Marriage and Divorce
A Voice From the Past
As a student and writer of Sabbatarian Church of God history, I have studied much about Sabbath keepers all the way back to the First Century. I have, at times, stood in awe at the dedication and zeal of our forbearers who delivered the gospel to successive generations, and finally, to us. Do we ever stop to remember how we have received and heard the truth, Revelation 3:3? There is almost no one who comes into an understanding of the truth of the Almighty on his or her own. Almost everyone is taught by others, either by written or spoken word or by example. Certainly Herbert W. Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God was no exception. He learned much from the Church of God, Seventh Day, and G.G. Rupert, an independent Sabbatarian preacher.
How was it that we have heard the truth of the Almighty? Through the unselfish sacrifices of our forbearers who preached, wrote about, and lived the way of holiness.
What if one of these powerful preachers of the past were to appear on todayís scene, and carefully examine the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God today? What would he feel about our spiritual state of affairs? I will present what I feel would be his reaction. This is not based upon mere speculation, but is the result of a great many hours of studying yellowed pages, talking to older Sabbath-keepers, and researching what Sabbath-keepers were like fifty, one hundred, and several hundred years ago.
Lack of Zeal
First, the Sabbath-keeping minister from the past would be appalled at the lack of spiritual zeal and dedication evident in many, if not most, of todayís Sabbath-keepers.
The drive and zeal to publish and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world that was evident in the Seventh Day Church of God in the 1920s is almost absent today in all the major Sabbath-keeping groups. There are few missionary ministers working in the Third World countries. Even fewer rank and file church members care about Sabbath- keepers in other lands. Almost no one wants to share his or her faith with others in their local community. Have we forgotten that Mark 16:15-18 applies to us today?
Even on a personal basis, few make the sacrifices that men and women of old made. Some risked their lives for the sake of the Messiah. In my own lifetime, this has been plainly evident. Twenty-five years ago, Sabbath-keepers with whom I was associated, would think nothing of driving 300-400 miles one way to meet with others on the Sabbath. Many hundreds of miles were driven to attend annual religious Holy Day meetings. Now, in spite of better cars and better roads, there is a decided lack of effort put forth to meet with other brethren. Hebrews 10:24-25 has more meaning today than it ever did.
At a time when prosperity in the Western World in real terms has never been so high, Sabbath-keepers are giving less financially towards spreading Godís truth. This is not a request for money, but a statement of regrettable fact. Where you put your treasure, there will your heart be also, Matthew 6:21. A zealous Sabbath-keeper of the past would be shocked to see how todayís Sabbath-keepers are lovers of themselves more than lovers of God. In fact, he would be amazed how much II Timothy 3 applies to the Church of God today
Root Causes of the Problem
The Eternal has ordained that we learn His truth by and through other men sent from Him, Romans 10:14-15.
Our visitor from the past would stand aghast at the low quality and weak moral character of todayís men who claim to be Godís ministers. There are Sabbath- keeping ministers today whose lives and character are so wretched that even the public news takes note of their immorality. There are also dozens of lesser-known ministers whose personal lives are contrary to the Bible.
Great Bible prophecies speak of pastors who destroy and scatter the Eternalís sheep, Jeremiah 23:1, 11-14; 50:6, etc. Truly at times, there seems to be no real shepherds at all! Ezekiel 34:2-6. Here is a root cause of the problem of lack of zeal today. We have few, if any, real spiritual leaders.
Godís messengers should faithfully proclaim His laws. Instead, they have changed or watered down the laws of the Almighty, Malachi 3:1, 6-10. How have todayís Sabbath-keeping ministers watered down the Creatorís laws? This brings us to the major observation of todayís Churches of God, that a faithful Sabbath-keeping minister from the past would make.
Marriage Sanctity on the Rocks
A zealous Sabbath keeper of even 75 or 100 years ago would be dumbfounded to observe the status of marriage and family in todayís Church of God. It would be unbelievable for him to see that a world-renowned, Sabbath-keeping minister would marry a divorced woman whose first husband was still alive, and then later divorce her. There are scores of other ministers who divorced their wives and then "married" other divorced women, even after having originally been married in the church!
