Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Jesus says, “Have ye not read…” in Matthew 19. When He uses this phrase, He goes to the Scripture to debunk a wrong understanding of the Old Testament held by the religious leaders. That's what is happening when Jesus uses that language.
In the first century A.D., the schools of Hillel and Shammai differed as to what, in view of Deuteronomy 24:1, constituted legitimate reasons for divorce. Shammai thought that divorce could be granted only for marital unfaithfulness. Hillel, on the other hand, asserted that even such a minor irritation as scorching the food was adequate grounds of divorce.
In Gittin 10, which is from the Talmud, the Hillel view is based upon a loose interpretation of the phrase, some indecency (ervath dabar) in Deuteronomy 24:1, and R. Akiba even inferred from, if then she finds no favor in his eyes, that a man might even divorce his wife if he found a more attractive woman. Whatever one's understanding of Deuteronomy 24:1, it happened that Hillel's interpretation became the rabbinic norm.
The question, then, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" was actually a question as to whether Hillel's interpretation was correct. Obviously, if by eliciting from Jesus a statement as to which side he took in this rabbinic dispute over Deuteronomy 24:1 and the Pharisees could involve him in a controversy, they would be well on their way toward nullifying his influence on the multitudes. In the end, like all other controversies, Jesus doesn't come down on the side of either Pharisaical interpretation, but on God's original intention. What about Deuteronomy 24:1 though?
Deuteronomy 24:1–4 does not institute or allow for divorce with approval, but merely treats divorce as a practice already existing and known.
Grammatically the passage is an example of biblical case law in which certain conditions are stated for which a particular command applies.
The protasis in verses 1–3 specifies the conditions that must apply before the command in the apodosis in verse 4 is followed. In other words 24:1–4 describes a simple “if…then” situation.
The legislation specified in 24:1–4 actually deals with a particular case of remarriage. Grammatically the intent of this law is not to give legal sanction to divorce or to regulate the divorce procedure. The intent of the passage is to prohibit the remarriage of a man to his divorced wife in cases of an intervening marriage by the wife.
The first three verses of Deuteronomy 24 describe the situation of a woman who is twice divorced by different men or once divorced and then widowed. Divorce is neither commanded nor commended. The circumstances leading to divorce are simply described as a part of the case under consideration. The verses do not indicate that divorce is necessarily sanctioned under such circumstances.
In the comment section of the recent post by Thomas Ross on Deuteronomy 24, for the first time I heard a view espoused, which said the exact opposite of the teaching of Deuteronomy 24. Someone (Larry) brought up the valid point of Jesus speaking to the woman at the well in John 4, reminding her of her having had five husbands. Each of them were still called a "husband," and this is helpful in debunking the position of those commenting. I had never heard their position, so I had never thought about the particular point made about the woman's five husbands. If we take Jesus at His Word, which we should, a second marriage is a marriage. Even when we argue against those who believe in remarriage, it is called remarriage.
In this particular case the wife lost favor with her husband because of “some uncleanness in her” (literally, “nakedness of a thing” or “a naked matter”). The precise meaning of the phrase is uncertain. Consequently it became the subject of heated rabbinic debates on divorce. The Septuagint’s translation, (“some unbecoming thing”), is equally obscure. The phrase may refer to some physical deficiency—such as the inability to bear children. The expression appears only once elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, where it serves as a euphemism for excrement (Deut 23:14). This suggests that the “uncleanness” in Deuteronomy 24:1 may refer to some shameful or repulsive act. In the first century conservative Rabbi Shammai interpreted the phrase as referring to marital unchastity, while Rabbi Hillel interpreted it more broadly to refer to anything unpleasant. Jesus, of course, was teaching a no divorce position, again going back to original intention, and the point of the Deuteronomy passage was not to teach divorce or remarriage, but to look at one particular case for case law. It shouldn't be used to justify divorce or remarriage, even as Jesus taught.
Understanding case law and the case law format is important. Deuteronomy 12–26 contains 31 examples of case law. In 19 of these examples the protasis contains a situation that is either immoral or has some negative connotation. The other 12 present situations that appear morally neutral.
Deuteronomy 25:11–12 is an example of case law in which the protasis contains a situation that is immoral or has negative connotations. A woman who seizes the genitals of a male opponent to help her husband in a struggle shall have her hand cut off. No one would dare suggest that the case being described is presented with approval. Many other similar examples could be cited.
The main point of this example of biblical case law in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 appears in the apodosis (the “then” clause) of v. 4 . Here it is clear that the law relates not to the matter of divorce as such, but to a particular case of remarriage. Moses declared that a man may not remarry his former wife if she has in the meantime been married to another man. Even though her second husband should divorce her or die, she must not return to her first husband. The prohibition is supported by an explanation, a reason, and a command. In the Hebrew, verse 4 is the only regulative statement in this passage.
