CONCERNING A DAWN LETTER RE DIVORCE & RE-MARRIAGE

 

    (Quotations are from the letter, and afterwards we add some comments)

 

      The writer is contending against both the 'Exceptive Clause' and the

      'Pauline Privilege' which we have set forth in page 1.  We appeal to

      any who have been misled to discuss this important matter with us.

 

      Both  the Dawn teaching and  Catholic dogma*   are based  upon the

      false premises that (1) "fornication" refers only to pre-marital harlotry

      &(2)the 'Pauline Privilege' does not exist.To hold, or to exclude sound

      brothers & sisters by the use of, such heresies cannot be according to

      the mind of Christ. Link to 'appeal' concerning the balance which we

                must seek to uphold in matters of doctrine & fellowship.

      *as endorsed during the infamous 'Council of Trent' AD1545-1563

        (both for individual Catholic marriages and priestly celibacy)

      which a bishops' pastoral letter stated"gave the Church an unsurpassed

      monumental synthesis of doctrine that will guide her to the end of time"

      - the heresy "forbidding to marry" for her priests (predicted in 2nd

      Timothy 4v1-3) is built upon the idea of their life-long "marriage to the

      church" - divorce for her spiritual "fornication" being thus forbidden.

      Concerning the Roman Catholic apostacy and the 'Council of Trent'

      link to:  'Departure from the Truth'…'Foundation and Obligation'

 

1. "Fornication is a different thing from adultery"  and  "Fornication is

    premarital intercourse". The Greek word 'porneia', used in Matthew

    5v32 and 19v9 as the permissible reason for divorce & re-marriage,

    is used both in the Scriptures & in documents of that time of a large

    variety of sexual sins, including both before and after marriage.

    The following include  'porneia' (the noun) and  'porneuo' (the verb).

 

    They are used of marital infidelity - 1st Corinthians 5v1 & of Sodom -

    Jude 7.Revelation 2v20-22 though speaking of spiritual harlotry shows

    that "fornication" can include "adultery".  When Paul wrote of the Is-

    raelites who "commit(ted) fornication" in 1st Corinthians 10v8 he was

    not referring solely to pre-marital sin. We only have to look at the OT

    record also - "the people began to commit whoredom" - was this

    only the unmarried? It is unthinkable.  And when Paul wrote he would

    "bewail many" for their sins including "fornication", he was obviously

    not limiting his remarks to pre-marital sinners - 2nd Corinthians 12v21.

    Was his prohibition against "fornication" in 1st Corinthians 6v13 only

    for the unmarried? It is obvious that it was for the married also.

 

      When Christ refers in Revelation 2v14 to the same OT sin as did Paul in

    1st Corinthians 10v8, he calls it "fornication". Married and unmarried

    were guilty - to maintain to the contrary is quite obviously incorrect.

    Independent scholars and documents endorse the above meanings.

    Some independent testimonies to the wide usage of 'porneia ' are -

    A.  Moulton & Milligan's 'The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament'

          shows from the papyri and inscriptions of the time how Bible words

          were used. It defines 'porneia' as "applied to unlawful sexual inter-

          course generally".

    B.  Thayer's 'Greek-English Lexicon' - "Porneia..illicit sexual intercourse

          in general..all other interpretations..are to be rejected".

    C.  W.E. Vine 'Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words'- a work

          used by many Christadelphians, no doubt including Dawn brothers-

          "In Mt 5:32; 19:9, it stands for, or includes adultery".

 

2. "Deuteronomy 24v1..states that if a man finds, after marriage, that his

    wife is not a virgin, he can annul the marriage". Whatever "some un-

    cleanness" referred to it was certainly not a lack of virginity.If a woman

    was found to have committed harlotry before marriage, she was to be

    put to death, Deuteronomy 22v13-21.Jesus tells us that the provision of

    Deuteronomy 24 allowed for "hardness of heart", which could not have

    have included the finding that his wife had played the harlot! No, the

    "uncleanness"  may have been originally intended  to refer to some

    physical blemish which offended hard-hearted men. It had become

    totally misused by the days of Christ to include "every cause".

 

3. Dawn brothers love to quote Mark,who does not record the"exceptive

    clause". But Mark does not record the "sign of the prophet Jonas",

    which does appear in Matthew. Do they suggest therefore this "sign"

    is not to be accepted? No. It is only where it suits them that they take

    this attitude. The undeniable fact is that Mark is the briefest of the

    Gospel writers, &  does not record many things. Many Bible scholars

    have suggested that the 4 Gospels show the 4 aspects of the Lord.

