The Precepts Of God’s Servant
"Marriage and Divorce"
Book of Mark Chapter 10:1-16
When The Lord Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, Our Father in Heaven had warned the disciples to listen to the Words of Jesus.
And we know the Word of God will never contradict itself!
Also in our last lesson Jesus confirmed, at least in my mind, that the "Burning Lake of Fire", and Hell are real places.
Eternal torment in a place where the fire is never quenched and eternal damnation means it is a never ending thing.
If we are to believe Jesus, and we are commanded to do so, Jesus will now speak to us on another touchy subject, marriage and divorce.
*****Mar 10:1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
We should ask ourselves, "why are we so slow to accept the truth"?
Jesus left Capernaum and the home of Andrew and Peter for the last time and He was committed to be in Jerusalem at His appointed time but He would still take the time to teach and show His mercy.
Matthew wrote that Jesus departed from Galilee and had a great following:
Mat 19:1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
Mat 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
Luke wrote that Jesus passed through Samaria as he left Galilee.
John wrote that Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews.
Joh 11:54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
Many months had passed while Jesus taught around and about Galilee but not many weeks are left between this time and the appointed time of the cross.
Jesus would begin his last journey to Jerusalem.
In the places He stopped, Jesus had to reteach many of the things He had previously taught and as He taught, the religious world tried their best to hinder the Word of God, as they still do today.
*****Mar 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?
This seems to be a simple enough question so why does our scripture say "tempting Him"?
In other words, that word "lawful" meant, what are the obstacles or barriers in the Word of God that would prevent a divorce!
During this time period in Israel there were two thoughts on divorce which came from two opposing rabbis.
Each one interpreted the Word of God differently!
One said divorce should be approved for any reason.
The other said that divorce should almost never be granted.
So, is it lawful, in the eyes of God, to get a divorce or not?
We must first realize that the family is a Divine institution!
We are never to look upon the family as a chance arrangement!
The family was the first thing ordained by Our Creator, even before the Church, and even before the Laws of Moses to the Jews!
So Jesus ask these Pharisees what had Moses commanded.
*****Mar 10:3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
So what had Moses written?
Deu 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
Deu 24:2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
Deu 24:3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
Deu 24:4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
What was the intent of Moses with these words?
Divorce was just as common in the days of Moses as it is in our day and it was the same in this day of these Pharisees.
They used Deu 24:1 as their authorization for divorce.
They were "twisting" God’s Word to change the intent of God’s Word!
And we should believe that Jesus was not condemning anyone as He confronted these Pharisees.
These were supposed religious men and it would have been better for them to have asked "how can we preserve our marriages" but they did not ask this.
Beginning a marriage for the right reasons was not so important to them!
How was a marriage to take place in the eyes of God?
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
God said we must love our future wife enough to leave our family behind for her!
To understand these times better, we should not forget that John the Baptist had lost his life because he took a stand on marriage and divorce.
First law of God for a marriage: A marriage, in the eyes of God, was never to be for convenience between two parties.
A marriage was to be between a man and a woman who loved each other enough to begin there own family by the Word of God!
Second law of God for a marriage: After a marriage, there is not to be a man with his rights, desires or needs, nor a woman with her rights, desires, and needs.
But submitting to each other in the fear of God!
Third law of God for a marriage: After marriage there was to be one family made up of two parts!
The man as the head of the family, by God’s Word, and the woman as the heart of the family by God’s Word.
Death of a marriage or divorce could only come if either of these three things failed.
The fourth law of marriage: There can be no question, but that the married state, from the beginning of Creation, was intended as a beautiful representation of the union between Christ and His Church!
Eph 5:21 "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God".
Eph 5:22 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord".
Eph 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife", even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, "so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing".
Eph 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives", even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 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.
Eph 5:28 "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself".
We can be sure that Jesus Christ will never divorce His church, The Bride of Christ!
So what was the interpretation by these Pharisees?
*****Mar 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
FIRST: Moses did not give a command for anyone to divorce their wives!
God will never go against His own word!
SECOND: Moses allowed the divorce to protect the other party.
There will always be consequences in every divorce!
In the Jewish way for a marriage of that day, a man would make a choice of a woman. He would then obtain the consent of her parents. He would then take her to his own home and consummate the marriage. If he then had no delight in her, nor pleasure and therefore no affection for her and could not bear the sight of her, then he wanted the option for divorce and divorce was permitted because of his bad heart toward her.
They used the law of Moses to get that divorce!
If that man could not bear to live with his wife any longer, then that man had to give that woman a "bill of divorcement" which certified that it was not she that had caused any problem, and she was divorced and free to marry again.
She was no longer a virgin and considered defiled to most other men.
This was not any law of Moses nor any law of God but only permission because of the hardness of these men’s hearts.
