Divorce and Remarriage
(Notes from Jerry Moffitt's review
of James Bales' Position)
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
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
by God" (Mt.
19:8). You do not suffer a command of God; you suffer violations
the rules. Gen. 2:24 was always in effect and Dt. 24 was
never intended to replace it.
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
in the past, and came to a completed state, and remained in that state at the
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?
original marriage law. How do we know? Because Jesus had already answered the
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
beginning. 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:
Moses' permission, the case has not been so from the beginning until now. The
ordinance has never been abrogated nor superseded, the case has not been so from
beginning until now.
The original ordinance has never
been abrogated nor superseded, but
continues in force" (Vol.
4. A.T. Robertson's Word Pictures
in the N.T.: "But from the beginning it hath not been so ...
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
(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.
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,
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
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
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
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
applications which were true from the beginning.
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
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
why not the rule in Dt. 25 :5-10?