Heaven's Point of View

Matthew 19:3-12, Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Senez Rodriguez (Host), Tom Shepherd


Series Code: HPOV

Program Code: HPOV000042A

00:16 Welcome to Heaven's Point of View.
00:18 My name is Dr. Senez Rodriguez
00:21 and we are discussing part of the Series,
00:24 Love, Marriage, Sex, and Divorce according to the New Testament.
00:28 Our special guest is Dr. Tom Sheperd,
00:33 he is the Professor of New Testament Interpretation
00:37 at Andrews University,
00:39 so, welcome again, to our discussion.
00:43 Now, we want to learn, Dr. Sheperd,
00:46 what the New Testament teaches about Divorce,
00:51 what passages will we look at today?
00:54 Okay, there are two central passages
00:57 that we'll take a look at over several programs.
01:01 Matthew 19 verses 3 to 12 is a passage
01:08 where Jesus has a discussion with Pharisees
01:12 about the question of divorce
01:13 and 1st Corinthians 7 verses 10 to 16
01:16 is a passage where the Apostle Paul
01:18 also discusses and goes into the topic.
01:22 In the next few discussions
01:24 we will look at Matthew 19
01:25 so, let's turn to Matthew 19
01:27 and read that passage, Matthew 19 verses 3 through 12,
01:32 Matthew 19 verses 3 through 12...
01:37 Okay, it says, like this,
01:41 "The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him,
01:46 and saying unto Him, 'Is it lawful for a man
01:51 to put away his wife for every cause?'
01:54 And He answered and said unto them,
01:57 'Have you not read that He which made them
02:01 at the beginning made them male and female,'
02:06 and said, 'For this cause
02:10 shall a man leave father and mother
02:13 and shall cleave to his wife:
02:16 and they twain shall be one flesh?'
02:20 Wherefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh.
02:26 What therefore God hath joined together,
02:29 let no man put asunder.
02:32 They said unto Him, 'Why did Moses then command
02:36 to give a written a writing of divorcement,
02:39 and to put her away?'
02:42 He said unto them, 'Moses, because of the hardness
02:48 of your hearts, suffered you to put away
02:52 your wife but from the beginning
02:55 it was not so.
02:57 And I say unto you,
02:59 whosoever shall put away his wife,
03:02 except it be for fornication, and shall marry another,
03:07 committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her
03:11 which is put away doth commit adultery.
03:15 His disciples say unto Him, If the case of the man
03:21 be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
03:25 But He said unto them,
03:26 All men cannot receive this saying,
03:30 save they to whom it is given.
03:34 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born
03:38 from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs,
03:43 which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs,
03:48 which have made themselves eunuchs
03:51 for the kingdom of heaven's sake.
03:54 He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. "
03:59 Okay, well... it's quite a passage.
04:03 Now, we should place this passage
04:06 within the broader context of the book of Matthew
04:09 so we understand its... where it sits.
04:11 In the Gospel of Matthew,
04:14 the favorite gospel of the church really,
04:17 there are five great sermons of Jesus,
04:20 there is the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5 to 7,
04:25 there is the Mission of the Disciples,
04:28 where Jesus describes their mission in chapter 10,
04:30 there is the set of parables
04:33 that He puts together in chapter 13,
04:34 there's the experience of the church life
04:37 or the community's life in chapter 18
04:40 and then there is the apocalyptic discourse
04:42 about the end of the world,
04:44 about the destruction of Jerusalem
04:45 from the end of the world in Matthew 24 and 25
04:48 and some might even extend that back in to Matthew 23,
04:51 each of these
04:53 five great sermons,
04:56 end with the same kinds of words
04:59 when Jesus finished these words, okay.
05:03 So, our passage is right after one of those sermons.
05:07 Jesus, in Matthew spends the majority of His ministry
05:12 in Galilee, but then, here in Matthew 19
05:17 he begins to move toward Jerusalem
05:19 where he will have His triumphal entry
05:22 in chapter 21, and then onward
05:25 to the passion narrative that comes there in Jerusalem,
05:31 so this chapter is a prelude to Jesus arriving in Jerusalem.