The common teaching today is that when someone comes into the Church, it doesnít matter whether or not they have divorced and remarried ten times, for any reason at all. Supposedly, the current "marriage" is now fine with the Almighty. An auxiliary to this theory is, that after one comes into the Church, if his or her mate remains unconverted and opposes the true believer, or leaves the faith, the true believer can then divorce and remarry rightly.
This teaching would be heresy and moral depravity to the typical Sabbath-keeper of yesteryear (to say nothing of todayís growing acceptance in "Christian" circles, of such things as masturbation, homosexuality, interracial marriage, abortion, sexually orientated music, and the entertainment media saturated with sex). Indeed, the Sabbath-keeping minister of yesteryear would be so shocked at the actions of todayís society, and how societyís degeneration has penetrated the Church of God, that he would possibly turn away in disgust.
Nevertheless, he would more than likely rise to the pulpit and deliver a thundering denunciation of moral depravity in todayís Churches of God. The following is what he might say. If you get offended at this message, donít get offended at me. Todayís prevailing beliefs would be offensive to the Sabbath-keepers of yesteryear, whether Church of God Seventh Day, Seventh-Day Adventist, Yahwist, or Seventh Day Baptist. Will you listen to a voice from the past?
Life-Long Permanence of Marriage
Here is the timeless truth about the sanctity of marriage. Marriage was instituted at the beginning, Genesis 2:20-24, ordained by the Eternal as a holy physical union of man and wife. It was to typify the spiritual union of the true believer with the Messiah, Ephesians 5:22-33. Any man-made law allowing or lessening the status of a life-long permanent marriage, or allowing divorce and remarriage, is contrary to the higher laws of the Almighty and null and void in His sight.
Just because God did not continually speak against Old Testament persons for polygamous marriages, does not mean that He approved of them then or now. The Eternal winked at sins of ignorance (Acts 17:30), but now commands men everywhere to repent! Jesus said that they twain (two, not three, four or more) shall be one flesh, Matthew 19:3-5. The Eternal, from the beginning, instituted monogamous marriages. This is His intent and purpose for mankind. No argument on the number of wives that King David had, can justify us today having more than one wife, or divorcing and remarrying.
Matthew 19:6 shows that God joins a husband and wife together. Man is not to put asunder what God has joined. He does join unconverted people. Jesus was speaking to the unconverted Pharisees, verse 3, and He uses the term "whosoever" in verse 9. Whatever the law of Moses allowed in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and Deuteronomy 22:13-21, the Pharisees had misinterpreted, and from the beginning it wasnít the Creatorís purpose to have any divorcement at all, Matthew 19:7-8.
Then in Matthew 19:9 Jesus, the Creator of marriage, gives the law of marriage. Marriage is for life, with only one exception: fornication. Whosoever, that is, anyone, who puts his mate away, except for fornication, and "marries" another, commits adultery. Anyone who "marries" someone put away for a reason other than fornication, also commits adultery. There must be a separation for the adultery to cease.
Some say that "fornication" means adultery. This is not so. Porneia, the Greek word for fornication, is an entirely different word than moichea, adultery. They are not synonymous. The case of Joseph and Mary, Matthew 1:18-25, and I Corinthians 7:1-2 proves that porneia in Matthew 19:9 refers to sex sins before marriage.
In Jesusí day, the Shammai and Hillel schools of Judaism taught differently about divorce. One held that divorce was permissible for any cause, even burnt toast! The other said only for adultery. Jesus sided with neither group, stating that Godís law in the beginning had no divorce provision. Matthew 19:10 shows His ruling was far more strict than the Jews. Symbolically married to ancient Israel, the Savior divorced her for harlotry and adultery. Yet He pleaded with her to return and said He was still married to her, Jeremiah 3:1-14. Divorce for adultery, or even for harlotry, doesnít allow remarriage.
