Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an "Except For Clause in getting out of a Covenant?"
Answer. . . "NO!"
Matthew 19: 9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication ( greek Porneia) and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery (greek Moicheia)."
This 'except for clause' only comes under discussion when people desiring to do their own thing go looking for a loop hole in the law, and they think they have found it, but they haven't it's a lie!
Divorce doesn't make you single it only breaks the intimacy you have with one another, death of your covenant spouse is the only thing that sets you free to marry again.
Erasmus, a humanist, and close friend of King Henry VIII in the 14 century was one of the those who actually changed the meaning of this scripture to please King Henry. Erasmus was the first to translate the Greek New Testament into English.
Since Erasmus distorted the meaning of the word 'fornication' in this scripture. A fornicator discribes someone who is not fit (or pure in heart) to enter into a life long covenant of marriage; others have also added their own ideas as to the meaning of this scripture over the years.
Martin Luther who we hold in high regard today in some areas of his teachings, held the view that 'failure of a wife to perform normal conjugal responsiblity' was also grounds for divorce. He also spoke against the Jews which wasn't very wise of him or anyone who speaks against the apple of God's eye. God divorced Israel because of her wicked and sexual immoral life style, but He didn't break His covenant with her. Israel's intimacy with God was broken, but that intimacy with Him is still redeemable upon repentance due to a broken and contrite heart.
John Milton (1608-1674) - gave 'impotence' as grounds for divorce.
Phillip Melanchthon (1497-1560) - his view was a marriage covenant was 'broken by the adulterer, and not by the innocent party', therefore the innocent party was free to marry again. This view is very popular today.
Huldreich Zwingli (1484-153100) - said other more trecherous things such as 'murder, treason and sorcery' were also grounds for divorce.
Even today godly men and women erroniously add their own views to this scripture thinking they have freedom to do so.
There is no 'exception clause' once a 'Covenant' has been entered into, the 'except for clause' was used only during the legal betrothal period. It was used to prevent a person who had hardened their heart towards God's way of doing things from entering into what God called holy. God wanted marriage to be honoured by all, the bed undefiled.
All Jews knew divorce was allowed by Moses only during the legal Jewish betrothal period and only after it was made known that their bride was defiled. She became sexually active with someone else during this time. She would not have been stoned because she didn't commit adultery. Even Jesus said it was ok to divorce then, fornication is what Jesus was discussing with the Pharisees. This divorce would be justified by the innocent party because the marriage had not been consumated yet so there was no breaking of a covenant. But seeing that betrothals were legaly contracts, a legal divorce was required to get out of this legal contract. The Jews called it a "Get"
*This information can be understood in more depth in Dr. Joseph Webs book called:
" Divorce and Remarriage ": The Trojan Horse Within the Church"
Question # 2:
What is the true meaning of the word Porneia:
This Greek word 'Porneia' refers to any and all sexual activity outside of the marriage bed. God created sex for the marriage bed only, and said this sexual activity was sacred and holy unto Him. Any sexual activity outside of what God intended for marriage is called Porneia, and not allowed.
Porneia is engaged in by humans working against God's design and desire for sex. An example of this is a 'homosexual' or 'lesbian' relationships, 'incest', 'pedophilia', 'harlotry', 'common-law', and even sexual relations with animals, called 'beastiality'. These are all sinful and emotionally dysfunctional relationships!
A marriage covenant is made only when it is witnessed by God as acceptable in His eyes, as 'one man who was free to marry and one woman who was free to marry'. God is the only one with the power to join this man and woman together as one flesh. God does this in front of witnesses who are gathered to view this sacred union. He then commands that no man separate them. Pastors or lawyers do not have the right or authority to mess with this sacred union. God will chasten His own and bring them back into right standing with Him.
Porneia type relationships were practiced by pagans long before and after Jesus time, and were even practiced by some Jews which the Pharisees were condemning because they knew it was wrong. That's what Jesus was discussing with the Pharisees in Matthew 19:9, they all knew and understood Jesus was refering to the divorce practice that was going on during the betrothal period was good and just because husbands and wives were to come together in the marriage bed undefiled. Luke didn't need to mentioned this when speaking to the Romans because 'betrothals' were not part of their marital customs.