05:36 In Mark... the same story
05:37 comes before the triumphal entry in chapter 11,
05:41 of the gospel of Mark,
05:42 now, numerous times in Gospel stories,
05:46 Jesus is in dispute with religious leaders.
05:49 Sadducess, Pharisees,
05:52 teachers of the law... sometimes called scribes.
05:55 At times these parables are told in the context of the
06:00 arguments between Him and these religious leaders,
06:04 so there's a kind of a back and forth
06:06 thrust in power, you know,
06:08 ricochet, back and forth between Him and these leaders.
06:13 Within each of these controversies
06:15 Jesus' teaching which becomes Christian teaching
06:19 is set forth against the backdrop of controversies
06:23 with the religious leaders of Jesus' day,
06:25 so we should beware of making too many assumptions
06:29 about all the Pharisees or all the Sadducees
06:33 just based on the disputes that Jesus has
06:37 with a handful of them in the gospel stories.
06:40 Yes, now, Jesus obviously,
06:43 frequently fights with the Pharisees,
06:46 but who are these people?
06:47 Yeah, that's a good question,
06:50 we should think a little bit about their background.
06:52 The Pharisees were a popular religious group
06:54 in the time of Jesus
06:55 and though there is some question
06:59 of just how powerful they were at that time,
07:01 politically, they don't seem to have been as connected
07:06 as, say, the Sadducees and the Priests,
07:09 when Jesus gets to Jerusalem actually
07:11 the Pharisees disappear in most of the gospels,
07:15 they... not in Jerusalem...
07:17 but when it comes to His passion narrative,
07:20 when He's going to be arrested,
07:21 the Pharisees are hardly mentioned, if at all
07:24 in that Section, so that's more the Elders,
07:27 the Religious Leaders, the Jerusalem Elites
07:29 who bring about His trial but the origin of the Pharisees
07:36 is somewhat obscure,
07:38 they seem to have arisen around the time of the Hasmoneans
07:41 which is about 165 years before Christ,
07:45 during the reign of John Hyrcanus,
07:49 they first had influence over him,
07:52 likely serving as lower officials and functionaries
07:55 but later fell out of favor
07:57 and were maneuvered by a Sadduceesian rival
08:02 the name "Pharisee" comes from the Hebrew
08:07 or Aramaic word, "Perisa"
08:09 and it's an adjective that means,
08:11 separated or distinguished.
08:13 The question is, "What were they separated from?"
08:17 This is actually not the term that they had for themselves
08:19 but this was others that maybe gave them this title.
08:23 Where they separated from politics?
08:25 Where they separated from wickedness?
08:27 Where they separated from the common people?
08:29 The emphasis on purity among them
08:32 would suggest that they were separated from uncleanness
08:34 so, you know, when they argue with Jesus
08:36 that He's not washing His hands,
08:38 and the disciples are eating with unclean things
08:41 and He's associating with sinners
08:44 and tax collectors,
08:46 people that they would not have contact with
08:48 because of the uncleanness.
08:51 They likely believed in the
08:52 influence of Divine activity on human life
08:54 both human freedom and faith,
08:57 so you can have both at the same time.
09:00 Reward and punishment in the afterlife...
09:02 they believed in the resurrection,
09:04 the New Testament tells us that, they stressed tithing,
09:06 ritual purity, Sabbath observance,
09:09 without a lot of interest in civil laws
09:11 and regulations of temple worship
09:13 they almost sound like Seventh-day Adventists...
09:14 Yeah.
09:15 They became the roots of what is today,
09:18 Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinic Judaism out of which
09:21 different parts of Judaism come today,
09:23 so they were a very important group.
09:26 Now, that's very interesting but my question is,
09:29 what was the basis of their dispute with Jesus,
09:32 what was the foundation of the dispute?
09:34 Yeah, so they come to ask Him in Matthew 19 verse 3
09:38 they ask the question,
09:40 "Is it lawful to divorce ones wife for any cause?"