The question will be asked: what if the MAN was the one guilty of fornication? Can the woman put HIM away also? Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 are written from the male standpoint. We know God is not a respecter of persons, Romans 2:11. His laws apply to either sex, to "whosoever."
What if the premarital sexual perversion (fornication) is not discovered until years after marriage? Can the injured party put away the fornicator on the grounds of something that occurred BEFORE marriage? While not specific on this point, the Bible in the case of Joseph and Mary, and Deuteronomy 22:13-21, covers this circumstance in principle. The marriage may be set aside when premarital sin is discovered after marriage, but "before they come together," as specifically illustrated in the case of Joseph and Mary. The injured party must act immediately upon the knowledge of fornication, and abstain from sexual relations. The Almighty knew there was deceit (fraud) and He never bound the marriage in the first place. It is not fraudulent deceit that is grounds for divorce with the right to remarry. It is deceptive FORNICATION.
If the innocent party, upon discovering the otherís fornication, accepts and forgives the other, then they are bound for life, with no grounds whatsoever for divorce thereafter. If both had been fornicators before marriage, neither can use fornication later as an excuse to put the other away.
The one exception the Savior gave is not actually grounds for divorce and remarriage at all. It is merely the erasing or annulling of a relationship in which the parties were not joined by the Creator at all. Only death unbinds a bound marriage. Fornication, not adultery, is a valid reason to divorce with the right to remarry, if acted upon soon as in the case of Joseph. God tells us not to be hardhearted. He wants us to learn to forgive.
Example of John the Baptist
Today, one can get into serious trouble proclaiming the sanctity and life long permanence of marriage. It was no different in Jesusí day. In fact, John the Baptist lost his head because he stood up and told the truth. Herodís brother Philip legally divorced his wife Herodias, according to Roman law. This is shown in Josephusí record, Antiquities of the Jews. Herodias then "married" Herod. John the Baptist denounced Herodís union with Herodias, received imprisonment from Herod, and later through Herodiasí guile, lost his head, Mark 6:17-29. Not only did Herodís practice violate the laws of prohibited sexual unions, Leviticus 18:16, but also the law of marriage in Matthew 19:9. Notice that Herod was totally unconverted. Yet he was responsible before God for obeying the laws of the Eternal.
Who will dare proclaim this unpopular message today? Why didnít someone in the Church of God reproach our first divorced and remarried President, Gerald Ford who chose another "D&R" case, Nelson A. Rockefeller, to be his Vice President? Or Ronald Reagan, who also divorced and remarried? Years ago, a D&R person could hardly have been elected President of the United States of America. Now it is not even a campaign issue. Is it true that the Church of God has followed the global decline in morals, so that now divorce and remarriage is acceptable conduct both nationally and in the church?
Where is the moral steadfastness and faithfulness for one to be true to oneís original mate? Jesus said that there are "eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavenís sake," Matthew 19:12. Can you receive this truth? Are there any true believers who, not because of some minister telling them what to do, but because of their own belief in the Masterís teachings, choose to leave their present adulterous union and wait for their original mate to rejoin them? Where are those who will be true to their one and only real mate, even though that mate may not want their love and affection?
When I married Shirley, praise the Almighty, we were both virgins. It was with the full knowledge that our marriage was for life, no matter what would happen. Most people in this present age know nothing about that kind of love. Any kind of "love" that is not permanent, lasting in spite of all troubles and hardships, is not worthy of the name.
Today, divorce for any cause, and remarriage for any reason, is socially acceptable, possibly for the first time since the degenerate latter days of the Roman Empire. That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God, Luke 16:15, compared with verse 18.
Is there no one today to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and their true wives? No one to lead children back to their parents? Malachi 4:5-6 must be fulfilled someday, before the return of the Messiah.