 

    These are  the King (Matthew) the Servant (Mark) the Man (Luke) and

    the Son of God (John). Because he shows the Servant, Mark there-

    fore does not record any "exceptions" to the ideal of marriage. In a

    similar way, Matthew wrote primarily for Jews, Mark for Romans,

    Luke for Greeks, and John for believers-& they are complementary.

    It is easy to see how the above two suggestions fit in with each other.

    The Gospels are meant to be taken as a whole,in the same way that in

    any incident different observers will describe things in different ways.

    By adding all of the testimonies we can see the whole picture.

 

    Although time does not permit our going into all of the surrounding

    circumstances, the following added comments may be helpful:

    Matthew 19v1-12 and Mark 10v1-12 record events in"the coasts of

    Judaea beyond(by the farther side)of Jordan".This was the territory

    of Herod Antipas, who had divorced his wife, as also Herodias had

    divorced her husband. Herod and Herodias had then "married".

    We cannot here go into the incestuous relationships of the Herods,

    which were well known and documented, & this is another example.

 

    Their unlawful "marriage" had been denounced  by John the Baptist,

    for which he had paid with his life-Matthew 14v1-12,Mark 6v14-30.

    And according to Josephus the historian, John had been imprisoned

    in Machaerus, a combined fortress, palace and prison  north-east of

    the Dead Sea. This was also where he was killed, and so the history

    of this foul deed is clearly linked with the territory of Herod Antipas

    (see map below,with the location of Machaerus)."When Jesus heard

    of it, he departed thence..into a desert place apart" - Matthew 14v13.

 

    Concerning the two divorces & unlawful union, also see  Antiquities,

    Book xviii, ch.v, p.382/3-William Whiston's translation of Josephus-

    Complete Works, 1964 Edition.

 

    In Luke 11v53,54 we read that    "the scribes and the Pharisees began

    ..to provoke him..laying wait for him,and seeking to catch something

    out of his mouth, that they might accuse him",& plotted accordingly.   

    The Pharisees thought they saw a special opportunity to snare Jesus

    by asking Him about divorce in the territory of Herod Antipas. Both

    Matthew 19v3 and Mark 10v2 record that they "came..tempting him"

    -the physical danger was obvious,and some had even come to Jesus,

    warning Him to leave the area,"for Herod will kill thee"-Luke 13v31-

    (cp Matthew 14v1,2 - "At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the

    fame of Jesus.And said unto his servants,This is John the Baptist; he

    is risen from the dead". Jesus referred to Herod as "that fox" and his

    inability to affect the future betrayal at Jerusalem - Luke 13v32,33).

   

    They reasoned that if He endorsed divorce  for "every cause"  they

    could accuse Him of breaking the law.And if He denounced it, they

    could accuse Him to Herod. Jesus set out His teaching regarding

    marriage and divorce, taking them back "to the beginning" - page 1.

    This confounded His enemies. They were no doubt still considering

    His reply when   "in the house the disciples asked him again of the

    same matter" - Mark 10v10.This "matter" concerned the unlawful

    "marriage" of Herod and Herodias,& so it is fitting that Jesus,in His

    reply,stated clearly that such divorces by male and female were not

    according to the will of God,   & any subsequent "marriage" by the

    individuals was adulterous.   Neither divorce cited unfaithfulness

    by the other party.   With this in mind the Lord did not mention the

    'Exceptive Clause' (which He had done earlier in Matthew 19v9 to

    the Pharisees - and earlier still to His disciples* where the special

    circumstances of the two divorces & "marriage" were not in view).    

    *Matthew 5v32

 

    Because of the above background, it makes sense that the disciples

    would question Jesus "in the house" to be safe from the Pharisees.

    Compare a later occasion similar to the above - John 20v19.

    And the Lord did not contradict His earlier words, but underlined

    the situation of Herod and similar adulterous "marriages".

 

    The other occasion  where Jesus used similar words  is recorded in

    Luke 16v18, and this was in the context of the parable of the unjust

    steward in the earlier verses.The Jewish leaders were "writing down"

    their obligations to God,including allowing divorce for"every cause".

    It is no wonder, therefore, that Jesus denounced their unfaithfulness,

    and in such cases divorce & "re-marriage" involved adultery. And it

    appears that this occasion was also in the territory of Herod Antipas.

    Their "writing down" of the law allowed for Herod's disobedience!

    Consider John 10v40, which records that Jesus"went away again be-

    yond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he

    abode". Luke 16v18 followed in this area - the connection with John

    the Baptist is significant. By carefully reading the Gospel accounts,

    with reference also to such aids as 'Guide Book to the Gospels' by

    H.P. Mansfield, our suggested outline of events will become clearer.

