Why Moses Allowed Divorce

Divorce is a sensitive issue. It usually involves not only the married couple concerned but their children and extended family members and sometimes, the community as well. Acceptance of divorce depends on societal norms in that community and nation.

In modern days, especially for Christian couples, just because they have made wedding vows before family and friends they would live till death before they part, it becomes even trickier when face with the issue of divorce when it arises. Are there biblically justifiable grounds for divorce?

Searching for justifiable grounds for divorce is nothing new. It has been going on since time immemorial. In fact, divorce is sanctioned in the Bible, especially under the Old Testament. Divorce has been enacted into law by none other than Moses who wrote the first five books of the Holy Bible.

The Pharisees were custodians of the law and they sat in Moses’ seat.

Matthew 23:2: Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

They were also regarded as masters and rulers in Israel and of course well versed with the law of Moses.

John 3:1: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

John 3:10: Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

The Pharisees certainly knew the law concerning divorce. However, the law on divorce seems to be questionable and subject to abuse. So this was a good opportunity to trip up the Lord Jesus Christ who was never schooled under their authority.

Matthew 19:3: 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?

These Pharisees certainly knew the law on divorce very well. So the question was whether divorce for every cause was lawful. They were baiting the Lord to see how He would respond.

It was funny how they thought the Lord didn’t know the law on divorce allowed by Moses. So the Lord turned the table on them for not reading their Bible and hence not knowing God’s will on marriage and divorce.

Matthew 19:4: And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Matthew 19:5: 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?

Matthew 19:6: Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Well, they certainly didn’t like this reply. How could they overlook such simple and fundamental decree from above concerning earthly marriages? Divorce was obviously not God’s will. The Lord’s reply to their question gave them cause to continue their scheme to find occasion to accuse the Lord for challenging Moses’s decree which was a serious offence.

Matthew 19:7: They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

They thought they had cornered the Lord to back down with this question appealing to the authority of Moses. So far these religious elites could not find any fault and occasion for them to nail the Lord during His earthly ministry.

It seemed like they were finally succeeding. Disputing the law on divorce allowed by Moses would be a serious challenge to the authority of Moses and would thus get the Lord into big trouble with serious consequence.

But what actually does the law on divorce allowed by Moses entail?

Deuteronomy 24:1: When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

So here is the law regarding divorce. The ground for divorce here is not based on moral or character deficit of the wife or serious transgression of the law of Moses. It is based on what the husband regards as uncleanness and he no longer favours her.

One would think that divorce is based on serious offence such as adultery committed by the wife. But it is not the case. In fact, adultery attracts the death penalty under the law of Moses.

Leviticus 20:10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

As such, divorce could be based on something as frivolous as uncleanness determined by the husband and hence, the Pharisees’ question concerning divorce under every cause that could be subject to abuse. Under such arrangement, the husband has the upper hand. Whenever he doesn’t find the wife pleasing anymore he could easily find occasion and excuse allowed for as uncleanness to divorce his wife.

Moses not only allowed divorce under such seemingly unfair statute that favours the man, he also codified the divorce where this woman once divorced by this husband could no longer return to him under any circumstance when she becomes another man’s wife. After the woman has been divorced she is free to remarry but she can never return to her former husband and this is the condition whereby the husband must understand before divorcing his wife. There would be no turning back after the divorce if she remarries.

Deuteronomy 24:2: And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

Deuteronomy 24:3: And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

Deuteronomy 24:4: Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

So this was the divorce statute given by Moses. Well, the Pharisees were not ignorant to this statute. They were using this statute hoping to trip the Lord so that they could find occasion to accuse Him for disobeying Moses.

But the Lord pulled no punches. He didn’t shy away from addressing this issue on divorce allowed for under the law of Moses. He turned around and accused the Pharisees and blamed them for this law on divorce where Moses allowed because he really had no choice due to the hardness of heart of the men of Israel.

Matthew 19:8: 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.

Here the Lord told them point blank they were the cause for divorce being allowed by Moses. Under the law, man could have more than one wife. Polygamy was practiced by the children of Israel and many famous biblical characters had more than one wife. They were never condemned nor rebuked by the Lord. However, polygamy is so recognized that the rights of the firstborn of the non favoured wife cannot be removed and replaced.

Deuteronomy 21:15: If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

Deuteronomy 21:16: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:

Deuteronomy 21:17: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

With polygamy allowed and recognized, some men might want to get rid of the wife he no longer finds favour. He could get himself off the hook and needs not fulfill to her his duty of marriage. This would also lighten financial burden and commitment with one less woman to care for and feed.

There is no alimony required under the law of Moses during a divorce. So the woman is obviously caught in a bad situation under such divorce arrangement.

What about her children after divorce if she has any? It would be unlikely the children are chased out of the house with her. Which man would want to marry her together with her children? It would be a sad situation for the children losing their mother in a divorce.

The only positive point about divorce as far as the woman is concerned is that she is free and she could remarry. With divorce allowed by Moses, other man could have this privilege to fulfill the duty of marriage to this divorced woman. But the woman could not return to her former husband and all her children if she has them in her previous marriage.