The Simple Law of Marriage
Romans 7:1-4 states Godís law of marriage in simple terms. The Eternalís law binds husband and wife as long as they both live. When one dies, the other is free from the law, free to remarry another. Jesus was married to Old Testament Israel. He died so that both Israelite and Gentile could be "married" to the resurrected Christ. Marriage is for life. No escape clauses.
How people try to argue around simple scripture!
Again this simple-to-understand law is stated in I Corinthians 7:39, "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." The phrase "only in the Lord" means several things: (1) only another Christian (Christians are not to marry non-Christians); (2) only to a Christian free to marry, not a person bound to someone else.
I Corinthians 7 has been used in an attempt to justify desertion as a valid ground for divorce, with the right to remarry. Modern Sabbath-keepers have also used it to justify divorcing an unconverted mate for "incompatibility." Let us examine the verses which have been the subject of controversy.
Believers who have an unconverted mate is the topic of I Corinthians 7:12-16. Presumably they were married before one became converted, because verse 39 forbids a believer from marrying a nonbeliever. Being called in such a state is sometimes unpleasant and difficult. The believer is not to divorce or leave the nonbeliever. If the unbeliever chooses to leave or separate, then the believer is "not under bondage in such cases," for, "God hath called us to peace," i.e., to be peaceable, verse 15. The reason behind this rule is that the believer may be able to "save" the other, to set such a fine loving example that the nonbeliever would be converted at some later time.
Some say that verse 15 means that the marriage is not bound, and the believer is now free to remarry since the unbeliever has departed. However, "not under bondage," does not mean the marriage is not bound. It says specifically that the believer is not under bondage. The Greek word for bondage is douloo which means slavery, or involuntary servitude. Marriage is NOT spoken of in the Bible as slavery! It is the believer who is not under slavery in these cases. He does not have to put up with an untenable situation.
Imagine an unbeliever who engages in gross immorality. The believing mate of such a person is certainly not a slave to the situation, does not have to subject his/her body to the possibility of venereal disease from the immoral mate. Since the unbeliever has departed from being faithful, the believer can let the unbeliever go and live according to his or her dictates. This does not mean that the marriage is unbound. The believer is not free to remarry. He should and must be always willing to take the mate back, upon true repentance and change of heart.
One Sabbath-keeping minister advised a woman to wait only a few weeks for her adulterous husband to repent and return to her. After this, the advice was given that she was free to remarry. Think about the spiritual lesson this teaches! God pleaded with Israel to return to Him for hundreds of years. He didnít go and marry someone else! God will be as merciful with us as we are to others. What kind of God do you worship? Are you as forgiving as He is? Could you be faithful to your true mate, always willing to forgive and take the other back, no matter what sin had been committed? Marriage is a test commandment. No one will enter the eternal spiritual marriage with Christ until they prove themselves to be faithful here and now. How can you be faithful to the Messiah when you are unfaithful to your original mate and marry someone else!
The second pertinent section of I Corinthians 7 is verses 25-29. This is speaking of virgins and non virgins. Those who twist divorce and remarriage scriptures ignore this fact. Paul says that because of the troublesome times, it was better for a man not to marry, i.e., to remain a virgin. Divorce and remarriage deceivers usually quote only verse 27 and the first phrase of verse 28. Letís quote it all: "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you."
Those who are already married should not do anything to chase the other away. They should do their part to keep the marital bond close ó yes, even if the other is unconverted, as we have seen in verses 12-16. Those who are loosed from a wife have not sinned if they marry. What does "loosed from a wife" mean? Some say it means divorced for any cause, so then they reason that divorce and remarriage is all right. This cannot be so, because Matthew 19:9, and 5:32 would be flatly contradicted. "Loosed" is from the Greek word lusis or luo, which is NOT the same word for divorce, apoluo. The Todayís English Version (American Bible Society) has the proper sense of I Corinthians 7:27, 28, "Do you have a wife? Then donít try to get rid of her. Are you unmarried? Then donít look for a wife. But if you do marry you havenít committed a sin." Notice, it doesnít say, "if you remarry." The rest of verse 28 says "and if a [female] virgin marry, she hath not sinned." Male and female virgins do not sin if they marry. Those divorced for any reason other than fornication sin if they re-marry. This passage cannot be used to justify divorce and remarriage.
