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Chapter 7: The Seventh Commandment

Deuteronomy 5:18 says, “You shall not commit adultery.” This is the Seventh Commandment. It is the law that regulates all union and separation—marriage in particular.

The Hebrew word translated “adultery” is na'aph, a root word that cannot be broken down further. It is always used in Scripture to denote a sexual relationship with another's husband or wife, unless it is being used metaphorically about the national crime of committing adultery with other gods. Leviticus 20:10 tells us the penalty as well:

10 If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

The tendency in many cultures is to punish the woman but not the man for adultery. Sometimes it requires multiple witnesses to convict a man of adultery, making it improbable that any man would ever be found guilty, while a single testimony or accusation against a woman is assumed to be true. This unequal application of the law is, of course, contrary to the mind of God.

The Bible applies the law of God equally. The only stipulation is that, like all other crimes, no one can be convicted except by two or three witnesses, that is, by at least two solid pieces of evidence. Deut. 19:15 says,

15 A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

The Woman Caught in Adultery

In John 8:1-11, we read the story of the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus for judgment. Many have used this story as evidence that Jesus put away the law, in spite of the fact that Jesus clearly denied this in Matt. 5:17-19.

The Pharisees had an ulterior motive in bringing the adulterous woman to Jesus. They wanted to trap Him in His own words, because if He refused to judge her, they could accuse Him of despising the law, but if He condemned her to death, they could stone her and then report Him to the Roman government. In those days the Roman government required that all capital cases be referred to them for judgment.

Jesus knew their hearts, and He knew the law. The law made provision for cases where justice was not possible, whether it be from a lack of two witnesses, false witnesses, a bribed judge, or (as in this case) a foreign authority. Men were to attempt to resolve their disputes privately (Matt. 18:15) and, if necessary, present the evidence and witnesses to the offending party in order to avoid the court (Matt. 18:16).

If they can come to no resolution, they may then take it to the court (Matt. 18:17), where an earthly judge was expected to justify one and condemn the other. If the man losing the court case believes that the verdict was unjust, he could then appeal his case to the Divine Court.

When the adulterous woman was being accused by the Pharisees, who expected Jesus to adjudicate her case, they wanted Him to judge her according to Lev. 20:10 (quoted earlier). But because such capital crimes could only be judged by the Roman government, it was obvious that justice could not be done. Furthermore, the Pharisees had brought the adulteress, but not the adulterer. Worse yet, the witnesses obviously had ulterior motives, which any biblical judge was supposed to discern.

So Jesus knew that true justice could not be done in this case. Hence, He took the woman directly to the Divine Court according to the law of jealousy in Num. 5:12-31. In such a case, the jealous one, lacking proof or credible witnesses, was to take her to the priest (judge), where the priest would administer an oath of innocence to the woman amidst some ceremony.

The priest was to inform her of the curse that would come upon her if she swore to be innocent but were actually guilty. Then Num. 5:23-28 says,

23 The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24 Then he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings a curse, so that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness. 27 …. And her abdomen will swell and her thigh will waste away, and the woman will become a curse [i.e., barren] among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children.

If a woman took such an oath of innocence, her case was referred to the Divine Court, and her husband was to accept her statement as truthful. Hebrews 6:16 says,

16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.

This was the proper procedure to follow when there was a lack of evidence or witnesses, or if the circumstances prevented the implementation of godly justice. Such was the case when Jesus was presented with the woman caught in adultery. Even if the witnesses were sufficient and credible, no judge could have passed judgment upon her, because the Romans had reserved for themselves the right to condemn anyone to death.

Hence, Jesus could not judge the woman by the law by which the scribes and Pharisees were condemning her. Yes, the law in Deuteronomy 22:24 seemed applicable, but not under those conditions. So Jesus began to try her case according to Numbers 5. John 8:6 says, “but Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.”