    At the bottom of this page we have included a map of the various

    territories, with special reference to that of Herod Antipas.           

 

4. Jesus spoke only of divorce "by the husband" in Matthew 5 because

    the law of Moses was still at that time in operation.  Compare the

    earlier reference to John the Baptist's condemnation of the unlawful

    "marriage" of Herod Antipas and Herodias.  This was a transitional

    time, when the Lord observed all of the law of Moses in its true spirit,

    while preparing His disciples for the new dispensation. This occurred

    when Jesus "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" - Hebrews 9v26

    and also "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the

    bottom" - Matthew 27v51. Paul explains the significance in this way:

    "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the

    blood of Jesus. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated

    for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh" - Hebrews 10v19,20. 

    Since that time, believers must obey the commandments of Christ, as

    an integral part of the "new" covenant - link here to 'law and grace'.  

    Today the "exceptive clause" may be used by both husband and wife,

    for "there is neither male nor female:for ye are all one in Christ Jesus"-

    Galatians 3v28.

 

5. Although the words of Paul in 1st Corinthians 7v12-16 may have been

    in answer to those"already married"to aliens when they were baptised,

    the principle is no doubt applicable to those who have unscripturally

    married aliens afterwards. Paul makes no stipulation that it can only

    apply to the former, & therefore we have no authority to so restrict it.

    He specifically states "If any brother hath a wife that believeth not….

    and the woman which hath an husband that believeth not" v12,13.

 

    If we were to take the Dawn viewpoint, to be consistent "the married"

    (i.e. both in the Truth) would only apply to those already married to

    another before they accept the Truth. By this reasoning Paul's pro-

    hibition of divorce would not apply to those marrying after accepting

    the Truth - see v10,11.("Fornication" is not in view here-but see ch.5).    

    This clearly demonstrates the fallacy of the Dawn argument, which is

    simply an attempt to evade the fact that in both instances they oppose

    any scriptural divorce after acceptance of the Truth - see No.6 below.

 

 6. "he says nothing about divorce". In v12,13 Paul commands that if the

     unbelieving alien wishes to "dwell" with the believer, they should not

     be "put away". If the unbeliever should "depart" v15 this prohibition

     no longer applies.  Also we are told that "a brother or sister is not

     under bondage in such cases". The Greek word 'douloo' translated as

     "under bondage" clearly refers to release from the marriage-bond,a term

     used in English. In fact the root verb 'deo' is used of the marriage-

     bond in this very chapter – v27,39. Note the contrast v27 between being

     "bound" and being "loosed". 'Douloo' is used of freedom from the

     "bondage" of the law in Galatians 4v3. 'Deo' is used in Romans 7v2 -

     again of the marriage-bond. A related word 'douleuo' is used in Romans

     6v6 – "that henceforth we should not serve sin" and 1st Thessalonians

                            1v9 – "to serve the living and true God".

 

     Another related word 'doulos' signifying "a slave" is used by Paul of

     Onesimus when writing to Philemon (v16) where he asked that such

     bondage be dissolved for the "brother beloved". From the above tes-

     timonies and many others it is evident that to be "not under bondage"

     signifies a total release from the marriage-bond. This was almost

     instantaneous in Paul's day when one married partner "depart"(ed).

     The legal ratification and freedom takes a little longer in our day.

 

 7. The Greek word 'chorizo' translated "depart" in v10, 11, 15(2) signifies

     'divorce', and was used by the Greeks of the time with this meaning.

     Cp Moulton & Milligan's'The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament'

     and other authorities.It is also translated "put asunder" in Matthew 19v6

     and Mark 10v9.  After leaving the marital home the wife simply needed

     to have the divorce ratified by the authorities. The husband only had to

     send the wife back to her parents with the dowry. After either of the

     above procedures the marriage was dissolved.

 

     It is significant that whereas Paul commanded "the married" (i.e. both in

     the Truth) not to re-marry(he is not dealing with "fornication")he did not  

     repeat this command when dealing with a dissolved mixed marriage.     

     The reason is obvious. In this case the believer may re-marry.

     But of course it must be "only in the Lord", 1st Corinthians 7v39.

 

8. It is important to factor in the Divine estimation of marriage with aliens.

     In page 3 we consider the divinely-sanctioned divorce of the unbeliever

     Hagar by Abraham at the behest of Sarah, Abraham's godly wife.

