Welcome to Midway Church of Christ                                 

Times of Services
Bible Classes
Meet Our Preacher
Meeting Schedule
Daily Bible Verse
History of Midway

Divorce and Remarriage

(Notes from Jerry Moffitt's review of James Bales' Position)

1. Dt. 24: 1-4 is an example of contingency legislation. The first three verses set forth a
contingency situation while verse four entails the necessary legislation to deal with that
contingency. Cp. Ex. 21: 18,19 - This does not give permission for strife or for one to smite
another with a stone. It merely regulated a situation if it occurred. Jesus said Dt
. 24 was
"suffered by God" (Mt. 19:8). You do not suffer a command of God; you suffer violations of
the rules. Gen. 2:24 was always in effect and Dt
. 24 was never intended to replace it. God
suffered the Gentiles to "walk in their own ways" (Acts 14:16). That does not mean that this
was His desire, but for a period of time He "overlooked" it (Acts 17:30).

2. In Mt. 19:8 Jesus showed that Gen. 2:24 was always in effect. "It hath not been so" is in the
perfect tense. "The perfect tense denotes the present state resultant upon a past action" (N.T.
Greek, Machen, p. 187). So the perfect tense denotes action that started in the past, continued
in the past, and came to a completed state, and remained in that state at the present
. He literally
said, "From the beginning it hath not been so
; it continued not so; and at the moment it stands
not so." What is not so? The Jews' interpretation ofDt
. 24, that one could divorce and remarry
as he pleased
. (Their reaction to Jesus' one exception showed that they agree with the Hillel
.) If their interpretation was not the situation, what was the present situation? The
original marriage law. How do we know? Because Jesus had already answered the Jews'
question with it, by quoting Gen. 2:24

3. Vincent's Word Studies: "The A.V. is commonly understood to mean, it was not so in the
But that is not Christ's meaning. The verb is in the perfect tense (denoting the
continuance of past action or its results down to the present). He means: notwithstanding
Moses' permission, the case has not been so from the beginning until now. The original
ordinance has never been abrogated nor superseded, the case has not been so from the
beginning until now
. The original ordinance has never been abrogated nor superseded, but
continues in force" (Vol
. 1, p. 108).

4. A.T. Robertson's Word Pictures in the N.T.: "But from the beginning it hath not been so ... The
present perfect active of ginomai to emphasize the permanence of the divine ideal." (Then
he quotes Vincent's statement above.)

5. Interlinear (translated by Alfred Litt) - ap (but from) arches de (the beginning) ou (not) genonen
(it has been) ountos (so). Notice "it" refers to their interpretation that Moses granted divorce
for every cause. But Jesus says that such an interpretation "not it has been so." He does not say
it as the A.V. has it, "from the beginning it was not so." He rather says that it has not been so
from the beginning
. This helps to bring out the perfect better, which says literally that from the
beginning on it has not been

6. Mt. 19:9 does not restore the original marriage law, for that law was always on the books as the
perfect tense shows. Christ applied the law to a world of death and adultery, making a
concession in the case of adultery. Mt
. 19 is Christ's application of Gen. 2:24. He does not
lower the standard, He merely reaffirmed it
. That law provided for divorce due to fornication.

That is the divine interpretation Jesus placed on Gen. 2:24 in Mt. 19:9. So we see that Gen.
2:24 embraced divorce for fornication in the mind of God. In Rom. 7, we see how the law
should be applied in the case of death. In Mt
. 19, we see how the law should be applied in the
case of fornication.

7. The ideal is what is bound on us. We learn from the Bible that God tolerated many things He did
not approve. He tolerated Balaam going to see Balak, but He did not approve of it (Num.
22:20,22). He even told Balaam to go, but when he went God was angry with him. God did not
want Israel to have a king, but because of their hard hearts He gave them one and brought good
out of it

8. The Levirate marriage law (a dead man's brother was obligated to marry the widow ifthere were
no sons, Dt. 25:5-10) is an exception to the rule of Gen. 2:24. Exceptions do not cancel the
rules. The original law and the Levirate exception existed at the same time, under Moses, but
the exception is not a part of Christ's teaching, although the law set forth in Gen. 2:24 is taught
by Christ

9. Moses pronounced God's legislation on marriage (Gen. 2:24). That law predated the Jewish
nation and was for the whole world (proved by Jesus' use of it, Mt. 19). It did not give the
exceptions for remarriage (death or fornication of companion), but Jesus gave these
applications which were true from the beginning.

10.  The rules in Dt. 24: 1-4 are special for the situation that existed in Israel, which Jesus said was
because of hardness of heart. Whether the "uncleanness" was adultery or something else has
been debated for years. If the put away wife married another man, she could not re-marry the
first man who put her away - even if the second husband died. That does not seem to fit the
teaching of Paul in Rom. 7:1-4 and 1 Cor. 7:39. If the marriage rule in Dt. 24 applies today,
why not the rule in Dt. 25 :5-10?

                       Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014    This page last modified July 03, 2014