At first they did not understand what He was doing, and they thought Jesus was simply ignoring them. But Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. The scribes and Pharisees had brought the woman to the great High Priest of the Melchizedek Order for judgment, and He was presenting her case to the Divine Court. Jesus wrote on the ground, either because He had no scroll on which to write the curses of the law, or it was the Sabbath when writing on parchment or stone was considered to be labor and was therefore forbidden. Whatever the case, Jesus stooped and with His finger began to write the curses of the law on the ground itself.

The Pharisees pressed Him for a verdict before He had finished writing, so He put them off, saying in John 8:7, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” In other words, He was saying, “Hey, if you have reached a verdict, go ahead and execute her. After all, the law called for the witnesses to lead the way in any execution (Deut. 17:7). He knew, of course, that they would not stone her, because the Romans would have held them accountable.

When Jesus had written enough for the Pharisees to figure out that He was appealing the case to the Divine Court, they knew that they had failed once again to entrap Him. One by one they gave up and walked away. When Jesus finished writing on the ground, He looked up and found no accusers and no witnesses remaining. John 8:10, 11 says,

10 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 And she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”

As the Judge in this case, even Jesus Himself could not condemn her without witnesses and without someone bringing charges against her. Neither did He have to administer an oath to her. As there was no one to condemn her, the case was dropped. So the case ended with a simple admonition to “sin no more.” Jesus neither condoned her sin, nor did He put away the law.

Jurisdiction over Marriage

The big cultural problem today is that in the quest to destroy the family unit and to establish Secular Socialist Democracy, adultery is seldom (if ever) prosecuted as a crime. Fornication itself, in most of its forms, has long ago been legalized and is prosecuted only when it is a commercial act or when it involves minors.

Laws regulating sexual behavior are among the most important in preventing the decadence and ultimate destruction of a nation. Genesis 2:24 makes it clear that God Himself created and ordained marriage, and therefore He is the ultimate source of law to regulate all sexual matters.

For this reason, the Seventh Commandment, like all the others, is rooted in the First Commandment. God is the Author of marriage, and thus, men and nations are responsible to implement and enforce the marriage laws that God legislated. But when a nation refuses to recognize God as the Sovereign Creator, the way is paved for man to change the laws to accommodate the lusts of the people as their moral standards erode over time.

In the Beginning

Marriage was originally based upon the idea that a man and a woman would be in full agreement with each other. God’s stated purpose is that they would become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This unity was not achieved by the wife always submitting perfectly to her husband, but by both of them hearing the voice of the same God. This is essentially a New Covenant marriage, as I have explained in my book, Old and New Covenant Marriage.

Later, when they fell by sin into the realm of mortality and corruption, they began to lose the ability and even the will to hear and obey God’s voice. God knew that as time passed this problem would only worsen in generations to come. One of the first casualties of sin would be the unity between husband and wife. If they could not agree about the will of God for their lives, it would be necessary for one to impose his will upon the other in order to avoid paralysis or a stalemate.

This is why God said to Eve in Genesis 3:16, “Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” God gave the authority to the husband in case of disunity and disagreement. But it should be recognized that such authority was only necessary on account of sin, and that such authority was not needed prior to their fall into mortality and corruption.

Neither could it be assumed that the husband’s decision would always be the correct one. The authority was given to him, it seems, because “it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13), and she was the first to disobey God (2:14). Yet this authority also makes the man responsible to know the will of God, not simply by hearing God’s voice inwardly, but also through his wife. He is responsible to know when God is speaking to him through all others, but especially through his wife, for she has the primary calling to be his double witness.

If marriage functioned as it was intended from the beginning, there would be no need for authority. Agreement renders authority irrelevant, for if both parties are in perfect unity, there is never any need for one of them to overrule the will of the other or to force compliance. This is the natural state of marriage as it existed prior to the introduction of sin.