Question # 3:
What is a Betrothal Period? : A betrothal is like an 'engagment' period. A the time when a Jewish man, after making an arangement with the father and paying him the 'bride price', made public his intentions to marry a particular woman, by entering into a legal contractual engagement with this chosen woman to show the world he was serious about his intentions. This betrothed couple were then refered to as husband and wife from then on, even before the marriage was consumated and made holy unto God in a very special covenant ceremoney! Papers were signed making their betrothal a legal binding 'contract'. Therefore a legal certificate of divorce known as a 'Get' would be require if the husband wanted out of this promise he made in public, to marry her. He was allowed to divorce her only after having proof his bride wouldn't come to him pure, and spotless on their wedding night. He would be considered a just man by refusing to enter into a permanent life long covenant relationship with such a woman; as would Joseph be consided a just man as he planned on divorcing Mary quietly after he found his betrothed wife pregnant with, he thought, another man's child. He knew virgin blood would not be found on the ceremonial marriage cloth that was to be shown to the Sanhedren as proof of her virginity. He didn't want her humiliated so planned on putting her away quietly out of respect for her, but God showed Joseph in a dream that Mary was not defiled, the child she was caring was their long awaited Messiah, a Son begotten of God not man. Joseph was actually given the privilage of becoming Yeshua's earthly father. This child born to become their Saviour and ours.
When virgin blood was found on the marriage cloth it was proof a blood covenant had now been entered into. With no hymen to tear, no blood would be spilt and no covenant would be made. The bride's whole family would feel the shame if no blood was discovered. A divorce 'Get' would then be handed to his unpure bride, this man couldn't then at a later date change his mind and say he now wanted to marry her, because he had publicly humiliated her by anouncing to everyone her defilement. This would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord.
Only Jesus innocent virgin blood spilt on our marriage cloth has the power to wipe away all our sins of defilement, but we must acknowledge we have sinned and genuinely repent of our wicked and adulterous life styles before we are made clean again by His blood sacrifice.
Moicheia: (another Greek word) Simply means adultery. Adultery is any sexual activity with someone other than your covenant spouse while your covenant spouse still lives. Only the death of a covenant spouse could set the other free so they could marry again. That is why the Pharasees stoned women caught in adultery in those days, her death would set her husband free so he could marry again. Men made it a practice to protect one another by not exposing on one another, but Yeshua saw what they did behind closed doors. Could that be what he was writing in the dust when they caught a women in adultery?
Jesus didn't advocate stoning, or death to that woman caught in adultery. He invited anyone who was without sin to cast the first stone, He knew no man was with out sin. Jesus didn't come to condemn us but to forgive us who are caught.
"Go, and sin no more" Jesus said.
Jesus promised He would never leave us or forsake us no matter what we did. He is not like us. He will continue to stand firm on our behalf, interceding for us to "repent and turn from our wicked ways". He will continue to cry out on our behalf until He comes back to receive His pure undefiled repentent bride who has made herslf ready, and fully awake awaiting His return.
The Holy Spirit is Jesus gift to us, given not only to comfort us but to convict us so we can repent. That's the Holy Spirit's job, to make us pure and spotless for our Bridegroom Yeshua/Jesus return. He will not give up on us, and neither are we to give up on our covenant mates! We are to emulate God's kind of love to them until one of us dies. Jesus knows we can't do this in our own strength, that's why He left His Holy Spirit to help strength us so we can move forward, while He teaches us all things that pertain to life and godliness. It takes a move of God in our hearts to enable us to forgive a spouse who hurts us so deeply through the sin of adultery, abandonment and betrayal.
His resurection power can spring forth in our hearts as Jesus intervenes on all our behalf even after a divorce by todays standard has taken place . . "repent"of the sins of this world, forgive so you will be forgiven, and intimacy can be restored with our true Bridegroom!
Enquire of the Lord if you are feeling convicted to walk in His ancient path of righteousness, otherwise keep on trucking in the ways of this world until the Holy Spirit convicts you. It's His job to do that, not mine. The Father loves you no matter what you do! But there is always consequences to be paid when we are out of step with God and His ways, He will not be mocked!
If you refuse to forgive someone who has traspessed against you God will not forgive you. Not being able to entering into His Kingdom glory in this earthly realm is a big one.