Understanding Bible Covenants! Part 3 Divorce and the Law
(Ver 2.1) This is Part 3 in the series on the very important subject of Understanding Bible Covenants. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start reading with “Part 1“. We have covered the Bible subject of covenants in a new spiritual light. In the first lesson we saw scriptures that defines a Bible God kind of covenant is a marriage relationship normally between a male and a female. In God’s covenants He is always the husband and we His people are always the female. In the second lesson there was featured a modern unfamiliar quality called “faithfulness”. This quality of “faithfulness” is where trust is placed in each covenant participant to remain faithful to their covenant partner. When unfaithfulness occurs the resulting infidelity normally causes the intended everlasting relationship to become strained, ineffective and even fail. Which brings us to today’s specific topic called “divorce”. Using this new perspective of “unfaithfulness” we will be exploring the Bible using God’s created concepts found around the essential subject of “faithfulness” in marriage covenants. Because it is so radically different than anything we have probably heard before it may be difficult for many to accept. It is interesting that this is the same response that Paul got in many places that he went into to teach the Word of God. Here is a scripture that describes Paul’s experiences:
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
This scripture describes two different groups and types of people. It speaks of one group being more noble than the other. The term noble is a symbol of royalty, those of nobility. These people were more noble than those in Thessalonica because of two qualities that they did. Or actually to be more precise it was one featured quality or attitude that they possessed and one action they performed. The first difference of these more noble people was they received the Word of God with an “open mind”. Meaning they were willing to listen and hear something totally new and radically different without prejudice. But instead of accepting everything that was taught them by faith and blindly following Paul, they did something else to prove what was being taught to them was actually what God said in the Word. It says they searched the scriptures daily to see if what Paul was saying was really in the books they called God’s Word. In those days they only had the Old Testament books and scrolls so that is the only verification that they had to search from. Today we can see that this also includes the New Testament writings. You can learn so much by following the example of the more noble group of people. You see there is nothing new under the sun, what was, is that, which shall be again. What you have seen before, is that which will occur again. God does things the same way today as He did in the days of the early church. History has always run in cycles that repeat specific divine patterns in human experiences and events. So when someone like me comes along and teaches something so radically new, what should you do? You should start by keeping an open mind to what is being said and then you must search your Bible to see if it is actually true. That is all I’m asking you to do.
In the last lesson we were talking about sex and infidelity in the context of a covenant marriage relationship. We saw that physical things gives us patterns into spiritual things. People who follow physical faithfulness probably have an easier acceptance with spiritual faithfulness. There has been an increased awareness of natural unfaithfulness due to a well know unnamed sports figure that has recently been caught up with the seeds that he had been sowing. Then before that we had a President that was caught up in an embarrassing White House sexual scandal. But, these were just popularly reported news examples that occur often in many natural human experiences. No human is perfect and all have sinned in some way.
Without God no one really has a chance to be perfect, we have all been there and all share in mistakes that we have made. Also, in the last lesson we referred to the fact that divorce was not legally permissible from God’s law unless a spouse had been unfaithful. I guess these two famous wives certainly had grounds for a divorce. I’m sure neither was happy or content with their covenant relationship. As far as the President’s wife, I believe she endured and stuck around the marriage for some future benefits. A wife will always have the right to choose. But, one thing that we can count on is the faithfulness of God. God will always be faithful to us. Therefore, the only opportunity for covenant failure in a relationship with God, will be on us. This does pertain to the subject today.
GOD’S OLD TESTAMENT COVENANT DIVORCE
So we have been looking at the natural nation of Israel as being called the unfaithful wife in the Old Covenant. She was accused of spiritual adultery and literal whoredom by following after and pursuing other gods by worshiping idols (Isa 1:2, Eze 6:8). There is really a very sincere lesson to learn from this, if we think about it. Recently on the news I saw a story that spoke of many so called Christian churches starting to introduce other foreign practices into their congregations. I don’t know if they were attempting to draw more people in or what. But the net result will be disastrous. These churches wanted to bring in yoga and far eastern mind altering religions. Things like far east meditation and mind relaxation and control techniques that just open people up for satanic interaction. By introducing these foreign religions into their churches they are succumbing to the same result that the natural nation of Israel fell into. This spiritual infidelity will result in spiritual sexual covenant relations with other gods just like Israel. I hope you are hearing me and understand what was just said.