Yet once sin became a factor, disagreements, selfishness, and tendencies toward sin would arise as a consequence. Not only did this make authority necessary, but this also extended to society in general. For this reason God found it necessary to institute authority over larger groups of people such as tribes and nations. With this authority were given judgments for law enforcement.

These judgments of the law included judgment for sins against marriage itself, such as adultery or spousal abuse. Such sins were inevitable, given man’s fallen condition and moral degeneration over the centuries. For this reason it was necessary to make provision for divorce, which God did in Deut. 24:1-4. If all marriages were perfect, no divorce provision would have been necessary.

Provision for Divorce

Rotherham’s The Emphasized Bible says in Deut. 24:1, 2,

1 When a man taketh a woman and marrieth her, then shall it be, if she find not favour in his eyes, because he hath found in her some matter of shame, that he shall write her a scroll of divorcement, and put it into her hand, and shall send her forth out of his house. 2 And when she cometh forth out of his house, then may she go her way and become another man’s.

In God's law, divorce must be done in writing, so that the woman has proof of that divorce. This prevents a jealous ex-husband from denying the divorce and prosecuting her for adultery, should she remarry. Deut. 24:2 permits the woman, on the basis of that lawful divorce, to remarry whom she will. Verse 4 denies the ex-husband the right to claim her again, even if she is divorced from her second husband.

This law differed from the law of Hammurabi (Nimrod), which was the common law of Canaan during that time. Hammurabi's law allowed verbal divorces if the husband said three times, “I put her away” (Par. 141). Because verbal statements can be easily disavowed, there is no doubt that this resulted in much injustice toward women in those days.

God's law demanded a written “scroll of divorcement” before a man could put away his wife (i.e., send her away). It is important to understand that Moses’ legislation differed from the common law of his day and that he closed an unjust loophole in the law of Hammurabi. If we understand this, then it will be easier to understand Jesus’ comments about divorce in Matthew 5.

Jesus said that if a man merely “put away” his wife, sending her away without such papers, he would cause her to commit adultery (Matt. 5:32), because she might remarry without being properly divorced. Likewise, any man who would marry her would also be committing adultery.

Many have interpreted Jesus’ statement as if He were prohibiting divorce, contrary to Deuteronomy 24. This is due primarily to not making a distinction between divorce and the act of putting away. The law said that divorce must take place before a man can put away his wife—that is, send her out of the house. These two things were supposed to go together, but the problem was that often they did not, especially in places where God’s law was not followed.

The KJV of Matthew 5:31 and 32 does not distinguish between divorce and putting away, though the Greek text does. The KJV translates apoluo first as “put away” and later as “divorced.”

31 It hath been said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement[apostasion] 32 But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away [apoluo] his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced [apoluo] committeth adultery.

The Greek word for “divorcement,” where it is correctly translated in verse 31, is apostasion. It means “repudiation” and refers directly to the written document repudiating one’s wife, thus ending the lawful union by divorce. But verse 32 does not use the word apostasion, but apoluo, “put away.” The word means “to let go free, dismiss.” It is not the legal act of divorce, but the physical act of sending her away.

Hence, Matthew 5:32 is properly translated by Jay P. Green, Sr., the General Editor and Translator of The Interlinear Bible,

32 But I say to you, whoever puts away [apoluo] his wife, apart from a matter of fornication, makes her commit adultery. And whoever shall marry the one put away [apoluo] commits adultery.

The KJV translators assumed that Jesus changed the law of divorce. For this reason they translate apoluo as if it were apostasion, implying that there is no difference. It is my belief that Jesus did not put away the law, but changed men’s understanding of the law and extended its meaning to include the spirit of the law. If Jesus had put away the law, the scribes and Pharisees surely would have condemned Him on that point of law, yet we hear no objection at all.