Marriage Is Not For All
Physical marriage is not necessary to be in Godís kingdom. That is a major message of I Corinthians 7 (verses 1, 7-8, 24-28, 32-34, 37-38, 40). Paul was not advocating celibacy, but showing that there is value for some to remain unmarried so that they could devote themselves to the service of the Lord. Paul made it clear that marriage is good (verses 2, 9-11, 27-28, 38).
This idea doesnít fit well in todayís world saturated with sex. Godís laws of marriage are so awesomely strict, that one should seriously consider not getting married at all, Matthew 19:9-10. Young people, consider well what Godís Word says! Pray for Godís intervention in your choice of a lifelong mate. He can and will send you a lifetime partner even in this age of unfaithfulness.
Two False Ideas
This brings us to a couple of false, but popular, notions.
The first is that the "innocent party" should not have to "suffer" for the rest of his or her life, waiting for the unfaithful mate to come back. It is reasoned that God wonít "deprive" us of continually having sexual intercourse. So, is it all right for us then to go out and marry someone else? Not according to the laws of marriage.
The notion that everyone needs sex or they will live in mental agony the rest of their lives is pure baloney generated by this worldís Satanically controlled media. It is foreign to the Bible. Paul refutes this in I Corinthians 7:29. Life is short, and it doesnít matter if you are married or single. A Bible law, repeated many times, is that during a womanís menstrual cycle, sexual intercourse is totally prohibited. Few today know and practice this law, Leviticus 15:19 and Ezekiel 18:5-6, etc. The Eternal, the inventor of sex and marriage, has laid down occasions when we must abstain from sexual relations. See also I Corinthians 7:3-5 for another example.
Some believers must remain "eunuchs," not engaging in sexual intercourse, for the Kingdom of Heavenís sake, Matthew 19:10-12. That is, their mate has left them or they were divorced for improper reasons in the past, and as a true believer, they must wait until there is a reconciliation. Perhaps the other has been remarried and there appears to be no hope of their ever being reunited. Is this grounds for the true believer to remarry? Not at all! Remember again the example of God and Israel.
This life is not always a bed of roses, Romans 8:18. How many people today have the character of the pioneers? Or have we waxed fat and lazy, departing from the Almighty, Deuteronomy 8?
For the "innocent party" to go out and sin against the "offending party" by remarrying, and calling it right, is an affront to the Creator of marriage.
A second false, but popular, idea is that "all sins are forgiven at baptism. Therefore, if one comes into the Church divorced and remarried, the preconversion union, no matter if it is a wrong divorce and remarriage, becomes right in the sight of God; or if one comes into the church divorced, but single, any previous marriage is null and void, and the person is free to remarry." I have yet to see anyone give any scriptural proof for this notion. It reflects a total lack of understanding of what repentance and forgiveness of sins is all about.
Both converted and unconverted are responsible for obeying Godís laws, and reap the same penalty for disobedience, that is, death. Upon conversion, nothing of the past is changed except the penalty of past sins has been erased by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ (Yahshua). Does this mean that one can then continue to sin? God forbid! Romans 6:1-2. Marrying a person who is divorced for any reason other than fornication (porneia) results in the continuing act of adultery. Upon conversion, the past sins of adultery are forgiven. Does that mean that further illicit intercourse is now approved by the Almighty? NO!
Scripture twisters use I Corinthians 7:17-24, to say that everyone should remain in the state he is called. It is reasoned, that if one is divorced and remarried for any reason, when called, that he should stay in this state. However, I Corinthians 7 tells us that it is better not to marry during troublesome times, verses 17-26. Homosexual "marriages" are legal in Britain. Suppose I am called in such a state of affairs. Should I remain in this sinful state, or quit sinning by separating? Divorce and remarriage for any cause is legal in most countries. Is this any reason why the Eternal should bless such illicit unions? Who has authority over marriage? The state or the Creator? What is one of the major signs of the end of this age? It is divorce and remarriage, Matthew 24:37-39.