It is easy to see where men could abuse this arrangement and they did!
A wife could be obtained in many other ways than this in those days, but there was to be only one way to dismiss a wife and it was by a "bill of divorcement".
This "bill of divorcement" was to protect that wife from an angry husband who would otherwise just kick her out the door with no resolution to her situation.
So Jesus responded:
*****Mar 10:5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
Why had Moses written this down for them?
1) 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2) "Hardness of the heart", is being blind to the "intent" of the Word of God!
Compare these words:
Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; "that blindness in part is happened to Israel", until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
2Co 3:14 "But their minds were blinded": for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
2Co 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
Hardness of the heart is then not receiving the Word of God the way it was intended!
Sadly, these Pharisees had no intention of changing their ways!
Joh 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
Joh 12:40 "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart"; that they should not see with their eyes, nor "understand with their heart", and be converted, and I should heal them".
Jesus knew all this was true so He explained to all those listening the true intent of the marriage from the Word of God.
*****Mar 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
It is very important for us to understand these words of Jesus for more than one reason.
1) Jesus quotes from the Genesis account of creation.
God had made Adam and Eve right at the beginning!
Not some millions and certainly not some 4.5 billion of years after the beginning as the evolutionist teach of the beginning of mankind.
There is absolutely no room in scripture for any such thing as "Geological Ages"!
Christians who compromise on this issue, for the sake of scientist falsely called, are undermining God’s Word!
We can see that Jesus Christ accepted the creation record in the Book of Genesis just as it was written!
2) Marriage and family are the most important of all human institutions!
We should make every effort in picking a wife we can live with forever.
From the Book of Ruth we have these words:
Ruth 1:16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Roth 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
These are some similar feelings we should have for that special spouse that we accept into our lives!
And Jesus continues to quote from the Book of Genesis.
*****Mar 10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
Mar 10:8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
Too many critics of the Word of God imply that the first two chapters of Genesis are two separate accounts of creation and contradict each other but Jesus does not say that!
What did Jesus say?
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Jesus Christ uses both of these verses in the same sentence!
We can also believe that there is no gap between these two chapters as some try to use a"gap theory" in order to say that God used evolution in creation. All lies!
There should be no doubt that the original intent of God was for one man to have just one woman as wife throughout his entire life time!
That binding to that wife should be more closer and more stronger than that to the father or mother!
That union was to be so close that nothing could separate or break that bond!
That these two, with mutual feelings toward each other, should be united as though they were just one being!
Jesus says when the selection of a wife is made under these guidelines, then it is only God that should be able to break this bond!
*****Mar 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
To know the Lord Jesus Christ is to have eternal life:
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Why would we ever think that while we are living for the Lord, that God would place turmoil in our lives.
If we have followed the guidelines for choosing a wife, someone that is second only to Jesus Christ in our lives, then why would we not be subject to God’s Law?
A marriage must be a mutual contract between two people who have placed The Lord first, and then and only then, placed each other above all others including each one’s family.
This mutual agreement to wed, must come above the rights of each individual or Satan will begin to tear this marriage down:
1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
1Co 7:5 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.
This marriage must be based on affection and not lust!
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (also death of the marriage)
To avoid lust and have affection we must base that love on the things of God!
Col 3:2 "Set your affection on things above", not on things on the earth.
Love is then the marriage of affections!
There can be only one heart between the two bodies!
In a godly marriage there must be a mutual promise to live together "faithfully and according to the Word of God"!
Marriage must be a solemn moment when two immortal beings are traveling together through the storms of this life with the help of God!
Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23 And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh": she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
It is the creation account in the Book of Genesis that must be the foundation of all marriages!
A marriage is between one man and one woman and should be a life long commitment and it is only under these conditions that God will bless this marriage!
Gen 1:28 "And God blessed them", and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
We know that some of the disciples were married so they still had some questions.
*****Mar 10:10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
Mar 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
According to Matthew, Jesus said it this way.
Mat 19:9 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.
The Pharisees had twisted the Word of God given to Moses around to make it sound like God had given permission for easy divorce but that had never been the intent of this law!
In the days of Moses, men would just kick a wife out of the house where they would be mocked and ridiculed and left to take care of themselves, being shunned from society.
The bill of divorcement was issued for the protection of the woman. The bill of divorcement not only allowed the woman to remarry but in most cases her needs had to be provided for her remaining days by that husband who had used any excuse to get rid of her.
So then a "bill of divorcement" was intended as a deterrent to divorce rather than to make divorce an easy thing!
The Greek word "pornea" is used for the English word "fornication" in this verse from Matthew.
"Pornea" does not only mean fornication, but also harlotry, adultery, and spiritually idolatry.
"Fornication" in every form was condemned by the Laws of Moses!
"Fornication" then, was not only forsaking the marriage vows but was also forsaking the Word of God!