By retaining the distinction between apostasion and apoluo, we are able to show the real purpose of Jesus’ commentary in His Sermon on the Mount. The Mosaic law had indeed permitted divorce, because of the hardness of men’s hearts. There are times when divorce is necessary, due to sin and human nature. But it was not so from the beginning, prior to the advent of sin. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 19:3-6,

3 And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

In other words, Jesus said to strive to regain that unity which God had established in the beginning, prior to sin. If husbands and wives were able to do this, then there would be no divorce. Yet the reality of the situation is that many couples are unable to achieve this kind of unity, for one reason or another. That is why divorce is permitted in the law of Moses, for divorce is a judgment for sin.

Moses does not attempt to spell out any specific justification for divorce, leaving it to each person to be led by the Spirit in that matter. He says only “if he hath found in her some matter of shame.” This lack of specific legislation leaves a void in our understanding that ought to be filled by the leading of the Spirit. Divorce itself is neither right nor wrong, but people ought to hear God’s voice and be led accordingly. They should not divorce for trivial matters, but at the same time the law allows divorce for legitimate reasons such as adultery or spousal abuse.

Getting back to Matthew 5:32, Jesus went further to explain the law and its application. He said that if a man puts away his wife, he causes her to commit adultery. Many have presumed that she was prohibited from remarrying after being divorced, but Jesus was talking about remarrying after being put away without a writ of divorce in her hand. Jesus was referring to the same problem that Moses faced.

To marry a woman without legal divorce papers would be an act of adultery. Jesus’ teaching showed the injustice of putting away one’s wife without proper divorce papers. Jesus was thus saying that the husband who puts away his wife without divorce papers is at least as liable as she is, if she marries another. This was a new view of the law that would have been difficult for the scribes and Pharisees to accept.

The Apostle Paul understood Jesus’ teaching, for he said in 1 Cor. 7:27 and 28,

27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you should marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned…

Paul had given an earlier instruction in verses 8-17 about how it might be best not to marry at all. Believers in those days were often persecuted and put to death for their faith. Their wives and children could often be left alone or homeless and destitute. Furthermore, Paul’s life as an apostle meant that he had to spend months and even years away from home as he made long missionary trips by slow methods of transportation.

Paul was not against marriage, nor did he have a low opinion of women, as some have said. Bishop Eusebius, the church historian of the fourth century, claimed that Paul had been married (Eccl. Hist., III, xxx). But by the time Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, it appears that he was no longer married (1Cor. 7:8), most likely a widower. He recognized the difficulty of being married in such times, and so he advocated being single under those circumstances.

Later in the same chapter, however, Paul gave instruction to virgins and to married and unmarried people. First, Paul addresses married people, saying in 1 Cor. 7:27,

27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released [i.e., divorced]. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you should marry, you have not sinned

To paraphrase Paul, we read, “Are you married? Don’t seek a divorce. Have you been divorced? Don’t seek to be remarried, but if you do remarry, you have not sinned.”

Only then does Paul address virgins, saying, “and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned” (7:28). So we see that Paul did not condemn a virgin from marrying, nor did he condemn a divorced wife from remarrying. His teaching was consistent with the law and with Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 5:31, 32.

The Exception for Fornication

Jesus made an exception for fornication, saying in Matt. 5:32, that it was a sin to put away one’s wife without divorce papers, “except for the cause of fornication.” Those who assume that Jesus was putting away the law of Moses have used this verse to argue that adultery is a lawful cause for divorce. But that is not exactly what Jesus said.

Adultery is one form of fornication. Fornication is a general word that means an unlawful union. Certainly, adultery is one type of unlawful union, but there are others as well. The most common form of fornication is prostitution, where a man has sexual relations with an unmarried woman in violation of the law in Exodus 22:16 and 17,

16 And if a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.

The dowry in those days was normally 50 shekels of silver, which equated to about 100 days’ wages at common labor. This was the fine for such fornication. In that case the redeemer of blood (her father) had the right to demand that the man marry his daughter, but this was not mandatory either. Ideally, he would consult with the both of them, rather than force his daughter into a bad marriage.

