A: In Daniel 4, king Nebuchadnezzar tells Daniel about a dream. The king had seen “a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.” (verse 13). This “watcher” had proclaimed “a decision” that had been made “by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that […]Continue reading "Q: Would you please explain who the "watchers" are that are mentioned in Daniel 4?"
Q. Is Deuteronomy 24:1-4 still applicable today, prohibiting a divorced wife, who married a second husband, to return to her first husband?
A. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 reads, “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after 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 is giving you as an inheritance.”
We need to understand several principles when dealing with questions such as these, relating to divorce and remarriage.
(1) Marriage between two truly converted Christian partners
Quoting from our booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families,” page 2, “God wants our marriages to succeed. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16)… Two truly converted married Christians (as long as both remain alive and converted throughout their marriage to each other) must never divorce and subsequently marry somebody else! Their marriage, which has been bound by God, is for life (1 Corinthians 7:10-11; Romans 7:1-3; Luke 16:18).”
From this it follows that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 would not be applicable today, IF the (first) “divorce” occurred, while both parties were and remained to be converted. The converted husband cannot unbind today a valid marriage to a converted wife by writing her a certificate of divorce (compare Matthew 19:7-9). In God’s eyes, such a “divorce” is not accepted, and husband and wife are still “bound” or married to each other (compare, again, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11). They can separate, but they cannot marry someone else. They either have to remain “single,” or they have to unite again and continue their marriage relationship.
(2) Marriage between a truly converted Christian and an “Unbeliever”
What about a situation, however, when the mate becomes or is an “unbeliever”? We continue quoting from our booklet:
“Even in such a case, divorce and subsequent remarriage is not Biblically permitted, unless the ‘unbelieving mate’ departs from the marriage, by not fulfilling his or her marriage duties, and the ‘unbeliever’ is no longer willing to live with the converted mate (cp. 1 Corinthians 7:12-16). Such total departure from the marriage by the ‘unbeliever’ can be seen in serious continuous violations of his or her marriage duties and responsibilities, such as the sinful practice of ‘sexual immorality’ (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:9). But even then, counseling with one of God’s ministers is highly recommended, with the goal to restore, rather than to sever, the marriage.”
Applying this principle to Deuteronomy 24:1-4, if husband and wife divorced because the wife is or became an unbeliever and departed from the marriage (which might be indicated, in principle, by the fact that the husband found “some uncleanness in her”), then the husband is free to remarry (The same would apply, of course, to a wife, that is, the wife would be free to remarry if the husband is an unbeliever and departs from the marriage.) It needs to be emphasized that this would only be the case, however, if the unbelieving mate is no longer pleased to dwell with the believer and departs from the marriage relationship. As long as the unbeliever is pleased to dwell with the believer, the believer cannot sever the marriage. (The only exception would be “fraud at the time of the marriage” — that is, when one partner conceals essential facts about him-or herself from his or her future mate. In such a case, God would not bind a marriage to begin with, and the deceived mate, upon discovery of the fraud, would be free to leave such a relationship. Such departure, though, has to occur immediately upon discovery of the fraud).
Further, the converted mate would only be free to remarry “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39), that is, to a “believer” (compare Ezrah 10:10-11 — that is, to someone who has truly repented of his or her sins of transgressing God’s Ten Commandments; who has believed in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for his or her sins; and who has become baptized as an outward sign of inner repentance). Unless the divorced wife, whose subsequent marriage has also ended (see under #4), comes to or returns to the faith as a true believer, the first husband could not remarry her.
(3) Marriage between two unconverted partners
But let us suppose that the divorce took place while both parties were still unconverted. As we came to understand in 1975, God looks at the status of the person when he or she is called into the truth. If a “divorced” person is called by God in that state of his or her divorce, he or she is not required to return to the former mate (who may not be converted and who may be remarried) –compare the principles described in 1 Corinthians 7:20-24. Rather, such a person, upon conversion, is free to marry a converted partner.
(4) Can the converted mate re-marry the (now) converted mate?
The question arises, however, in light of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, whether the converted husband is free to remarry the (now) converted wife (or vice versa), if the wife had been married in the meantime to another partner. Several Biblical principles suggest that he could remarry his first wife, if she is also free to marry, and that therefore, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 would not be applicable today in such cases:
The main principle is that God wants a marriage restored, rather than broken up. Using a spiritual parallel to this example, although God makes it clear that He, as a converted husband, would not receive back His first unconverted wife Israel, as long as she remains unconverted, “playing the harlot” (Jeremiah 3:1-5), He WILL marry her upon her repentance and conversion (since Christ will marry spiritual Israel upon His return). Some have suggested that Christ was only free to remarry His former wife, because He died — thereby bringing the marriage relationship to an end. However, Christ did state that He gave His first wife a bill of divorce. In addition, we need to understand that the concept of Christ, being married to ancient Israel, and going to marry spiritual Israel, is an analogy. One cannot carry an analogy too far, of course, since Christ made clear that in the resurrection, we will not marry or be given in marriage — literally. Also, not only Christ died, but we too, upon our conversion, “died” in a spiritual sense, and although we are already “betrothed” to Christ right now, Christ will only consummate our marriage with Him, when we are fully Spirit, like He is.
Still, the analogy shows us certain principles. Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever, is willing to take back His unconverted wife and “marry” her again, upon her conversion, even though she married other men and played the harlot in the meantime. This would show, then, that a converted husband is free to remarry his converted wife, even though his wife was married to another man in the meantime, as long as the wife is also free to remarry her first husband (or vice versa).
(a) This is clearly the case when the second husband dies (Deuteronomy 24:3).
(b) This is also the case when the unconverted wife divorces from her second unconverted husband prior to her conversion (see under #3).
