Covenant Questions Vital to Understanding the Truth About Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

1. Under which covenant did Jesus live and die? A) Old Covenant or B) New Covenant

2. Which covenant did Jesus have to obey perfectly in order to be sinless? A) Old Covenant or B) New Covenant

3. When did the Old Covenant cease to be in effect? Please explain with Scripture.

4. When did the New Covenant go into effect? Please explain with Scripture.

5. Before Jesus died could he have taught contrary to the Old Covenant and remained sinless? Please explain with Scripture.

6. Did Jesus change any law under the Old Covenant before his death? If yes, please list the law or laws he changed.

7. Was the death penalty God prescribed under the Old Covenant in effect before Jesus died? Please explain with Scripture.

8. Before Jesus died was he obligated to uphold God’s death penalty as prescribed under the Old Covenant? Please explain with Scripture.

9. Did Jesus give any teachings contrary to the Old Covenant before his death? If so, please explain with Scripture.

10. Before Jesus died did he teach people they did not have to obey certain laws contained within the Old Covenant? Please explain with Scripture.

11. Was there any teaching that Jesus taught the people before his death which if they practiced the day they heard him they would have been in violation of the Old Covenant but not in violation of the New Covenant? Please explain with Scripture.

12. Do you understand how these questions are vital to a proper understanding of Jesus’ teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage? Please explain with Scripture.

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Did God Give Us Divorce?

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

While some may say that God did not give us divorce, there are three exceptions they may allow:

(1) An exception to Jesus’ ban on divorce;

(2) An exception that would favorably authorize hard-heartedness, permitting divorce; and

(3) An exception that would favorably authorize withholding forgiveness, permitting divorce.

Jesus says that it is not for humans to divide what God joined (Mt. 19:6; Mk. 10:9), yet divorce is an attempt to divide what God united. God did not give divorce in the beginning (Mt. 19:8), and Jesus bans it (Mt. 19:4-6). God gives no exception to Jesus’ ban on divorce.

God hates divorce, which arose from husbands’ hatred against their wives (Mal. 2:16). Jesus makes clear that divorce originated out of men’s hard-heartedness (Mk. 10:5). God gives no exception to Jesus’ teaching that would favorably authorize hard-heartedness.

Hard-heartedness is the opposite of forgiveness, and Jesus commands unlimited forgiveness (Mt. 18:21-22). God will not forgive unforgiving individuals (Mt. 18:35). God gives no exception to Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness.

Why would we want to hold onto a human institution God did not give us?

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Q & A: Entrance Into God’s Kingdom & Building a Foundation to Show Ourselves Approved to God

Responses by Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

QUESTION #1:

July 13, 2009

dear sir:

I have read your research on denominations I was impressed with the truth you have discovered. I am helping some to come to an understanding of God’s ways and this has helped us a lot, thank you for that. Perhaps you can tell me your understanding of how you understand how to get into God’s kingdom, I may have missed something. would appreciate a return answer.”

Richard G.

ANSWER #1:

July 13, 2009

Hello Richard,

Thank you for your email. While much background from the Scriptures is necessary for a sufficient understanding of the kingdom, four passages of special note to our discussion are Isaiah 2, Daniel 2, Joel 2, and Micah 4. Upon reading those passages, it becomes clear that Peter’s address (Acts 2) finds its background in the prophets’ message of the Messiah’s kingdom.

Peter says “this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16). He further quotes Joel, “It will come to pass that whoever calls on the Lord’s name will be saved” (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32). Those present on that day, who allowed Peter’s message to reach their hearts, said, “Men, brothers, what may we do?” (Acts 2:37). In context, based on Peter’s quotation of Joel that “whoever calls on the Lord’s name will be saved,” their full question is, “What must we do to call on the Lord’s name that we may be saved?” Peter responds telling those who have now believed in Jesus as Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) to change their hearts and be immersed in Jesus’ name, into the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). Similarly, Ananias tells Saul (his Hebrew name; his Greek name is Paul), “Why are you waiting, get up and be immersed and wash away your sins, having called on his (the Lord’s) name” (Acts 22:16). So, “calling on the Lord’s name” is not merely a prayer, nevertheless Saul surely prayed every prayer he knew to pray (Acts 9:9, 11), but when Ananias arrived he told Saul to “get up,” contextually meaning “get up from praying” and told him that he was to be immersed in order to wash away his sins and having done so would call on the Lord’s name. This my friend, is what God has instructed to be admitted into Heaven’s kingdom. Then, we must put our hand to the plow and never look back (Lk. 9:62).

The truth will set us free,

Timothy

QUESTION #2:

July 14, 2009

Can you tell us how we might build a foundation so we can show ourselves approved before God?”

Richard G.

ANSWER #2:

July 14, 2009

To answer your question about the firm foundation on which you should build, the answer could be said to be twofold:

(1) Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11)

(2) The truth (Jn. 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:15, the Scripture to which you alluded, and which is very interesting, especially in that the word rendered “be diligent” is better rendered “do your best”)

In actuality, since Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6), they are the same. Jesus is the Logos (Word, Message) and revealed to us God’s Message, the Holy Spirit preserving God’s revelation for us through the written word.