The fine itself was quite heavy, but no more than an ordinary dowry that a man might expect to pay when getting married. The dowry, by the way, was essentially a trust fund, managed by her father or guardian, in case her husband should die or if her husband were to divorce her. The fund served as both alimony and child support, except that it was given before the marriage began.

By doing business her father or guardian could increase the fund over the years, while she herself bore children. That way, if her husband died or divorced her, the trust fund would have increased to support her and the children as well.

If a young woman committed fornication in those days, the dowry was important, because not many men would want to marry her after this. Almost certainly a man would not pay 50 shekels of silver for a non-virgin. Hence, the price of a dowry paid by her previous lover meant that a future husband would not have to pay for her trust fund.

Now the point of this is to show that the most common form of fornication did not require the death penalty. The verdict of the law was to pay a fine and to separate, or stop committing the sin.

Another type of fornication is found in the story of Esau. Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau a fornicator, but we have no biblical record that he ever visited prostitutes. Genesis 26:34 says only that he married Hittite wives, which went against the wishes of his parents. His Hittite wives were probably unbelievers, and if Esau had been a true believer, he would have been “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14, KJV).

The law says in Deuteronomy 6:14 and 15,

14 You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 15 You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.

The spiritual principle here applies to unlawful unions in our relationship with others. While there is a practical reason why an ox and an ass should not pull the same plow, this law was really intended to reveal the mind of Christ about human relationships. It was not really about oxen or donkeys or fabric. Those were just physical applications that illustrated spiritual and prophetic principles.

A third example of fornication is found in 1 Cor. 5:1,

1 It is actually reported that there is immorality [porneia, “fornication”] among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.

This was a case of incest, which was unlawful according to Deut. 22:30, “a man shall not take his father’s wife.” This is confirmed also in Lev. 18:8 in the list of relationships that God considers to be incestuous. Someone in the Corinthian church was guilty of this, and Paul calls it porneia, “fornication.”

Finally, in Jude 7 we read of “fornication” that was practiced in Sodom and Gomorrah,

7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality [ekporneuo, “fornication”] and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal (aionian) fire.

From the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:5, we know that this “fornication” was homosexual relations. Jude indicates that this sin is particularly grievous, using the enhanced form of the porneia. The NASB translates it “gross immorality.”

None of these examples of fornication were to be resolved by divorce. Prostitution and unlawful marriage require separation, or “putting away.” Adultery calls for the death penalty (Deut. 22:22). Incest is punished by the offenders being “cut off from among their people” (Lev. 18:29), that is, by exile from the Kingdom. Homosexual relations is punishable by death (Lev. 20:13), although as usual, repentance can provide the basis of forgiveness.

Thus, when Jesus says that one can only “put away” his wife if fornication is involved, He was saying that those who engaged in an unlawful union did not need a written divorce before separation. Even Adulterers were first required to separate and cease from their illicit relationship, even before a court of law might later require the death penalty.

A writ of divorce is necessary only when a marriage is ending. Fornication of all kinds, whether adultery, incest, prostitution, or homosexual relationships are not recognized by God’s law and are therefore unlawful unions. To this list we may add the sin of bestiality (Exodus 22:19). Hence, such relationships need no divorce papers, because they were never lawfully married in the first place.

This is why Jesus made an exception for fornication in Matt. 5:32. He was saying that men were not allowed to put away their sexual partners without divorce papers, except obviously in cases of “fornication,” where the law did not recognize their relationship as a lawful marriage in the first place. Reading this in reverse, we can say that in all cases of fornication, the solution is not divorce but separation.

The bottom line is that while divorce was not even an option prior to Adam’s sin, it had to be allowed in later times. God never took divorce lightly, and certainly couples should not exercise such an option without serious cause. Even then, they must be led by the Spirit, as in everything.