09:43 Hmmm... hmmm...
09:44 And there were two different schools of thought
09:47 or groups of Pharisees, they were called the...
09:50 in Jesus' day, they were called the
09:52 School of Shammai and the School of Hillel.
09:55 So we should describe these two schools,
09:57 these are sub-categories of the Pharisees.
09:59 The School of Shammai, on the subject of divorce,
10:02 believed that divorce should only be
10:06 for marital unfaithfulness.
10:08 They referenced a text in the book of Deuteronomy
10:12 chapter 24 verses 1 and 2,
10:14 that which we'll spend more time looking at
10:16 and this talked about... there's a phrase in there
10:21 that "nakedness of a matter,"
10:23 that's kind of a literal translation,
10:26 the nakedness of a matter, and for the School of Shammai,
10:28 the emphasis was on the word "nakedness"
10:31 and that, to them meant "sexual immorality,"
10:34 somebody having sex with somebody
10:35 other than their spouse.
10:37 Originally, if we go back to the time of Deuteronomy,
10:40 if we go back to Moses' time, the law, more likely,
10:43 was related to a matter of personal indecency
10:46 because if you were involved in adultery,
10:48 the Law of Moses said that you should be stoned.
10:51 Okay, so, you wouldn't have
10:54 that... you wouldn't have divorce in quite the...
10:58 for those reasons
10:59 necessarily... for adultery
11:01 but after 30 AD, probably there was no
11:04 death penalty for adultery in Judaism
11:06 so, this is the time when Jesus is fighting with these people
11:11 and they're asking Him this very question.
11:13 Now the School of Hillel on the other hand
11:15 they believed that divorce could be for just about anything
11:19 that was distasteful to the husband.
11:20 They took the same phrase, "Nakedness of a matter"
11:24 or indecency of a matter
11:25 and they focused on the word, "matter"
11:28 so, for them if she burned his toast,
11:31 you know, we would say, he could divorce her,
11:35 and so for almost any cause, he could divorce her
11:38 and one of the Rabbis even said
11:41 that if he found somebody who was prettier,
11:43 he could divorce her for that.
11:44 So, some of these people had come to a position
11:47 where marriage... the commitment in marriage
11:51 was diminished and where they were
11:54 doing divorce for trivial reasons.
11:57 There were four reasons among Jews of that day
12:01 for which divorce was more commonly done,
12:05 childlessness, material neglect,
12:07 emotional neglect or unfaithfulness.
12:10 So, these kinds of characteristics were big dice
12:14 I know that you are a Counselor
12:16 and work here at 3abn in counseling
12:19 and have worked with people on divorce,
12:21 what kinds of solutions do you typically recommend?
12:23 We get kind of practical here for a moment,
12:25 we'll look back at the text but...
12:26 Solution for this problem?
12:28 For this problem, yeah.
12:30 Well, I have at least four. Hmmm... hmmm...
12:34 And I would say the number one is: spending time together.
12:41 Okay this is to prevent divorce? To prevent.
12:44 To knock down that path, this is what you need to do:
12:47 spend time together.
12:48 Spending time together in order to be able to share
12:52 feelings, emotions, what happened during the day,
12:56 sharing, because the communication
12:58 is the basis for the establishment of a relationship.
13:01 No communication... no relationship.
13:03 So, it is important and these days
13:06 when people are so busy
13:07 they tend to separate, but also...
13:10 And my wife and I find that... that...
13:12 meal times is a great time for...
13:14 for sharing back and forth, "So how did your day go?"
13:16 "So, what happened to you today?"
13:17 Exactly... exactly... Here's the news of the day.
13:19 Or going for a walk. Or going for a walk...
13:21 So you do exercise and you talk
13:22 so you have two reasons to be together.
13:26 You need to spend time together
13:28 besides time in bed. Absolutely...
13:30 You have to have some other time where you talk
13:33 and you think about the day and you talk together
13:35 and have that relationship.