While it might sound good to get out of an abusive and unhappy marriage when divorce is allowed, divorce could be abused too and many times the case as questioned by those Pharisees. Divorce as allowed by Moses was a social expediency not the perfect will of God and the Lord told these Pharisees off in no uncertain terms.

The abuses under the terms and conditions of divorce have been so abused that the God of Israel rebuked the children of Israel severely in the last book of the Old Testament before the Lord turned silent on them for four hundred years.

Malachi 2:14: Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

Malachi 2:15: And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

Malachi 2:16: For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

Malachi 2:17: Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

Jehovah God clearly had been very angry with the children of Israel who had been dealing treacherously with the wife of their youth. They had been warned to take heed to their spirit and not deal treacherously with the wife of their youth as though the God of judgment was no longer around. Divorce allowed under Moses was the best platform to deal treacherously with the wife of their youth.

When the wife grows older and no longer attractive, finding faults such as uncleanness would be so simple and easy. Divorce could be so easily carried out and the poor woman would have to fend for herself after divorce and if she has children, she would no longer have rights to have access to her children. This is a terrible loophole for treacherous man to exploit.

Nevertheless, if divorce is not allowed, the wife who has lost favour might find herself in even more terrible plights. Being ignored and abused by the husband and perhaps even the husband’s other wives could be even more trying and painful.

Physical violence could become her constant companion too if she has to live on under the same roof with her husband. As such, getting divorce might be the lesser of the two evils and hopefully, the woman could live on happily either on her own or have a better second marriage.

Truly God hates putting away. Marriage bond is a symbol of God providing eternal salvation for His people. If divorce is the norm, this is a direct attack on God’s eternal security promised to His people.

The Pharisees raising the question on divorce hit a wall. They didn’t know they were dealing with God manifest in the flesh. This same God had been watching them tolerating their treacherous dealings with their wives for years. In addition, the Lord raised the bar for divorce where the only justifiable ground for divorce is fornication and not some frivolous uncleanness as determined by the husband.

Matthew 19:9: 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.

Actually, fornication as a justifiable ground leading to divorce is not new. The case of the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ is a case in point.

Matthew 1:18: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:19: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

Mary was with child of the Holy Ghost. Joseph, Mary’s espoused husband was a just man. His espoused wife was pregnant and he could put Mary to death.

But he could not find the adulterer and putting Mary to death was unjust because death penalty are carried out on both the adulterer and the adulteress and not on the adulteress alone. So if Mary was with child due to fornication, it would be better off to put her away privately in a divorce settlement.

By tightening this law on divorce and raising its standard, even the Lord’s disciples were displeased. They remarked that if that be the case, it was not good to marry.

Matthew 19:10: His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

One could imagine the spiritual maturity of these disciples. They wanted to reserve the rights and privilege to divorce their wives under the law of Moses where they could easily abuse the system. No wonder the Lord concluded the Old Testament with that sharp rebuke concerning the men of Israel dealing treacherously with the wife of their youth.

These Pharisees practiced creative and selective obedience to the law of Moses. They could come up with justifiable grounds to get waiver from compliance to the law of Moses such as not having to honour their parents.

Mark 7:10: For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

Mark 7:11: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

Mark 7:12: And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

Mark 7:13: Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Hence are these Pharisees so concerned about equity in the law on divorce allowed for under Moses? The treacherous dealings of their forefathers continued with them and their hypocrisy was simply disgusting to say the least.

They were not trying to discuss the finer points on the law of Moses with the Lord. It was not a sincere enquiry with regards to learning something useful for them to apply under the law of Moses. It was a question raised to tempt the Lord. Their silence after this rebuke was surely deafening.

Even the disciples of the Lord were displeased with the new requirement for divorce. Raising the bar with this new justifiable ground for divorce disadvantaged them.

So the Lord concludes that not all men can accept the duties and responsibility in a marital union. Only selected few, by birth, forced of circumstance or even voluntarily remaining single, are not having to deal with troubles in marriage.

Matthew 19:11: But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

Matthew 19:12: For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Most people on earth are not so gifted to remain single like the apostle Paul who for the Lord’s Kingdom sake went all out without a wife to distract him in the Lord’s work.

Staying single might avoid having to deal with all the troubles and distractions that come with married life but not getting married could get one into more serious trouble.

1 Corinthians 7:9: But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

1 Corinthians 6:18: Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1 Corinthians 7:2: Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Hence, fornication is the only justifiable ground under the New Testament for divorce. Nevertheless, forgiveness and reconciliation should be sought before entering into divorce, especially for the sake of children having to suffer the trouble and trauma of parents going separate ways in a divorce.

Hebrews 13:4: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

John 1:17: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Let no Christian man and woman ever consider the possibility and acceptability of divorce allowed by Moses in the Church Age. Grace and truth have come and hence, let no Christian man and woman entertain the notion of possible separation in a divorce for frivolous reasons.

1 Peter 3:7: Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

1 Peter 3:8: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

1 Peter 3:9: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Any Christian couple taking heed to this admonition will never find themselves heading into the dark narrow alley of despair in a divorce.