God’s Divorce from Israel

Few Christians today understand that God has been married, divorced, and remarried. He was first married at Mount Sinai to the nation of Israel. The prophets always treated the Covenant as a marriage covenant. This is especially clear in the book of Hosea, where the prophet was called to marry Gomer, a prostitute, picturing God’s unhappy marriage with the House of Israel. God’s wife committed adultery with false gods during most of their history in the land of Canaan. Israel would not be an adulterer if she had not been married to God.

And so Jeremiah speaks of the writ of divorce that God gave to Israel in 3:8,

8 And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.

Hosea echoes this as well, saying in Hosea 2:2, “she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.” Yet the promises of God show that God intended to remarry her. Isaiah 62:4, 5 prophesies,

4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called, “My Delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; for the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.

With such glorious promises of remarriage, the problem was that the law forbade a man to take back his former wife, once she had remarried another man. Deut. 24:3, 4 says,

3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

Jeremiah understood this problem as well, because just before telling us that God gave Israel a writ of divorce, he mentioned this prohibition in verse 1, saying,

1 God says, “If a husband divorces his wife, and she goes from him, and belongs to another man, will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted?” [i.e., if God remarried her]

Thus, in light of God’s divorce it was difficult to see how God could fulfill His promises to Israel. They did not understand, of course, that Israel’s ex-husband, Yahweh, known later as Jesus Christ, would die on the cross and be raised in newness of life as a New Creation Man. When He was raised from the dead, He was legally a different person and eligible to marry whom He pleased.

With the restriction removed, Jesus Christ was free to remarry Israel. However, there was another problem that yet needed to be resolved. He had already experienced a bad marriage and did not intend to go through the same bad experience again. And so He must wait until His prospective bride can share a New Covenant relationship with Him, wherein there is perfect agreement and no need for divorce.

Because Christ’s Old Covenant marriage ended in divorce, it is plain that divorce itself is not a sin, but a judgment for sin. In this case Israel’s adultery brought about the divorce. This divorce was more than a mere separation, for even He could not take her back, once she had gone after other husbands (gods). The divorce was real.

Yet Christ found a lawful way to remarry Israel. That way was to die and be raised as a New Creation Man. Furthermore, this benefitted not only the ex-Israelites in dispersion, but also the whole world, as we learn in Romans 11:12-15. The divorce leveled the playing field, as it were, putting Israel on the same legal status as the rest of the nations.

Over the centuries, Christ has been rebuilding the nation of Israel, not only with genealogical ex-Israelites, but with all who are of the household of faith. Regardless of one’s ethnicity, all are granted citizenship in His house, or Kingdom, in the same manner. It is all by faith in His provision on the cross. It is not a matter of genealogy, but of legal citizenship.

Thus, Israel is the bride of Christ, but this is not exclusive of anyone on account of genealogy, for anyone may become a citizen of the Kingdom of God, if they have faith and if they declare their allegiance to Jesus Christ. Isaiah 45:23 says that in the end everyone will qualify for citizenship:

23 I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will swear allegiance.

When we understand the divine plan, we can see how the laws of divorce and remarriage fit into that plan. Because of sin, God made provision for divorce. God then married Israel at Sinai in an Old Covenant relationship. This type of relationship was not the kind that God intended from the beginning, for God had married a bondwoman (Hagar), and God wanted a better relationship.

So it was always in the divine plan that this original marriage would come to an end, in order that God might remarry under better circumstances. This better marriage comes only through the New Covenant, and no one can now be married to Christ apart from the New Covenant.

Throughout all of this, we see the law fulfilled and not set aside. Divorce is not a sin, nor is it adultery to remarry. But in following the law, one must be led by the Spirit, lest we exercise the right of divorce without a valid cause. Likewise, one should not remarry without being led by the Spirit, lest we become unequally yoked.

These are the laws of marriage, summarized by the Seventh Commandment. As Creator, God has the right to determine the lawfulness of any union, including marriage. He also has the right to end any unlawful union or to put an end to a bad marriage.