My recommendation is (if you will allow me to use some accommodative language): Become a “Berean” (Acts 17:11). While memorization seems to be a “lost art” for most Americans, some form of retention is absolutely necessary (Ps. 1:2; 119:11, 97).

Few people realize how precious the truth really is. God’s wisdom reveals to us, “Buy the truth and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Prov. 23:23). We should acquire the truth at all cost, and when we possess it, we must never sell it out. Our obligation is to lift as many eyelids as possible, in hopes that they are willing to open their eyes to the truth.

The process that I have undergone in searching for the truth has been challenging at best and extremely painful at worst. At a time when I thought I was engaged in “aggressive evangelism,” I had to come to grips with many things, including the truth. This I know, God is always our dearest friend and God’s truth can become our closest companion, if we are willing to allow our thinking to be transformed (Rom. 12:2) and if we are willing to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8:29).

A little background for the setting and language in which the New Testament was written provides us with the realization that, during the days of the Roman Empire, to the Greek mind of the first century, nothing was more precious than freedom. However, at the same time, it seems that many Jews of the first century had forgotten the times when they were enslaved and oppressed, nevertheless Jesus came to set them “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36). When the truth frees the mind, the spirit rejoices (Acts 8:39).

Timothy Sparks

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Sequencing the Events of MDR (Mt. 5:32; 19:3-10; Mk. 10:2-12; Lk. 16:18)

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

Rather than isolating Matthew 19:9, an examination of Matthew 5:32; 19:3-10, Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18 provides a comprehensive framework for studying Jesus’ teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Setting aside any translation issue for another discussion, this article seeks to put the events of the aforementioned accounts in the chronological order in which they appear to have taken place, adding depth to our understanding. Scripture quotations are taken from the NKJV.

1. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. (Mt. 5:32)

2. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Lk. 16:18)1

3. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Mt. 19:3)
3. The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. (Mk. 10:2)

4. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” (Mk. 10:3-4)

5. And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt. 19:4-6)
5. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mk. 10:5-9)

6. They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Mt. 19:7)

7. He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Mt. 19:8-9)

8. In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mk. 10:10-12)

9. His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mt. 19:10)

____________________

1For evidence of the chronological order of the events of Luke 16 occurring before Matthew 19 and Mark 10, compare Lk. 18:15-30, Mt. 19:13-30 and Mk. 10:13-31.

 

 

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Who Does the Joining: God or Man (1 Cor. 6:16)?

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

(All Scriptures quoted are from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.)

“Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh’” (1 Cor. 6:16).

Paul uses an illustration of a man joining himself to a prostitute. God does not do this joining. The NASB may reflect better that the joining to a harlot is done by a man and not by God: “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her?” If it is not completely clear from 1 Cor. 6:16 that God has nothing to do with a man joining himself to a prostitute, Paul clearly implies such in his previous statement: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” (1 Cor. 6:15).

If we wish to understand God’s joining, Jesus directs our attention to the beginning of creation (with Adam and Eve) (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:5-9). Adam and Eve had no betrothal. God even completely joined Adam and Eve before a sexual union. Sexual activity does not complete a God-joined union as some may falsely assert. Adam and Eve did not have a sexual relationship until God completely united them: 

“Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:22-24).

Adam’s words of acceptance serve as his vow of commitment that Eve would be his wife for life: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23a). His words “flesh of my flesh” provide the foundation of the one flesh union that God accomplished in uniting Adam and Eve. God unites a man and a woman into one flesh based on a vow for life that is bound for life (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39). God does not unite two into one flesh based on sexual activity.

God joined Adam and Eve before they had a sexual relationship. The sexual relationship is only approved by God after God unites a man and woman. Sexual activity is a privilege and obligation (1 Cor. 7:3-4) authorized by God within a God-joined union. A sexual relationship outside of a God-joined marriage (such as a man joining himself to a prostitute) is sinful.

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Keep It in Context (A Basic Study for Understanding Matthew 19:9)

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

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Matthew 19:9 Greek Diagram

Updated with a brief explanantion

Learning from God's Word

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

(I have modified Roy Deaver’s diagram in his Harding Lecture, “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage,” April 19, 1977. While I give a brief explanation below, for a technical or simplified answer, please send an email.)

Click link for magnified view: Greek Diagram of Matthew 19:9

 Matthew 19:9 Greek Diagram

A brief explanation:

The exclusion clause μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (“not over fornication”) modifies only the verb ἀπολύσῃ (“may have dismissed”). It does not modify μοιχᾶται (“commits adultery”). In fact, μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (“not over fornication”) does not affect anything else in the sentence. Therefore, μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ does not change the meaning of μοιχᾶται.

For the diagram of my English translation of Mt. 19:9, click here: https://timothysparks.com/2015/12/01/matthew-199-english-parallel-to-greek-diagram.

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