These verses should be read as one continuous sentence, of which the protasis is in vv. 1-3 and the apodosis in v. 4, like the following: "If a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she doth not find favour in his eyes, because of some uncleanness in her, and he hath written her a bill of divorcement, and given it in her hand, and sent her out of his house; and if she hath departed out of his house, and hath gone and become another man's; and if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house; or if the latter husband who took her to be his wife, die: her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife." The actual ruling on the case is that "her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife."
While divorce is taken for granted in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, the woman who is divorced becomes "defiled" by her remarriage (v. 4), so it may well be that when the Pharisees asked Jesus if divorce was legitimate, He based his negative answer not only on God's intention expressed in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, but also on the implication of Deuteronomy 24:4 that remarriage after divorce defiles a person. There are sufficient clues in the Mosaic law that the divorce concession was on the basis of the hardness of man's heart and really did not make divorce and remarriage legitimate. The prohibition of a wife returning to her first husband even after her second husband dies (because it is an abomination) says that no second marriage should be broken up in order to restore a first one.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Saturday, February 17, 2018
I like basketball. I grew up in Indiana. I played organized basketball from 5th grade to my senior year in college. I coached a few years our school team here. As an adult, I played to keep in shape. Our local team is one of the best teams in NBA history and play a fun style to watch.
These players have a right to speak in public. They can say what they want. They don't have to, as one person put it, "shut up and dribble." They can speak. They have that right. I understand that the reasoning behind "shut up and dribble" is "stop talking if you don't know what you are talking about." People can still talk even if they don't know what they are talking about. I've not heard one player or coach who knows what he's talking about. Maybe they do, but they don't say anything that sounds like they do. They all say the same thing, not one says something different, complete lockstep, same message. If one of them did, he would have to shut up and dribble, because he would be shunned and castigated for speaking a different position. You hear zero conservative commentary coming from the NBA. Right now the NBA refuses to separate inane and destructive speech from its product. You have to take both. I refuse to do that.
As of today, I'm done with the NBA for the foreseeable future. I might give it up for the rest of my life. It wouldn't hurt me to do that. It would help me. Maybe you could join me. You don't have to do that, but I think it would help. I'm done watching them, checking on their scores, and reading about them. I'm sure I'll see scores and hear about them, but I refuse to click on one more NBA related article, story, or video. I'm done with them.
Friday, February 16, 2018
The Bible says: "As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed" (Proverbs 26:14). The large majority of the time, hitting the snooze button is a lack of temperance rather than something Biblically justifiable that can be done for the glory of God. Furthermore, just as hitting the snooze button is bad for your soul, taking time away that you could spend with God and giving in to the flesh, so hitting the snooze button is actually not good for your body, either.
If you hit the snooze button two times a day, and snooze for ten minutes each time, you will lose 7,300 minutes a year that you could have spent seeking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Do you really think this is the most God-glorifying way to use the short time you have to live? Should you change the time that you rationally determined you needed to get up the night before to do what your flesh says in the morning instead?
By the way, in addition to the Sheet on Sleep below, one would do very well to avoid entering into temptation and setting oneself up for failure through things like being able to turn off the alarm clock without getting out of bed, having no backup alarm, etc. (A loud alarm is the Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock, which we use as a backup--the normal clock radio has nice Christian music to wake up to, but woe to the person who is still in bed a very small number of minutes later and hears the Sonic Bomb go off.) Parents should also train their children not to turn like the slothful man upon his bed by enforcing a no-snooze button policy, giving their children more time to spend with God, possibly saving them from losing future employment by being late to work, and by, overall, delivering them from this bad habit by not allowing it to begin early in life. Of course, going to bed early enough to get well rested also helps. God "giveth his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2), but it is planned sleep, not sleep determined by the flesh's desires gaining the mastery.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
I said it makes sense and doesn't make sense that I'm not motivated to evangelize. It doesn't make sense because of all of the above. It makes sense because of the nature of the flesh, the devil, the world system, persecution, hatred, and weakness. People don't listen. They make it difficult. They show hatred for God and the truth. I get the worst treatment voluntarily when I attempt to evangelize people. Why go through that? Jesus died. It can't get more harsh than that, and He said they would hate us for doing this. We know that, so it should be expected.
In two places, Paul asks churches to pray that he would be bold in evangelism. Two. The Apostle Paul. He struggled with getting himself going. He wanted people to pray that He would. We should pray for each other for boldness. I pray for boldness all the time. I know I need it.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Hollywood star Robert De Niro took aim at the Trump administration's stance on climate change, telling a packed audience in the Middle East that he was visiting from a "backward" country suffering from "temporary insanity."De Niro said:
I am talking about my own country, the United States of America. We don’t like to say we are a ‘backward’ country so let’s just say we are suffering from a case of temporary insanity.I would be confident in saying that De Niro doesn't know what he's talking about. I suspect "backward countries" to him include people who believe the Bible. It is an ignorant view to say the world is threatened by climate change. Scripture is verified as true and it says the world will end by direct divine intervention. God started everything and He will end everything.
