Divorce and Remarriage part 2

July 29, 2017

Matthew 19:3-9

3 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?

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female,

5 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?

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

8 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.

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 first thing I notice in these verses is "The Pharisees also came unto him tempting him." They wanted to trap Jesus. They were always looking for a way to turn the people against Him. If they can get Jesus to say that most of the remarried people of the day are living in sin they can turn the crowd against Him. Or if they could get Him to go against the law of Moses and say divorce was ok "for every cause" they could get Him that way also.

            Notice the Pharisees asked "for every cause?" They knew there were a few exceptions and a few reasons that divorce was allowed. They wanted to get Jesus to come down on one extreme or the other. He takes them back to the beginning, back to the principle of first things. The first couple, the first marriage, the original design. He reminds them that a married couple is to be one flesh! God has joined them and let no man separate them.

            Jesus states that it was for the hardness of their hearts that divorce was allowed. And so it is even today. If I am an unsaved person married to a Christian and I was insisting on leaving my spouse, it is the hardness and sinfulness of my heart that would force that marriage to end in a divorce. In the culture of their day, divorce was practiced for every cause. Historian's writings from that time inform us that a wife could be divorced for spinning in the streets so that her robe would fly above her ankles! Burning the food was a reason for divorce, as was talking about her husband's mother in a negative way. If she were to talk loud enough in her house to her husband that the neighbors could hear, he could divorce her. No wonder the Pharisees asked "for any cause?"

            Deuteronomy states that divorce and remarriage could be for an indecency. Jesus here takes it the next level and specifies the specific indecency so as to not leave it open for the Pharisee's interpretation.  Deuteronomy also states that when a man got a divorce and went and married another he could not come back to the former spouse if the second one did not work out. This was a great way to cut down on men jumping from woman to woman. Once you had closed the door behind you it was closed. It also guaranteed that if the woman they left was remarried, the husband could not come back and break up her new marriage.

            Here in verse 9 we have the Biblical New Testament indecency described.

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.


            I would first like to address the idea that this is somehow talking about the engagement period.  If you read this account in all three gospels, it is clear that Jesus is talking about marriage. Two people actually being married. If it was about an engagement period then why would Jesus say an engaged person could never marry again when they were never married and the marriage hadn't even been consummated? The text gives us no indication of this referring to an engagement period.


            It is true that Joseph was going to divorce Mary and in the Jewish culture an engagement was as much of an obligation as a marriage. But Jesus is clearly talking about marriage here. The Pharisees trying to trap Him on this issue asked about divorce for any cause.


            The use of the word fornication is one thing many use to say it was talking about an engagement period since fornication specifically references sexual realations before marriage. But the word here is "porneia" in the Greek. It means illicit sexual intercourse, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism or intercourse with animals.

It is used in the Bible for all of these things. So the idea that fornication in this case means unfaithfulness before marriage (during the engagement period) is totally not supported by the text. It rather means any sexual act and that that act breaks the marriage covenant.  Clearly we are talking about two married people, not engaged people, else why would remarriage be forbidden, except for this cause?


            If you take these verses as a unit you see simply that Jesus is stating that divorce and remarriage for any reason other than "porneia" is wrong and sin! Jesus does not give an obligation to divorce but an option to divorce and remarry. We notice also that Jesus assumes that divorce and remarriage go together. Notice how Jesus orders His words in the verse:


Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery:


            See it? The phrase "and shall marry another" is a clear indication that Jesus assumes a person divorced for the right cause can and most likely will remarry. The second part of the verse says:


and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.


 This is simply stating that if you marry somebody who was not divorced for a Biblical cause (sexual immorality in this case) then you are living in adultery with her. For a Christian to divorce and remarry for any cause other than what Jesus and the Apostle Paul teaches, is to commit adultery on a daily level!  If you instead draw your final conclusion from the last part of the verse only, by saying,  "It doesn't matter, remarriage for any reason, no matter the cause, is wrong, then you have caused some major contradictions in this passage and 1 Corinthians 7. Scripture does not contradict Scripture.


            This all became very clear to me as I was studying this and I realized the clear interpretation of scripture was the accurate one. The passages become cloudy and unclear when we try to work around  these scriptures by inserting an engagement explanation ( based on the word fornication)  which we do not see in the text anywhere . The burden of proof lies not with the people simply taking Jesus' words for what they say, but with the people who would read their own traditions into Jesus' words.



            You see we have two issues.  You will often find in an unrepentant, adulterous situation, that the unrepentant partner is not saved. This takes us to 1 Corinthians 7: 12-16 where we learned that if there is an unbelieving partner and they want to depart, let them depart and you are not bound! 


            Now if we take Jesus' words here and put them with Paul's words, we get a complete picture. In most cases, the only two Biblical exceptions for divorce and remarriage are both fulfilled. If you have an unrepentant adulterer, you also most likely have an unconverted person who wants to leave the marriage!


            To try to separate Jesus' words from each other and say that He allowed divorce but not remarriage, is to do great harm to scripture and ignore Paul's words. The first part of verse 32 is connected to the last and the last to the first. "But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." 