Will You Marry Your Self?

The advent of digital cameras, in particular on mobile phones, make it very easy and cheap to take pictures at any moment in time. Gone are the days where taking pictures are expensive having to buy rolls of films where you have to think twice before snapping away on your cameras, not to mention costly fees required to process the rolls of film and hopefully the pictures come out fine.

Who won’t want to capture a beautiful image especially with yourself in the picture too. In the past, you would need someone to take such a picture for you. Today, you could just take your own picture with the secondary camera on your mobile handset. With the aid of a selfie stick, you could take pictures of yourself at a greater distance which is even better.

Unfortunately, taking selfie is contributing to untimely deaths and injuries for some so engrossed in such acts of self importance and grandeur to capture the perfect moment in time for posterity and future self-exultation. Narcissism becomes popular and sometimes not cheap, even deadly.

List of Selfie-Related Injuries and Deaths

With the popularity promoting platforms like facebook and instagram, narcissism is taken on to a whole new level of indulgence. Spending time showing off and bragging about stuff on facebook coveting affirmation and adulation can become an addiction, especially those who set out hoping to get many friends and “likes” on their facebook page a life mission.

If you think that is not enough of self-love, self-praise and self-centeredness, you can even marry your own self if you so wish. You can fall in love with your own self and marry your self just like a normal wedding with a huge party following. This trend is going to pick up just like any foolish fashion in this world that will pass away.

No Need Husband – Women Can Now Marry Themselves

When you think this is narcissism gone mad, this is not something unexpected actually, scripturally speaking.

2 Timothy 3:2: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Haven’t we been warned about the last days’ conditions? Indeed men shall be lovers of their own selves literally. This is perhaps the grand finale of narcissism in all its glory.

This is good news actually because we are not far from the end of times.

Hopefully some will wake up and share the sentiments of the psalmist who exclaimed:

Psalms 39:5: Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.


Wedding Competition

Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions and a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, some weddings result in tragedy due to superstitious beliefs.

The two weddings recently held in Guangxi China became a wedding competition. The end results were fierce street battles that lasted four hours turning a celebration to destruction and injury.

This was due to superstitious beliefs that when weddings clash, this would bring misfortune to the family. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy where misfortune came upon those who so desperately hope to avoid.

Wedding Street Battles

Wedding Clashes in Southern China

You can bring a man into the modern world but you can’t take superstition out of some people living in this modern world.

What else do you expect when some people even believe in ghost marriages where female corpses were stolen from the graves to ensure the departed get married in the afterlife in order to avoid bringing misfortune to those living!

Ghost Marriages

Proverb 19:23: The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

Proverb 29:25: The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Hebrews 2:14: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Hebrews 2:15: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The good news is that our Lord Jesus Christ has come and through His death on the cross, the devil who has the power of death can be destroyed. So the only way out is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver them from the lifelong bondage of fear of death.

There is a more serious wedding coming. Those who wish to have the good fortunes of attending this wedding better don’t come in the wrong attire.

Matthew 22:11: And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

Matthew 22:12: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Matthew 22:13: Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 22:14: For many are called, but few are chosen.

Have you been chosen?


Ghost Marriages

When you think we are living in the Internet Age where the whole world is already wired up, superstition still persists and in particular, ghost marriages are still in practice.

Some places in China, people still believe in ghost marriages. One of the main reasons for people to practise ghost marriages is to avert disaster in the family.

You may read up on Ghost Marriage for more information on such a practice.

Due to such superstition, female corpses are getting stolen. They are stolen to meet a demand for ghost marriages. You may catch up on this piece of news on Female Corpses getting Stolen for Ghost Marriages in China.

Just when you think this perverse practice is bad enough where female corpses were being stolen from the graves, you might be in for a rude shock.

There were reports that females were even killed in order to satisfy this demand for ghost marriages when the family required fresh corpse.

For more details check out this page on Unusual Wedding.

According to scriptures, the Gentiles have serious problems with their lives living in this fallen world who are dead in trespasses and sins.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

This is really a perfect description of the conditions of fallen man. Why would people practise ghost marriages? To avert disaster in the family and to ensure all is well with them are sure signs of self-preservation and self-gratification.

So they walk in the vanity of their mind to the extent of practicing uncleanness in robbing graves to retrieve dead corpse for marriages. Such practice could even involve innocent females being murdered for such purpose. But that is the least of their worry. All they worry about is to ensure their dead son gets married in the afterlife. This will in turn ensure that all is well with the living.

All this may sound like unbelievable madness in this world but this is the reality in some parts of the world.

Thanks be unto God for shinning His light into our heart while we were dead in trespasses and sins.

2 Corinthians 4:6: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we ought to be very thankful we have been delivered from darkness into God’s marvelous light where we have a bright and glorious future ahead of us.

1 Peter 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1 Thessalonians 5:5: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Colossians 1:13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Being delivered from spiritual darkness, we have a duty to fight a spiritual warfare and reject spiritual wickedness.

Ephesians 5:11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

May the Lord grant us spiritual understanding to war a good warfare for the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord also have mercy on those still living under the power of darkness.