(c) This would NOT be the case, however, if the wife becomes converted, while married to her second unconverted husband (see under #3). With her conversion, God accepts her in the state in which she is, that is, as a woman married to her second husband. Unless the second husband dies or is an unbeliever who is not any longer pleased to dwell with his wife (see under #2), the wife would not be free to sever that
Q: Please explain Leviticus 25:1-7, especially the apparent discrepancy between verses 4 and 5 and verses 6 and 7.
A: Leviticus 25:1-7 reads:
“(1) And the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, (2) ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the LORD. (3) Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; (4) but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. (5) What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. (6) And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, (7) for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land – all its produce shall be for food.”‘”Continue reading "Q: Please explain Leviticus 25:1-7, especially the apparent discrepancy between verses 4 and 5 and verses 6 and 7."
Q: Would you please explain Leviticus 19:17?
A: Leviticus 19:17 states, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.” Other translations render this, “…so that you do not share in his guilt,” or, “participate in his sin.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, ed. 1961, […]Continue reading "Q: Would you please explain Leviticus 19:17?"
In the book of Daniel, the "Ancient of Days" is mentioned three times. Does this description refer only to the Father, or also to Jesus Christ?
The specific term, “Ancient of Days,” is used in Daniel 7:9, 13, and 22. As with the term “Yahweh” (see the Q&A in our Update of November 29), it seems to be referring to both the Father and Jesus Christ. In Daniel 7:9-14, we read that “thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of […]Continue reading "In the book of Daniel, the "Ancient of Days" is mentioned three times. Does this description refer only to the Father, or also to Jesus Christ?"
When the Old Testament speaks about the LORD ("Yahweh"), Whom is it talking about? Some claim it's referring to the "Father"; others say, it's referring to "Jesus Christ." Who is right?
Both are correct.
In most cases, when using the expression, “the LORD” [“Yahweh” in the Hebrew, basically meaning “The Eternal” or “The Everliving One”], the Old Testament refers to the One Who later became known as the Son, Jesus Christ. There are statements, however, which use the expression “Yahweh” for the One Who later became known as “the Father.” This also proves that both the Father and Jesus Christ have always been God beings, and that the Old Testament teaches that there is more than just one God being.
Notice Jeremiah 23:5-6, which uses the term “Yahweh” for both God beings in the same context:
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD [Yahweh], ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD [Yahweh] OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'”Continue reading "When the Old Testament speaks about the LORD ("Yahweh"), Whom is it talking about? Some claim it's referring to the "Father"; others say, it's referring to "Jesus Christ." Who is right?"
Who created the "tree of knowledge of good and evil," mentioned in Genesis 2? If it was God, how can God tempt man to sin by creating something which is evil?
The Bible teaches that God creates both good and “evil.” Isaiah 45:7 reads (quoted from the Authorized Version throughout), “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” We are also being told in Jeremiah 6:19, “Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not harkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.” (The New King James Bible translates the Hebrew word for “evil” with “calamity” in both passages. The Hebrew word (“ra”) is the same, though, as used in Genesis 2 to describe the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.)
Originally, God created Lucifer as a perfect being (Ezekiel 28:15), but he was created with the freedom to choose.This meant that Lucifer, by necessity, could and might turn to evil. God, then, created Lucifer with that potential. In the same way, God created man as a free moral agent. He also created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in order to give man the opportunity to choose life and to reject evil and death (compare Deuteronomy 30:19). Later, Jesus Christ, who gave up His divine attributes to become a human being like us (John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:14-18), had to “know” or to learn how to “refuse the evil” (Isaiah 7:14-16; compare Hebrews 4:15). He never sinned, but He had to struggle against sin, and He “learned obedience [or, how to obey in temptation] by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:6-8).Continue reading "Who created the "tree of knowledge of good and evil," mentioned in Genesis 2? If it was God, how can God tempt man to sin by creating something which is evil?"
In a recent publication from another Church of God organization, Christian participation in certain wars fought by humans is condoned and even advocated. Regarding Luke 22:36-38, it is stated, "Jesus warned his disciples of perilous times to come.
These are not the words of a pacifist.” Could you please explain this passage in light of your strong stance against Christian participation in war?
A: Luke 22:35-38 reads in context:
“And He said to them, ‘When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?’ So they said, ‘Nothing.’ [God took care of them.] Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” For the things concerning Me have an end.’ So they said: ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them: ‘It is enough.'”Continue reading "In a recent publication from another Church of God organization, Christian participation in certain wars fought by humans is condoned and even advocated. Regarding Luke 22:36-38, it is stated, "Jesus warned his disciples of perilous times to come."
What are the Biblical principles enjoining us not to serve on a jury?
There are different Biblical principles involved. We believe that the following will best express our religious convictions against participating in jury duty:
A true Christian is a stranger, alien and exile (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13) while here on earth; an ambassador for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20); and a representative of God’s Kingdom. As such, and in being a light to the world by proper conduct (Matthew 5:14-16), a true Christian does not take part in this world’s governmental or political affairs, as presently, it is not God who rules this earth, but Satan the devil (Revelation 2:13; Luke 4:5-6). Christians are challenged to come out of the governmental and political systems of this world. Christ, knowing that God’s Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), refused to judge a civil matter when He was asked to do so (Luke 12:14). Paul, likewise, condemned judging those “who are outside” the church (1 Corinthians 5:12).Continue reading "What are the Biblical principles enjoining us not to serve on a jury?"
Are there any scriptures that show the Holy Spirit is symbolized with oil?
There are many passages that convey and support the understanding that oil is used biblically as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. For instance, we read in Mark 6:13 that Christ had His disciples anoint sick people with oil, and they were healed. We know that Christ healed the sick with the power of the […]Continue reading "Are there any scriptures that show the Holy Spirit is symbolized with oil?"