            "Saving for the cause of fornication" applies to which part of the verse? Just the putting away? Or to the putting away and the re-marrying? To be fair with the passage and in harmony with Paul's words it must apply to both.  


            As I already mentioned, the writing of a divorce was for the hardness of their hearts but God still allowed it and I believe Scripture teaches there are only two reasons it is still allowed today.


            We should read the New Testament verses contextually (taking into account the time in which they were written and how the people then would have understood them). Instead, we often read these verses and impose our  own culture and tradition upon them. However, if we are honest with what we really see in these verses we will see that any divorce and remarriage that would take place in the church today should only take place for the reasons we just studied. Ultimately it is the  same reason today as in the Old Testament (the hardness and sinfulness of men's heart).


Menno Simmons said this on this matter:


"These two, one husband and one wife, are one flesh and cannot be separated from each other to marry again, otherwise than for adultery, as the Lord says, Matt. 5:19."


            The Dutch Anabaptist also have in their confession a statement similar to this where they allowed divorce and remarriage for the two Biblical reasons I have outlined.


            The Mennonites / Anabaptists used to teach and believe these verses just like I have explained them today. It is my opinion that over the years tradition has taken over. Many doctrines are now rooted, not in good Biblical exegesis, but with man's view interposed on scripture. The scripture, when not interpreted contextually, will lead you to many problems.


 My prayer for each of you, is that of the apostle Paul:


 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1st Corinthians 2:2


And on Judgment day may we all be found like this:


And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:


Philippians 3:9


In Christ,

Lyndon Bechtel


Divorce and Remarriage Part 1

July 29, 2017

 I have discovered while studying this subject that this is a very complex issue. It is very hard to study God's Word free of our pre-suppositions.  And often times I find myself wondering at what appears to be contradictions in God's Word. Let me give you an example:


             Romans 4:1-4  What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

For what saith the script...

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Why I Left the Mennonite Church Part 3

January 28, 2016

The broad road and narrow road in Mathew is not talking about non-believers and Christians but rather Christians and false converts. People who claim to be Christians but have never experienced salvation. These are the deceived the Judas’s of this world. The Bible says a true Christian’s life will have sin but it will be characterized by a hatred of that sin and a constant striving for victory. If you see a person who does not strive for victory and it appears that they may not have the H...

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Why I left the Mennonite Church Part 2

January 28, 2016

Eternal Security

If you grew up Mennonite you most likely believed that your salvation could be lost any time you sinned. From that view some have matured as I had to the idea that Christ doesn’t cut us off every time we sin because it is His righteousness imputed to us, but rather if we embark on a life of continual sin we will lose our salvation. I have since moved past that view to understanding Scripture in its entirety that a Christian is sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of rede...

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Why I left the Mennonite Church Part 1

January 28, 2016

Why I left the Mennonite Church

Church Leadership

In my studies I have come to understand that the method of Church leadership as implemented in the Mennonite church is unbiblical and not like the New Testament church at all.  I do not believe in the control grid were bishops have more power or authority than local ministers. I do believe this is serious as the Bible teaches that each church is to be autonomous and self-governing. The idea that a bishop could influence or make dec...

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October 3, 2015




"20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25 Who was delivered ...

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Eisegeses Vs Exegesis

September 18, 2015

Eisegesis vs Exegesis.



                My journey of coming to understand God's Word more fully has not been a easy one. It has taken much time and the truth is we all are hindered to one degree or another by the things we have been taught. Much I was taught was good and I am so thankful for it. But in all of our lives there are always those blind spots created by a view or wrong interpretation of scripture we have grown up with. In my case it took years to fully understand...

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Elders, Bishops and Pastors: One Office or Three?

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Elders, Bishops and Pastors: One Office or Three?

Acts 20:17-30

If you were to meet some young white-shirted mormons one day you would notice that on their name tag along with their name it will also say Elder. If you asked them about the "Elder so-and-so" name tags they are wearing you might say "How can you, both be eighteen years old and be called 'elders'? Also, the Bible says that elders have to be married." Their response may be something like this: "Yes, what you say is true, but you hav...

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March 29, 2015

Today In Prophecy

It seems we read about Israel a lot lately. Benjamin Netanyahu the prime minister of Israel recently visited the United States and gave a speech to a joint session of Congress. A senator from Kentucky bashed the speech and the next day His state was hit by a huge snow storm that stranded hundreds on the highway and put thousands out of power. There is clearly a spiritual battle going on were Israel is concerned.

The temple Institute has announced the completion of an altar of ...

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Rob bell says "The church" Is only moments away form accepting "Gay Marriage"

March 2, 2015

the following was excerpted from (Friday Church News Notes, February 20, 2015, 
www.wayoflife.org,and posted on manifestedbythelight.com

 - Rob Bell, former pastor of the emerging Mars Hill Bible Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, said recently about “gay marriage” that “we think it’s inevitable and we are moments away from the church accepting it” (“Former Megachurch Pastor Rob Bell,” 
Christian Po...
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