The Bible speaks again and again about the end. The planet won't survive, because God did not design it to be permanent. It has a built-in stopping point that doesn't relate at all to fossil fuels and carbon dioxide. Man offends God and He puts up with the offense only so long.
The earth isn't stable because of anything that man has done. The world is stable because of what God does. The prophet Haggai brings a message from God to Zerubbabel to end his prophecy in Haggai 2:21-22:
I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.He delivered this to say that Zerubbabel needed to trust God and go ahead and return Israel back to the worship God intended. He should not have considered man to be a threat to his work. You can read the same types of accounts in several other places in the Old Testament about the future of the earth according to God.
2 Samuel 22:8, "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth."
Psalm 68:8, "The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel."
Isaiah 13:13, "Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger."
Isaiah 29:6, "Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire."
Jeremiah 10:10, "But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation."
Ezekiel 38:20, "So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground."
Joel 2:10, "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."
Joel 3:16, "The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."
Nahum 1:5, "The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein."
Haggai 2:6-7, "For thus saith the LORD of hosts;; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts."
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Friday, February 09, 2018
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Prayer must be in the will of God. Prayer must be of faith, so we believe that we will receive. Jesus said (Mark 11:24), "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." What you believe that you will receive is reality.
Friday, February 02, 2018
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
I believe in unity. I wrote a book on it. In A Pure Church, I wrote the sections on unity and I exposed the primary passages on unity in the New Testament. You can't understand separation without understanding unity. Unity has been, however, perverted, and I have found that people aren't even talking about unity when they say the word. It's like the word "love" has been distorted beyond recognition. It's mutated into something entirely different than actual love, and the same has been done to unity. It has occurred incrementally over many years, so that it went undetected, but it has drifted far off the path of truth into perversion.
How it has worked and works has been and is as the following. There is established truth, doctrine and practice, from scripture and believed and traceable through history. Let's say that I believe that. Someone diverts from that. I say something. He says I'm divisive. I accept his position and it's now accepted. I don't want to be divisive. He changes further, I say something. He says I'm divisive. You see where this is headed. The divisive one is the one who keeps changing. He's claiming the high ground of unity, when he doesn't have it. He is the divisive one. Saying I'm divisive is a strategy or technique, one or the other. It's not the truth. It's useful for justifying himself and warding off criticism or separation.
When someone is different than what I believe and practice, I don't just accept it. It's different. There can't be two right views. That's not acceptable. At the most generous, I ask him to show it to me scripturally. I await the scriptural support. I can change if I'm wrong, and I have done that. Let's say for this thought experiment, it's not out of left field, so I ask, when has this been believed and by whom? If it's true, I expect it to have history behind it as well. If it's new, that's a lesser problem than not having scripture, but it is a problem.
On the other hand, if he doesn't have scriptural support, but rhetoric or hypotheticals or excuses, then he's the one causing division. He's departing from scripture. At that point, if I don't accept, and he says, you're divisive, I get what's happening. I'm not divisive. He's just going to use that. It's not true, it's just a device he's employing, a kind of lie. This is normal now.
The typical arguments I get today go after my consistency in application, something to the effect of, "I just don't think you're right," speaking of me, or "I need to study it out more, but what I do know is that I don't take your position." Another one is that I don't have a right to question, because I'm not some kind of Baptist pope. Some men are "past arguing." They are too busy with success to argue. They aren't going to argue. If I want to cause division over such a doctrine or practice, I can, but they aren't going to argue. They've got too many more important things. It's too bad I've got to divide over such a thing, and they wish it weren't so, but they guess I'll just have to divide then. Even if they did have the time to prove me wrong, I wouldn't accept it anyway, I'm so stubborn, so why even try. You can't help a divisive person anyway, so why even respect what he says.
The problem too, as I've experienced it, is various forms of psychobabble. It's pride, intellectual, spiritual, or whatever kind of pride, where I think I know more than other people. I've got some kind of either insecurity that makes me have to be right all the time. A very prominent, well known national figure told me, I can't put my finger on what it is, but there's something wrong. I'm not kidding. His experience told him something was wrong with me, and he didn't need to tell me because he's been around the block several times and he just knows these things in an intuitive non-concrete sort of way, so I should just believe him. He can't explain, but I should take his hunch seriously.
Very often men play the victim, why do you have to pick on them? They get criticized all the time, so join the club. It's tough enough already and now my criticism in addition. One man would face his critics with, I've got more people in my bathrooms at any given service than you do in the auditorium. They don't have to answer, they don't want to answer, and they won't answer.
Division is from the truth. Someone who separates over the truth wants unity. You can't have unity without the truth. You protect the truth by separating. No truth-no unity, no separation-no truth.