After I gave a talk on marriage and divorce to a Sabbath-keeping group, one man told me afterward that, in my eyes, he had probably committed the "unpardonable sin," because he had divorced and remarried on unscriptural grounds. Divorce and remarriage is NOT the unpardonable sin. It is like any other sin. Willful, unrepented sin, is the unpardonable sin. Repentance means change, a turning away from sin. Unrepented sin will result in the second death in the lake of fire. Repentance means to turn from sin, quit sinning, and return to the Eternal. It does not mean to continue in sin such as adultery. There is no sin that cannot, or wonít be, forgiven upon true repentance. Those who continue sinning and justify their sins are facing a severe judgment. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral," Hebrews 13:4, NIV.
How Did This Happen?
Our friend from the past, observing the common acceptance of divorce and remarriage in todayís church and society, would ask himself, how did all this happen? How did the Church of God change its teachings so drastically over the years?
It is not difficult to find the answer. Re-read the section of this article, "Root Causes of the Problem." False ministers have led the flock astray. Ministers who themselves wanted to divorce and remarry or were sympathetic to those who wanted to do so, were the wolves who worked within the flock until eventually their views became the dominant force.
This has happened and is happening in the Church of God. Two different Sabbath-keeping, St. Louis churches were recently led by ministers who are D&R cases. Herbert Armstrong was probably the most "world-renowned" Sabbath-keeper. It was very "convenient" that he changed his Worldwide Church of Godís doctrinal teaching on divorce and remarriage in 1974. A few years later, the widower Armstrong "married" Mrs. Ramona Martin, whose first husband was still living at the time. Her original marriage was said to be "annulled." Armstrongís divorce of Ramona was a sordid example of marital infidelity. His "marriage" to a divorced woman and then his divorce from her, came after almost half a century of teaching Godís true way of marriage!
Ralph Woodrow is a very popular author and writer among Church of God people. We highly recommend his book, Babylon Mystery Religion. However, another book by Mr. Woodrow, Divorce and Remarriage, is filled with falsehoods. A Church of God minister reported to us that Mr. Woodrow is a D&R case as well.
These men are no doubt sincere in their new beliefs. Because they are respected, many give their divorce teachings a high degree of credibility. There are, of course, many others who have led in the moral decline among Sabbath-keepers. Usually we do not mention names, but Armstrong and Woodrow have led many others to accept the D&R heresy. We pray that you will not follow their wrong example and teachings.
I personally observed the workings of some of the men who led the change in the doctrine of divorce and remarriage in the Worldwide Church of God. Before any change can take place, there must be a swelling of discontent against the present status. Adolph Hitler could never have come to power without a climate of social and economic unrest. Ministers in the Worldwide Church of God created a vast group of unhappy people by judging "D&R cases" and often arbitrarily deciding whether or not couples were "bound." Those who would not abide by the ministersí decisions were put out of the church. Often, one minister was "liberal" and another "conservative." If one knew the right people, he could get a favorable decision and be "free" to remarry.
This practice seemed to be designed to create unrest and dissatisfaction. People were living lives created for them by a ministerial decision, not necessarily what they wanted to do or what they personally believed. They were afraid not to abide by the ministerís decision, lest they be put out of the church. This was not true repentance or conversion. Witness 1974 when many changed and divorced unconverted mates, and remarried. Those who had been living as "spiritual eunuchs" only because the church said so, when suddenly released from "bondage" and "free" to remarry, did so in a wild stampede. The churchís 1948 and 1953 articles on divorce and remarriage allow for no such ministerial arbitration. This sort of thing must have gradually developed over the years.
