laws of our good God give one who
    repents and comes into His Kingdom a chance in His good marriage plan?  Are you a minister of the letter of the law, or
    a minister of the will and mind of God?  Remember, if merely the letter of the law is followed such can do the very
    opposite of the good intent of the law, and remember the letter killeth but the spirit gives life!       bY-33

           Jesus obviously was the best doctor of God's law that ever walked this earth, yet His focus clearly was not on the
    letter of the law but rather His focus was on the mind and will of His Father in any particular situation.  What kind of
    doctors of God's laws are we?  Jesus didn't put to death the adulterous woman caught in the very act, as the letter of the
    law demanded, but shewed mercy (John 8:3-11).  Too many Christians think conservatism and sacrifice is righteousness,
    and might advocate sacrifice rather than mercy, while Jesus rather said, "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will
    have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  (Mat 9:13).  Are we
    shewing Christ's mercy to sinners and inviting sinners to repentance or are we possibly sincerely yet ignorantly and
    erroneously cutting off hands?!       bY-34

           Jesus said the weightier matters of the law, are "judgment, mercy, and faith" (Matt 23:23).  May our judgment not
    merely be based on the letter of the law but may it be done with mercy and with faith in God's good laws which are
    sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb (Psa 19:7-10).  Jesus did not come to break hearts and to create captives,
    but rather came to "...heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty them that are bruised,"  (Luke 4:18)!  Are we His disciples?  Note although the intent of the law at times
    will not demand the divorced and remarried to separate, yet the intent of the law at times will require such.  Article aW
    extensively considers such different situations.       bY-35

           The writer himself is slowly discovering that various things he was taught and thought were laws of God were
    nothing more than the laws of men and darkness.  It appears their is a famine in the land, not of natural bread but of the
    living bread of life.  Amos 8:11-13 speaks of a famine of hearing the words of the Lord, and says many will run from sea
    to sea and shall not find it, and says in that day the fair virgins and young men shall faint for thirst.  How many people
    need and are starved for complete truth, but can't find it anywhere?  The writer in here writing was moved to tears in
    thinking of how misunderstood many of God's laws are, and in thinking of the great darkness of our time with regards to
    many subjects.  Although there will always be many things we don't know or fully understand, yet oh may God help us
    learn those things that are important for our life and time, and help us be free of ignorantly advocating the erroneous
    doctrines and commandments of men!       bY-36

           In trying to discuss God's laws about divorce and remarriage with one person, I was told such subject is something
    to argue about.  He didn't really want to talk much about it.  Although some might foolishly argue about this subject may
    we quit doing so, and rather seek and find the truth on this subject as it is a vitally important subject.  How can God's
    church be a light to the world when it is divided and in the dark about such an important subject!  How can Christians
    win a erring world to the Kingdom of Christ when they are in the dark as to how to deal with the marriage situations they
    encounter among those who they are endeavoring to win to this special Kingdom?       bY-37

           It is no secret that Christians are very divided about this subject.  It also is obvious that two opposing views cannot
    both be right, while rather both opposing views could even be wrong.  Concerning a subject as important as this, hasn't
    God given His people laws that can be understood?  Quite obviously God, His Spirit, and His Word will give sufficient
    light and we dare not resort to having no direction on this important subject.  May we love and seek the truth as it can be
    found by those who love it and seek it with their whole heart.     bY-38

           In conclusion may God make "...us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the
    letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."  (2 Cor 3:6).  May we remember that although God's laws obviously do not allow
    man to do everything he on the spur of the moment might want to do, that the purpose and end of God's laws is peace
    as a river and righteousness as the waves of the sea (Isa 48:18).  May we find and experience that peace and those
    waves!       bY-40

           May we go and learn what God means in that He will have mercy and not sacrifice (Mat 9:13).  May Jesus not
    have to tell us today what He told the Jews saying, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things
    which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes" (Luke 19:44).  May we rather see and experience
    the things that belong to our peace and also share them with others!  Farewell.       bY-41
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