     In page 1 we have listed several occasions when such liaisons resulted

     in disasters for the Truth. And after the return from Babylon, Ezra found

     it necessary (with obvious divine sanction) to enforce divorce from alien

     wives - Ezra 9 & 10 cp Nehemiah 13v23-31. It should not therefore be

     any surprise that although under the law of Christ, an opportunity should

     be given for an alien marital partner to live peacefully with a believer,

     when that arrangement is broken by the alien, then divorce is permissible.

 

     So although Deity sometimes changes His laws and ways of operation,

     He is always consistent with His own character & principles-cp Exodus

     34v4-7; Malachi 3v6 etc. And this is also applicable to the 'Exceptive

     Clause'. Under Moses, "fornication" resulted in death. Under Christ, a

     more merciful result is the provision of divorce. But both show the mind

     of God, i.e. that the practice of such evil cannot be tolerated.    

 

 9. An attempt is made by some to deny the 'Pauline Privilege' on the basis

     that Jesus had not earlier stated it as a legitimate reason for divorce.

     This must be rejected for similar reasons to those given in No. 3 above.

     The silence of one Divine spokesperson on any particular subject cannot

     be used to deny the witness of another, because all is revealed in the way

     and the time consistent with the Divine purpose - consider Eccles. 3v1-8.    

 

     It must be obvious to readers of the Scriptures that God's purpose has

     always been progressive, and that He has altered His laws according to

     His pre-determined purpose.   The time came when the salvation which

     had been offered only to Israel - Matthew 10v5-7; 15v24 - was also

     extended to the Gentiles-Acts 13v44-49-also cp Acts 1v6,7 & Rev.1v1.

 

     At that time there was the necessity of a determination concerning the 

     break-down of mixed marriages between believers and non-believers.

     In fact in 1st Corinthians 7 Paul is answering specific questions put to  

     him by believers in Corinth - cp v1 - "now concerning the things 

     whereof ye wrote unto me". These included break-downs of marriage.

 

     Concerning the break-down of a marriage between two believers Paul

     is able to quote the words of the Lord -

                           "I command, yet not I, but the Lord" - v10.

     However,concerning the break-down of a marriage between a believer

     and a non-believer, Paul is unable to quote the words of the Lord  

                    because he had not previously ruled on the subject.

 

     This inescapable fact destroys the case put forward by some,

     i.e. that the Lord's command denied the 'Pauline Privilege'.

 

     And so it became necessary for Paul to give judgment on the matter:

    "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord" - v12. This section in v12-15

     deals with mixed marriages, as will be plain to anyone reading it.

     The scriptural facts have been set out above in Nos. 5 to 7.

 

     Special directions during the time when the Gospel went out to all of the 

     then-known world were not new.A conference had earlier been called to

     combat the Judaizers - Acts 15 - at which time commands were Divinely

     given to deal with the changed circumstances. Why then should we find

     it strange that Paul needed to advise those who were troubled by certain

     new difficulties which arose, among them being mixed marriages?

 

     The Lord had previously stated to the Apostles (to which number Paul

     had been added by Christ Himself) that "the holy spirit..shall teach you

     all things" - John 14v26. And Paul claimed in 1st Corinthians 14v37 -

     "the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord".

     This is in harmony with what the Lord stated in Luke 10v16 to the

     seventy - "He that heareth you heareth me". Also see Matthew 28v18,

     Acts 1v1,8. The complementary work of the Lord and His Apostles

     was prophesied in Daniel 9v24-27 - explained in 'Bible' - page 2.

 

     Some have used an objection - "what of those who would be affected

     by the 'Pauline Privilege' between the time of the Gospels and Paul's

     epistle to the Corinthians?" As noted above, the work was ongoing, &

     we can be certain that any needed advice would have been given.To

     use any such unfounded objections to deny the command of Christ

     through Paul surely cannot be according to the will of God.    

 

     Yes, "all that Jesus began both to do and teach" - Acts 1v1 - was

     completed by His Apostles. If we accept these inspired teachings, and

     so order our lives in accordance with the will of God in Christ,we may

     hope to be part of the great throng of the redeemed-Revelation 5v9,10.

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    TERRITORIES  OF  THE  HERODS  IN  THE  TIME  OF  CHRIST

       (note 'Archaelaus' = 'Archelaus' - Image Credit = www.livius.org)             

     In conjunction with No.3 above, consider this map of the territories of

     the Herods in the time of Christ. Archaelaus had been banished before

     the ministry of Christ & his territory had been made part of the Roman

     province of Syria. Note especially the territory of Herod Antipas, the

     southern portion - "the coasts of Judaea beyond(by the farther side)of

     Jordan" i.e. east of the river, where the above events took place.