One minister catered to discontented people who were victims of arbitrary decisions. I well remember one Sabbath when he preached a sermon, and said some things leaning toward favoring divorce and remarriage for any cause. This was before the doctrine was changed. During his sermon he read a few portions from a little book he had. He didnít give the title or author, but I knew that it was Divorce & Remarriage by Guy Duty. After the sermon, I wandered up to the podium as this minister was talking to someone else. I observed that he had carefully wrapped his little book in brown paper to conceal its title. At that time, the book was being loudly condemned by Herbert Armstrong and this minister would have been in serious trouble had I made an issue over what he had done. It wasnít many months later, however, that the pressure for change convinced Armstrong to change the teaching to favor divorce and remarriage.
This change didnít happen overnight. It was a slow and insidious process. Please read Jude 3-4, II Peter 2:1-3, Acts 20:28-31. I have observed this process in action. It is frightening.
Will It Happen Again?
If time goes on, and the Messiah does not return for 25-30 more years, what changes are yet in store for the world? What further changes will occur among Sabbath-keeping churches?
Today, there are a few moral "issues" that most religious fundamentalists jump on the bandwagon and preach against. Homosexuality and abortion are two such popular causes to oppose. And as I write, they are fast losing their popularity, because it is not "politically correct" to protest these two sinful actions. Those who have already swallowed much falsehood and evil, usually single out a few other things to be against. Divorce and remarriage, masturbation, and birth control pills are wrong. Yet, today they are "non-issues." The worldís most renowned supporter of the Christian family is Dr. James Dobson, writer of many books. Yet he sees nothing wrong with masturbation. In fact, Dobson encourages parents to let their teenagers masturbate without feeling guilty! What is masturbation if it not being a lover of oneself, II Timothy 3:2? This problem is not limited to boys. Researchers have found it is very common among young girls as well.
If I were a prophet or a betting man, I would predict that soon a homosexual man or woman would be elected to a high office in this country, and that numbers of Sabbath-keeping churches would not raise a voice to criticize this sin. Sounds impossible? Look at what has already happened. Remember, todayís teaching in favor of divorce and remarriage would have not been conceivable to the minds of zealous Sabbath-keepers or even Protestants of fifty years ago!
Years ago, Seventh-Day Adventists were against Christmas and Halloween, worldly holidays originating in paganism, as well as divorce and remarriage. Now all that has changed. Currently a homosexual movement is growing in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It has support in the churchís leading echelons. It is just a matter of time before full acceptance will occur.
As certain as II Timothy 3:13 and Matthew 24:12 are true, the moral decline in the church and the world is inevitable. Only the few will hold fast, II Timothy 3:14-17, Luke 12:32, 18:8.
Will You Listen to a Voice From the Past?
Real life doesnít happen like the Rip Van Winkle story. Change at times is so gradual that if we arenít careful we wonít even know it. The truths of this article may seem like a "voice from the past," out of date in this modern world. Not all will agree with its contents because they have allowed this world to change their thinking. Jesus Christ doesnít change, Hebrews 13:8. His truths are timeless, the same in all ages. His true followers donít change from His revealed truths. They do change, that is, get rid of, wrong habits and practices. Current divorce and remarriage teaching is NOT the revealed truth of the Almighty. It has resulted in much tragic destruction of families. We need a modern Elijah, Malachi 4:5-6.
Will you listen to a voice from the past? Will you return unto the LORD? The Day of Atonement pictures the time when we shall be "at one" with the Almighty. How can we be at one with Him when we are committing adultery by being "married" to someone elseís mate? If you want to be forever married to the Lamb, Revelation 19:6-9, then be faithful to your true mate ó for life.
For your sake, listen to a voice from the past.
(We will answer Bible questions regarding marriage and divorce. We hate the sin but love the sinner. Donít look to anyone to make your decisions for you. Seek wise counsel and go to the Eternal. Always be faithful to your true mate!)
written by Richard C. Nickels
Giving & Sharing
PO Box 100
Neck City, MO 64849
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