What Are the Grounds for Divorce?

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The first part of the chapter is about instructions on divorce and remarriage. What I want everybody to do is, as we read these different stories and parables, keep in mind that there is a spiritual application that is primary. Even though you should not divorce your wife, that’s a way of telling you that you shouldn’t have anything between you and God. That’s all marriage is. Paul says in: Ephesians 5:31-32 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. Keep that in mind. Matthew 19:1-3 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; And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. 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? Why did they pick that subject to ask him about? Because they knew their Bible; they knew what the law said. The truth is that the law of Moses, the Bible that they had at that time said, yes, get rid of her. Deut 21:14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her. No one in the Christian church is aware of what the contrast is between the law of Moses and the covenant that Jesus Christ came with and it is a world of difference, the difference between a righteous man and an unrighteous man (1 Timothy 1:9). Deut 24:1-2 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. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. If her husband lets her go. Now you notice there is no writing anywhere about women doing that because women had no rights, except they were entitled to a bill of divorcement if their husband decided that they he wanted to give it to her. If he decided he wanted to keep her, she could not complain. It was not provided for. The difference between the new covenant and the old is the difference between day and night. Women are equal with men now when it comes to that sort of thing. They don’t have to tolerate it.

Matthew 19:4-6 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 said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Here’s Christ’s answer to what Moses says:

Matthew 19:6b What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. He’s talking directly to the law of Moses. The Pharisees were trying to make Christ live by the law of Moses. Christ didn’t do that, he goes back to Genesis, way before the law of Moses was given. The Bible says:

Romans 5:13-14 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. There was no law before Moses. Christ goes back to that period (before Moses)??to make his point.

Matthew 19:7-8 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. Why doesn’t that apply to you and me? Why is the law of Moses not for a righteous man? Because you should not have a hard heart that doesn’t want to do what Jesus Christ would do. If you don’t have a heart that wants to do what Jesus Christ did, then you have a hard heart and you need the law of Moses and it is what you are born with, you are born with a hard heart.

Matthew 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. What has Christ said? My father, believed that this verse, along with Romans 7:1, for that reason, he refused to marry after his divorce from my mother. Lived his life alone to this day. The truth is that Christ did not say you can never remarry unless your wife commits adultery or your husband commits adultery. He said except for ‘fornication.’

When you look into that word fornication, you are going to find out that it has more to do with spiritually forsaking your spouse, than it has to do with physically forsaking your spouse. The word is fornication, not adultery. This is all in the paper on the law. The vast majority of the time that word is used, it is used in reference to Israel, as a nation, committing fornication against God, by doing the things they agreed not to do when they entered into the marriage relationship with him. Yet they stayed right in the land and they claimed that God was their husband.

Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. They were so used to the idea of, well, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just get another one, that they thought it’s better to just not take the chance. That was their reaction and that’s the reason they had that reaction.

Matthew 19:11-12 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. What does that mean? He that can’t, don’t worry about that either. Paul says the same thing when he says ‘I would that all men were as me.’ Paul was, as this says, a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.

Matthew 19:13-15 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. The earlier you can start teaching your child about these things, the better off they are. Don’t leave your children out when you are doing your Bible study. Bring them into it and make them part of it.

Matthew 19:15-17 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Which commandment is Christ talking about?

Matthew 19:18-19 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. What Christ did was to quote the old covenant, the law of Moses. If we are going to enter into life, we have to go through the law of Moses. It is what brings people to Christ. The law is the schoolmaster.

Matthew 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. The word perfect is mature, complete. In Luke (or Mark) it says ‘one thing you lack.’ In other words, you are not complete. In the other gospel it says, ‘take up your cross and follow me and you shall have treasure in heaven.’

Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. What kind of possessions? His possessions were of this world. Was Christ telling this man to sell everything, forget your wife and kids and hit the road? No, he wasn’t saying that. He was saying get rid of whatever comes between you and me. That’s all he was saying.

Matthew 19:23-24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. This is not talking about some stone over there that a camel has to get down on his knees to go through. I don’t care what tradition says. This is talking about a camel going through the eye of a needle. In other words, it is impossible, it cannot be done. You cannot serve two masters. If you have great riches, you don’t have time for the things of the spirit.

Matthew 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? Why would they say that? If rich people can’t be saved, then who can. Because that’s what the law of Moses taught them. If you obey my commandments, you will be blessed in the city, you will be blessed in the country, the fruit of your field will be blessed, everything that you touch will be blessed, physically. It had nothing to do with eternal life and the things of the spirit. The law of Moses is not for a righteous man, it is for the lawless and disobedient.

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. God can save even a rich man. When He does, that rich man’s money won’t mean a thing to him. He will not have the reverence for it that he had before.

Matthew 19:27-28 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. I used to wonder about that word ‘regeneration.’ I thought that it meant, at the resurrection when we get our new spiritual bodies (it certainly has to do with that), but what I did not understand was that the regeneration and the 'sitting with Christ in heavenly places' is actually something we experience right now. ‘Now are we the sons of God.’ (1 John 3:2) We are already seated with Christ in heavenly places only in downpayment form. If you think like Christ, if you have the mind of Christ, then you are sitting with Christ at the right hand of His Father, in spirit, right now.

Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. In another gospel it says, 'shall receive an hundredfold in this life and in the age to come' (life eonian). That’s just enough to lead you to believe this is speaking physically, but it’s not. ‘The words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit.’ There’s no exception to that, John 6:63. You cannot forsake houses and wives and lands, etc. and cling to them at the same time. Let’s see what he means by that (Matthew 19:29). Let’s go back to:

Matthew 12:46-50 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. This is everything to Christ. His service to His Father for the sake of His elect was all that mattered. He was sold out to God. Then the chapter closes like this:

Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. The word 'many' in this case, means ‘all.’ Everyone that is first, the first Adam, will always be last and the last Adam, Jesus Christ, will be first. We have the example of Ishmael, Esau, King Saul vs. David, Leah vs. Rachel, all the way through the Bible. Physical Israel vs. spiritual Israel.