So today I want to open a new can of worms that I know will not go over big with a lot of people, but I really have no choice. I believe I need to teach what God has taught me from the Bible. In the last lesson I gave scriptures about God’s wife Israel being unfaithful to her husband and God said I divorced her (Jer 3:8). If a covenant is a marriage, then a divorce is the termination of that covenant! This is absolutely critical that w see this and understand it. According to O.T. verses God is NOT in covenant with the natural nation of Israel anymore or ever will be again. I know that is a shocking statement, but we look it up in the Bible and verify what God says. Natural Israel now has the same opportunity to marry into the new covenant with Jesus, but the old covenant is over. Here is another witness to this fact:
Isa 50:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill (H5612) of your mother’s divorcement (H3758), whom I have put away (H7971)? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
We have seen that the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah, both have declared the termination of the marriage covenant relationship between God and the natural nation of Israel. Notice that this verse in Isaiah also implies a selling of Israel to another buyer or owner. This sounds like Israel has entered into a new covenant relationship with someone besides Jehovah God, to me. I will tell you up front it was not to be in the new covenant with Jesus the Son of God. The Lord God says “I have Put Away your mother”. Those are terms for divorce based upon Israel’s foolish acts of infidelity. So we can conclude that the divorce is now final in the eyes of God.
Today I want to show you what God’s law says about marriage and divorce. It is so relevant to our discussion that I hope you can see it. The law concerning divorce is found in the book of Deuteronomy in chapter 24:
Deu 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 (H5612) of divorcement (H3748), and give it in her hand, and send (H7971) her out of his house.
Here is exactly what we read in Isaiah and Jeremiah that God did to Israel. It is an exact representation of what happened to the natural nation of Israel. This verse says a man shall take a wife and marry her. We know that God took Israel by the hand and led her out of Egypt and married her (Jer 31:32). Then it says if the man finds “uncleanness” in her and we know that God found His wife natural Israel unfaithful following after other gods and worshipping idols repeatedly. So we know that according to the law, the man (God) then can write his wife (Israel) a bill of divorcement and give it to her to end the covenant. God did this using His prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. These were His two witnesses for Israel’s whoredom. You then see that this verse says that the woman is now not a part of this husband’s household anymore. She has been kicked out of the relationship due to her unclean acts of wickedness. This is precisely what happened to the nation of Israel. Let’s look at the next verse in the law:
Deu 24:2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
I read these words and see how God foretold what was about to transpire with His wife. This verse says this divorced wife can become the wife of another man. We saw scriptures that implied strongly that Israel was another man’s wife now. I could give you many other scriptures that would also confirm this but I just don’t have the time right here to include these. I’ll skip over verse 3 because it is about her new husband divorcing her. What I want you to see is the next verse and what God says:
Deu 24:4 Her former husband (Jehovah God), which sent her away, may not take her (natural Israel) again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD (JEHOVAH): and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
You see according to the law, it would be illegal for God to marry the natural nation of Israel again. God said it would be an abomination for Him to take back a wife that has defiled herself with another man. It is therefore illegal, according to the law for God to enter into covenant with the nation of Israel again. I am glad I didn’t write the Bible, I just read it and see what it says. But, I don’t see how He could take her back and not make himself out to be a liar.
I know these are very strong words and the implications are very far reaching. Nevertheless I didn’t write the Bible so please don’t throw stones at the messenger. You have the opportunity to embrace what the Bible says or you now have an opportunity to reject it and ignore what God said. I suspect I’ll have both reactions. The Bible was written in an encoded fashion that forces us to correctly divide the words to come up with the truth. That means some will see it and some will not. That also means everything in the Bible is not always self evident or self revealing and since I don’t know everything maybe there is something that I don’t know yet that could change the outcome of Israel. I will humbly admit that truth that I’m not God and I don’t know everything. If God wants to keep something hidden it will remain hidden, if God wants to reveal the truth to someone or through someone then nothing will stop Him from doing that either.
A NEW TESTAMENT CONFIRMATION
I would like to briefly teach a New Testament confirmation for what we are reading in the Old Testament. I believe God will always confirm whatever is important in the Old Testament in the New either directly or indirectly. This reference that we will be going over is fairly direct but often easily misunderstood. We will be reading from the book of Galatians and chapter 4.
Gal 4:22 For it is written (prophesied), that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Gal 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh (natural); but he of the freewoman was by promise (Spirit).
Gal 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai (natural Israel), which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Gal 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem (natural Israel) which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all (Jesus and the Church).
Gal 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Gal 4:28 Now we (the Church), brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise (Free Woman).
Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit (the Church), even so it is now.
Gal 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman (Natural Israel) and her son: for the son of the bondwoman (Natural Israel) shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Gal 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
This is an amazing passage of scripture filled with untold revelation. There are two women being compared as mothers with sons. The LORD just keeps uncovering new information from these verses the more we study it. Has anyone missed what the LORD said after reading these verses, I will tell you that one woman is Hagar a young Egyptian slave woman and the other woman was Sarah the older barren wife and God says these two represent allegorical types of spiritual realities. Hagar represents natural Israel that came out of captivity in Egypt. Sarah is spoken of as a spiritual type of free woman that gives birth to the church. Abraham the covenant making husband to both women is also a type in this O.T. story. Abraham represents God the Father also known as Jehovah LORD. That was a very quick overview, so let us explore some of the important details for out subject of covenants and divorce.
