Divorce and Remarriage

J. M. Tucker
Schiller Park, Ill.

In 2 Tim. 2:15 we have the admonition of "rightly dividing the word of truth." (1. Rightly handling; 2. Handling aright; 3. In our own everyday language we should say, "make the right application of the word of truth.")

We are told by some that every thing Christ taught while here on the earth is binding on people of the Christian dispensation. This is untrue, because Christ taught the whole law of Moses and taught his disciples to teach it. Mat. 5:17-19.

It would be a sin to teach the law of Moses as a plan of conduct of life or as obedience to God-Heb. 10:1-29. Let us understand that Christ taught the whole law of Moses but people of this age are not under the law of Moses as such.

True there are some things in the New covenant that are in the old, but we do not obey thern because they are in the old, but because they are in the new. So, all thing, that Christ taught from the old law, if not brought over to the new, have been taken out of the way-Eph. 2:1-16; Col. 2:14; Heb. 8:6-13; Gal. 3:21-25.

The old dispensation ended at the cross. The new began at Pentecost.

In Matt. 19:3, the Pharisees asked, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" Now notice that they did not just ask if a man could put away his wife but asked if he could do so, "for every cause." In Deut. 22:13-22 Moses taught that a man could put his wife away (divorce her) for the cause of being a whore (fornicator). People guilty of adultery or fornication were to be put to death for such-Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:21.

It is said by those who teach that a divorce can be obtained now because of fornication, that Christ taught that in Matt. 19:9. Yes, Christ taught that a divorce could be obtained because of fornication, but he was teaching the same thing that Moses taught. The old law was still in force and that being so there were not two conflicting laws in force at the same time. Christ taught the Pharisees just what God had taught Moses to teach -- Deut. 22:13-21. Now remember Christ told the Pharisees that Moses suffered (permitted, allowed) them to put away their wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

What was it that was not so? Why, it was not so that a man could put away his wife for every cause. Some may ask, "Did God direct Moses to allow the people to put their wives away?" Sure he did. Did it please God for people to do this? No. God allowed it on account of the hardness of their hearts (their wickedness, perversity and disobedience). Now, to illustrate, Israel wanted a king. The excuse Israel had was that Samuel's sons were bad characters, not fit to rule over Israel, I Sam. 8:5-6. But the real truth was that they had rejected God ever since their deliverance from Egyptian bondage-I Sam. 8:1, 8. Hos. 13 :9-11 shows it was not pleasing to Grod for them to have a king of their choice. Ma. 2:14-16 shows that divorce was also never pleasing.

In Hosea we see that God allowed (permitted, suffered) Israel to have a king but it did not please him. He allowed it because Israel had rejected him always after their deliverance (I Sam. 8:7, 8). In like manner, God allowed divorce for every cause because of the hardness of their hearts (Israel's hearts), but it was never his will except in the case of fornication, and that is what Christ taught -- Mat. 19:8, 9.

Moses taught a man could put away his wife for fornication-Deut. 22:20, 21. Christ taught the same thing in Mat. 5:32 and Mat. 19:8, 9.

Christ taught, through Paul, that a husband and wife must not separate, but if they do separate they are to remain unmarried or be reconciled. They must not divorce, for they are bound together so long as they live-Rom. 7:1-3; I Cor. 7:10, 11 and 39.

Divorce and remarriage was taught in the Mosaic dispensation. Divorce and remarriage is nowhere taught in the New Dispensation.

Now let us go back to Mat. 19:9. Christ taught that a man could put away his wife for fornication and marry again. Now in Rom. 7:2, 3 and I Cor. 7:10, 11, Christ taught that husband and wife were bound together as long as they live. Is there a contradiction in these two scriptures ? No. One was taught in the old dispensation and the other in the new dispensation.

In Mat. 19:16-19, a man asked Christ what to do to have eternal life. Christ taught him to keep the law of Moses. But in Gal. 5:2-4, Christ, through Paul, says that "Whosoever of you are justified bv the law; ye are fallen from Grace." Do those two scriptures contradict each other? No. One is in one dispensation and the other is in another.

In Luke 10:25-28, a lawyer asks Christ, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Christ answered, "Waht is written in the law? How readest thou?" The lawyer quoted from Lev. And Deut. Christ said that he had answered right, and said, "This do and thou shall live." In Rom. 3:19-20 and Gal. 2:15,16 we are told that one is not justified by law. Is there a contradiction in these scriptures? No. One is in one dispensation and in another.

In Acts 20: 26, 27, Paul said that he was pure from the blood of all men and had not shunned to declare all the counsel of Christ. Paul never taught that divorce and remarriage was scriptural, so far as we call learn. None of the twelve Apostles ever mention divorce and remarriage as far as the record shows.

In Gal. 1:8, 9, Paul said, "But though we or in angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

Paul did not preach divorce and remarriage. The twelve Apostles did not preach it. My advice to all preachers Is: Do not preach what Paul and the twelve Apostles refused to preach.

Gordon Pennock's response to this article: A Review of "Divorce and Remarriage"

Truth Magazine IV: 6, pp. 1, 24
March 1960