13:36 Exactly, another important issue is:
13:38 focus on what is positive in your partner
13:41 because, no one is perfect, at least, I am not,
13:45 but because no one is perfect,
13:48 we must focus on what is positive,
13:51 what is good in your partner and mention that...
13:54 the person needs to hear it. They do.
13:56 And express appreciation for that.
13:58 So it's very important, another one is:
14:00 accept the differences that may be... between the two
14:03 because when you have certain things that are
14:07 very different from mine,
14:09 then, your differences can compensate mine.
14:12 And also, very important: worship together,
14:15 particularly for a Christian couple,
14:17 worship together, pray together,
14:19 read the Bible together,
14:21 I think that those are very important.
14:23 We can make a longer list
14:25 but I think that those are very important.
14:26 Sure, I mean, as we talk about divorce in these passages,
14:30 many times people will get the kind of feeling like,
14:33 "Well, there's this reason and there's that reason,"
14:36 and they get focused on the small details,
14:38 "Well, do I have Biblical grounds for divorce?"
14:42 And really what they need to focus on is
14:44 trying to preserve and trying to reclaim
14:47 and trying to enhance the experience that they have
14:50 together as a couple and to avoid divorce.
14:52 Exactly.
14:54 Yeah, because God says, "I hate divorce," yeah... okay.
15:01 Now, according to Judaism, what was the standard pattern
15:09 of divorce in Judaism, what was it?
15:11 We said that they had these four different reasons
15:15 that were typical for divorce, just to reiterate,
15:19 those were: childlessness, material neglect,
15:22 emotional neglect and unfaithfulness
15:26 and it's interesting that over about...
15:29 maybe... the past 100 years before Jesus,
15:32 there had been some shifts that were taking place
15:35 in what would be called, "Laws of the dowry"
15:39 and these had an effect on divorce...
15:43 on marriage and divorce
15:44 so, let me just describe a little bit about the concept
15:48 of "dowry," in the original law
15:51 the dowry... they sometimes call the
15:54 "bride price" was a payment to the father of the bride
16:00 it's described here,
16:02 there are successive stages in divorce law in Judaism,
16:05 the last two established by
16:07 somebody named Simeon ben Shetach
16:11 in about the 1st century BC,
16:12 originally, they had the bride price
16:16 or something called Mohar,
16:18 was paid to the father of the bride,
16:20 it was a certain amount for a virgin
16:23 and it was a different amount for a widow
16:25 we kind of look at this today and we say, "Bride price?
16:27 What in the world are you doing with a bride price?"
16:30 Well, it was to illustrate that you were able...
16:33 you were a capable young fellow
16:34 and you were going to be able to take care of this young lady
16:36 and not uncommonly, then, there would be an experience
16:41 that if you broke up, if there was divorce,
16:44 the money would go back to the young lady,
16:47 this law... this original law...
16:50 there was a payment for the father...
16:51 was changed to... it was a payment to the bride.
16:53 okay, so the first change brought...
16:57 was the bride price was paid to the bride
16:59 but kept on reserve at her father's house,
17:02 in the event of a divorce or the death of her husband.
17:05 This still meant that it was costly to marry
17:08 but relatively cost-free to divorce,
17:11 because you pay it first,
17:13 people were reluctant to marry
17:15 but many were too hasty to divorce,
17:18 so it didn't seem to be good practice...
17:19 by this law... so they changed it again,
17:22 and they turned it into "payment into goods"
17:24 so in this case, the "bride price" was turned
17:28 into goods like metal pots or ornaments,
17:30 and the bride took them with her to her husband's house.
17:34 She would also take them away if she was divorced by him
17:38 or widowed, her marriage was still costly
17:41 but divorce was also costly to the husband personally
17:45 because he lost the use of those goods.
17:48 Hmmm... hmmm...
17:50 Now we might tend to think "Oh, that's so monetary for few"
17:53 but, frankly, marriage is not just about sex
17:57 and just about relationships, it's also about monetary things
18:00 and throughout history people have found
18:02 that it's good to be married,
18:04 and that there are beneficial effects both ways,
18:07 then it was changed, differently, still.