Notice how God uses a real literal Old Testament story of Abraham as a spiritual allegory to reveal a greater unseen truth. If we read closely, we will discover that God is likening natural Israel to be called a model, type, pattern, or a shadow of a natural Egyptian “bonds woman” named Hagar. God equates her position of natural bondage to Israel’s servitude to the Old Covenant Law. It is remarkably interesting, to note that this Galatians 4 passage is speaking of this Hagar woman as a typology of natural Israel being in covenant with God. It is important to note that the natural people of Israel were taken from Egypt by God through Moses. Then God also gave them the law through Moses on Mount Sinai and later they possessed the land where Jerusalem eventually becomes their capital city.
I will not teach the entire set of verses. There are other Bible lessons on this website that have more detail if you are interested. But I do want us to focus on verse 30. This is a quotation from Genesis 21:10. What does this verse say so clearly? God tells us it is written “Cast out the bond woman (natural Israel) Hagar for her son will not be an heir with the son of the freewoman”. When we go back and study the original verse God uses the Hebrew word H1644 which is translated as “cast out”. Strong defines this Hebrew word as “to drive out from a possession”. But this Hebrew word also carries the meaning of “divorce” and a “divorced woman”. Wow, that is amazing confirmation to the verses we have read from Jerimiah 3:8 and Isaiah 50:1.
Galatians 4 is a New Covenant confirmation for what has happened to the Old Covenant people. Natural Israel is now no longer in covenant with God Jehovah even while still being in bondage to His written Law. There is a further confirmation found within Galatians 4. Remember when I showed implied O.T. references for divorced natural Israel now being in covenant marriage with someone other than God Jehovah? Did you notice Galatians 4:27? What is God saying in this verse?
Gal 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren (Sarah a type of the Heavenly Jersualem) that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou (Sarah a type of the Heavenly Jersualem) that travailest not: for the desolate (free woman Sarah a type of the Heavenly Jerusalem) hath many more children than she which hath an husband (bond woman: Hagar a type of natural Israel).
This verse is another O.T quotation from Isaiah 54:1. I placed in quotations the unstated allegorical references revealed to us by God in Galatians 4 to help us understand who He is speaking of. I pray that everyone observed that this verse says the bond slave woman (Hagar the type of natural Israel) was cast out of God’s marriage covenant but is now being referred to as a “married” wife. But if her husband is not Jehovah God, then who is it? Go and read Isiah 54:1 and we will find God Jehovah is the one speaking about these two women. Notice that He does not claim in Isaiah 54:1 to be her husband. In fact, it was only 4 chapters before this prophecy that Jehovah gave natural Israel her bill of divorce.
Galatians chapter 4 is very profound. God has just confirmed that natural Israel is no longer in a covenant with Him. It further implies by indirect reference that she has no possibility to return to the covenant that she was in with Him. If we study the entire Bible for direct references to Hagar, we will find only 14 times her name is given by God. The last time she is mentioned in the O.T. is Genesis 25 where God gives the genealogy of Ishmael to have 12 sons. Before this mention is Genesis 21 where Abraham “sends her away with her son Ismael in verse 14. The Hebrew word “send away” is H7971 that was translated as “put away” in the law of divorcement we read in Deuteronomy 24 and the divorce decrees we read in Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3:8. These connecting words and subjects are not a coincidence. God is teaching us that natural Israel will have the same end as the natural Egyptian slave woman named Hagar.
We have seen scripture that declares natural Israel’s covenant relationship with God has been terminated because of her continued unfaithfulness. We then saw the law of God that declares this relationship is over for good. We cannot blame God for ending the covenant. It was natural Israel’s repeated bad choices to commit whoredom with other gods that finally caused the consequences. Remember what God says in Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived, God is not mocked whatever a man sows that will he reap”. Israel finally reaped what they had sown for hundreds and hundreds of years. A crop of failure will eventually come to anyone that does the same. God was extremely patient, forgiving and kind to the natural nation of Israel. He is the same today to us. Thank you Jesus!
I’ll end this lesson with this last statement, there is more in the Bible that we don’t know than what we do know. I don’t care how long we have studied the Bible or how much we have memorized and we can quote. Quoting scripture does not mean we know it and understand it. The term to “Know” means understand and I guarantee that we (me and you) don’t understand very much of the Bible. God’s intelligence level is so far beyond ours. Every word in the Bible has significance and meaning and most of the time we just read them like they don’t mean anything. The one reality that I am faced with every time I study the Bible is this: “The more I learn, the more I find out I don’t know”. If you are not there yet, then you don’t realize yet that you have a lot more to learn. In the next lesson, I’ll attempt to explore natural Israel’s new covenant relationship.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may now go to “Part 4“.
Posted on January 1, 2010, in Bible Study, Covenants, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Covenants, God, Jesus, marriage, sex, Truth, understanding, woman. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.