This is why fornication was considered grounds for divorce!
BUT, on the other hand Jesus did not allow this exception in the Book of Luke when He was teaching the disciples about "things of the heart".
Luk 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
We can only conclude that, though fornication was grounds for divorce and remarriage, it is sometimes still better to salvage the marriage, if there is heartfelt repentance followed by heartfelt forgiveness!
1Co 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
The Apostle Paul added these words.
1Co 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
1Co 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
1Co 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
1Co 7:14 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.
1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
We should never think that God expects His children to stay in an abusive marriage an live in misery!
God does not expect a godly man to remain married to an ungodly woman if they are unable to do so and the same for the godly woman with an ungodly man, when they are unable to do so.
God does not expect anyone to stay in an abusive situation!
But God will never intend for divorce to be easy and "there will always be consequences"!
But also with a godly divorce there is always permission to remarry and in some cases it is best to remarry!
1Co 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
1Co 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
1Co 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
1Co 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: "for it is better to marry than to burn".
Burn in this verse is "burn with lust", which in itself is a great sin!
Lustful eyes have already committed "fornication" without performing the act itself!
There are no commandments to remarry or not to remarry!
But if there is a new marriage, God says to marry a believer and then His same laws will apply to the new marriage that were given in the Creation record!
1Co 7:39 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".
What was the reaction by the disciples to these things that Jesus was saying?
Mat 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
A man must be willing to commit to the Word of God!
Marriage must be a lifelong commitment for it to be a joyful experience!
In our world today, divorce is so rampant that most people just shack up or just live with each other, unmarried, refusing to make a commitment but that is not the way of God!
Pro 23:17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: "but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long".
Pro 23:18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Pro 23:19 "Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way".
By this time of Jesus, there were some women who had risen to great authority in the Hebrew society and along with that, some of them would also kick the man out of the house, also for lack of any real reason.
*****Mar 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Jesus said the woman would then be held under the same standards as the man was held!
God does not expect His children to live in misery but God does expect us to be very careful when we are choosing a helpmate because it should be for life!
After all, we are the "Bride of Christ" and The Lord Jesus will never divorce His Bride!
Rev 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
The "Bride of Christ" will make it to Heaven to spend eternity with her Husband!
*****Mar 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
Now we can believe that it was just an accident that the topic in this chapter goes from marriage and divorce to children but that cannot be true.
It is a fact that children are involved when it comes to marriage and divorce and those parents have an obligation not only to those children but also to God in behalf of those children.
The family is extremely important in the eyes of God.
If the marriage is blessed, the children will also be blessed.
These children were brought to Jesus for His blessing and prayers and we should notice there is no mention of baptism or salvation.
Luke said these were just children who wanted to see Jesus:
Luk 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
This is why the disciples were rebuked by the Lord and another great lesson for them to learn.
Little children can never be looked on as a disturbance in the eyes of God and Jesus forbade His disciples to stop the children from coming to Him.
*****Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Mar 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
God will never goes against His own will or His own Word!
We are duty bound as parents to bring our children to Christ, also a commandment!
And, Jesus is always watching to see what His disciples are doing!
We displease the Lord Jesus in many of the things we do, especially when it comes to our children!
There is no such thing as an innocent child, but children do provide a picture of innocence.
Small children are usually, teachable, humble, free from prejudice, and obstinate!
Children are never to be discouraged from seeking Christ but should be encouraged at every age!
The disciples had forbidden these parents from bringing their children.
These disciples had already forgotten that the family must be protected at all cost!
Jesus had just been teaching that divorce is the terrible destroyer of children because divorce separates the parents of children in a negative way!
We must all, like babes, approach Jesus with simplicity, sincerity, and eagerness.
This is how a child goes about the things they do daily!
So, those mothers were not sent away empty.
*****Mar 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
One after another the Lord Jesus took each child up into His arms, placing His hands on them and blessed each and every child that came.
Every child, before the age of accountability, are incapable of moral obligation and are there therefore innocent.
Small children are free from personal guilt and have a free conscience.
They are not and cannot be saved because they have nothing to be saved from, that they know about!
Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Until children reach this point in their lives they are all innocent in the eyes of God.
Every child that dies before they reach the age of accountability will go straight to the arms of Jesus.
This includes those that never reach that mental state and live to be adults!
So as we teach children we must teach the simplicity of Jesus Christ!
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Satan is subtle, but Jesus Christ is simple!
We must not ever make the "Gospel" complex for children!
Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ can be understood at any age!
And we must all come to the Lord Jesus Christ the same way that a child does!
Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Righteousness.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Servant to Our Father in Heaven.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Substitute.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Surety.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Savior of the guilty.
There is nothing here that cannot be understood at any age!
Jesus Christ came into this world as a Babe, to save babes!
We can only be complete in Jesus!