18:10 It was changed... the next step was to allow
18:13 the money to be invested in the family business,
18:15 now there was no longer any tangible set of utensils
18:18 but the woman received a sum of money
18:20 if she was divorced,
18:22 the final change was a promise to pay... you notice this...
18:27 in this last step, no money needed to be exchanged
18:29 because this would become
18:31 part of the groom's financial property anyway...
18:33 instead, there was a promise made...
18:36 a contract called "ketubah"
18:38 "to pay the bride a sum on divorce"
18:41 the father would also give a dowry or a gift
18:44 to the bride which could be small or quite large.
18:47 This remained hers and became included in the ketubah
18:51 that the husband had to repay on divorce,
18:53 so the last two changes made marriage much less costly,
18:58 so it was easier to get married,
19:00 but made divorce more costly,
19:01 all right, so, these were all changes taking place
19:05 in the marriage laws in Judaism approximately 100 years
19:08 leading up to the time of Jesus.
19:10 Wow! so the basis of the fight between the Pharisees
19:13 related to... which of these schools?
19:16 Yeah, to which school you belong in,
19:18 whether you belonged in the School of Shammai
19:21 or whether you belong in the School of Hillel,
19:23 the Pharisees disagreed among themselves
19:25 over the matter of divorce
19:27 and so, they came to ask Jesus His opinion,
19:30 so Jesus responds in verses 4 to 6,
19:34 let's read those verses again.
19:37 Matthew 19 verses 4 to 6. Yeah.
19:40 And He answered and said unto them,
19:44 "Have ye not read, that He which made them
19:48 at the beginning 'made them male and female. '
19:51 and said, 'For this cause
19:54 shall a man leave father and mother,
19:57 and shall cleave to his wife:
19:59 and they twain shall be one flesh?'
20:04 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.
20:09 What therefore God hath joined together,
20:12 let no man put asunder. "
20:15 All right... so this is Jesus' response to them
20:19 and very interestingly combines the Creation accounts
20:26 from Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, He puts them side by side,
20:31 see the story in Genesis 1
20:34 if you read that beautiful Creation story
20:37 focuses attention on God as the Almighty Creator,
20:42 God speaks and it happens and He prepares the world
20:46 and in Genesis 1:26 to 28, the creation of the first people
20:52 is reported, and at the heart of this
20:56 God says, "Let us make man
20:59 in our image and after our likeness,"
21:02 theologians have called this the image of God
21:06 or the Latin terminology is "Imago Dei,"
21:09 okay, to be made in God's image.
21:12 Jesus, unless He's alluding without specific reference
21:17 focuses attention on the
21:19 maleness and femaleness of the two people,
21:22 that is... to suggest they are two,
21:25 He made them male and female, two...
21:29 then, He draws from the Genesis 2 story
21:32 and that story focuses attention
21:36 on the creation of people, right, in Genesis 2 verse 7
21:40 and God makes the man of the dust of the earth
21:42 breathed into it the breathe of life
21:44 and man becomes a living soul,
21:46 very important foundational concept
21:48 of anthropology in the Bible.
21:50 But He goes on, you know, in that story,
21:53 to the place where they... God says,
21:56 "It's not good for the man to be alone"
21:59 and so... actually the first thing He does is
22:04 He brings the animals for him to name,
22:07 so that the man will see that there's no one like him
22:10 and something happens in the man's heart
22:13 he feels a sense of need then God puts him to sleep.
22:17 God takes a rib, God makes the woman
22:20 and brings her to the man, now, so,
22:23 "it is not good for the man to be alone... "
22:26 is resolved when the woman is made and brought to the man.
22:31 It's interesting that Jesus combines the two stories
22:36 Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 when He's talking about marriage
22:41 He does not seem to emphasize so much
22:44 the idea of the "Imogo Dei" or the image of God
22:48 though that is a key concept of Biblical anthropology,
22:51 but rather, He seems to focus attention
22:54 on this process of two becoming one.
22:57 Now, that's in Genesis 2 by itself
23:00 but Jesus seems to super emphasize it
23:03 by saying that when God originally made them,
23:05 He made them male and female and then
23:07 a man leaves his father and mother
23:10 and the two become one.
23:11 It's important to notice here that Jesus...
23:14 in putting together Genesis 1 and Genesis 2
23:17 has focused attention
23:18 on the maleness and the femaleness of the two people
23:21 that are involved in marriage, they become one flesh.
23:25 This highly implies that Jesus sees the male-female union
23:29 as the standard ruling out same-sex marriage,
23:33 so this passage is not commonly looked at
23:37 or drawn from on the whole question of
23:41 homosexuality and same-sex marriage
23:43 but here Jesus puts the two together
23:46 and emphasizing that maleness and femaleness
23:48 implies this idea that it's the two becoming one.
23:53 Now, Jesus makes His conclusion in verse 6
23:57 so, want to see verse 6 again and He says there
24:01 so they are no longer two but one flesh.
24:05 What, therefore, God has joined together,
24:09 let not man separate.
24:11 The logic Jesus followed in joining Genesis 1 and 2
24:15 is displayed in His conclusion that the man and the woman
24:20 are no longer two, they are one
24:23 and He goes further than this even,
24:27 He indicates that what this really means is that God...
24:31 that God has acted in marriage, the verb is...
24:36 means to yoke together, to put...
24:40 you have two oxen and you put a...
24:43 you put... a yoke over them,
24:46 the yoke helps them work together,
24:48 so that they don't go in opposite directions
24:51 what God has yoked together, okay...
24:54 The term would be used of this, you know,
24:56 oxen that they could work together.
24:59 In marriage, according to Jesus,
25:01 God has yoked together the man and the woman.
25:03 His conclusion is that "what God has joined together,
25:07 or yoked together,
25:08 man should not separate or divide,"
25:10 don't take the yoke off, which, of course, would be divorce.
25:15 Jesus' basic stance is to stress the sanctity
25:20 and enduring nature of marriage.
25:22 You see, the Pharisees were coming to Him
25:24 with the wrong question or the wrong perspective,
25:28 they were arguing like,
25:29 "Look, is it okay to divorce for this?"
25:32 "Is it okay to divorce for that?"
25:33 He says, "No... no... no... no... no... no
25:35 you need to think back to the beginning
25:38 that God's original plan
25:40 was for a man and woman to be together
25:42 and what God has joined together that should stay together. "
25:46 So, Jesus' basic stance
25:49 is to stress the sanctity and enduring nature of marriage
25:53 and this is consistent with Malachi chapter 2,
25:56 "Marriage is not something to be entered into trivially,
26:02 flippantly or frivolously,
26:04 it is a serious business where God is at work. "
26:06 Why don't you read for us,
26:07 we'll just close out with Malachi 2 verses 13 to 16,
26:11 13 and...
26:13 13 through 16... Malachi 2 verses 13 through 16,
26:17 Okay, "And this have ye done again,
26:20 covering the altar of the Lord with tears,
26:24 with weeping, and with crying out
26:28 insomuch that He regarded not the offering anymore,
26:33 or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
26:37 Yet you say, Wherefore?
26:40 Because the Lord hath been witness
26:44 between thee and the wife of thy youth,
26:48 against whom thou hast dealt treacherously:
26:52 yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
26:59 And did not he make one?
27:03 Yet had he the residue of the spirit.
27:08 And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed.
27:14 Therefore, take heed to your spirit,
27:17 and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
27:24 For the Lord, the God of Israel,
27:28 saith that He hateth putting away:
27:32 for one covereth violence with his garment,
27:36 saith the Lord of hosts:
27:38 therefore take heed to your spirit,
27:40 that ye deal not treacherously. "
27:42 All right, so, this basically is a... God is against divorce
27:48 is what this passage tells us and we've run out of time
27:52 but I'll just say that we'll talk again next time,
27:56 we're glad that you could join us
27:57 and we hope that you'll continue with us in these studies
28:00 about love, marriage, sex, and divorce.
28:03 May God bless you this day.


Revised 2016-04-14