A Great Need in the Kingdom
I understand like never before what the prophets of old meant when they said “the burden of the word of the Lord came unto me.” The word of the Lord is a burden when it is important and those to whom the message is to be given may not want to receive it.
Every soul is precious to God. Jesus warned the apostles regarding “offending one of these little ones that believe in me.” That message wasn’t to the multitudes; it was to the apostles.
Is it right that either workers or saints treat any of our brethren, as though they do not belong in fellowship with the rest of us? Our own salvation is wrapped up in how we treat the least in the kingdom of God. How is it that those who have shown mercy, kindness, and forgiveness to those who are considered the least in the kingdom, have also been put out of fellowship? We are responsible for our own actions before God and cannot afford to rely on the example of some who have brought in laws based on personal opinion.
There are some workers who have deemed those who are divorced, and those who are divorced and remarried, as the least in the Kingdom of God. It is necessary to consider what Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-46. Do we really think we can escape the judgment of God when we have done despite (contemptuous treatment; insult) to any in the kingdom? Do we really think we can escape the judgment of God when our words and actions have imprisoned others?
Read Luke 22:14-21 regarding Jesus’ last day before he was crucified. He knew from the beginning that Judas would betray him, but he in no way betrayed Judas… he loved him to the end. This is our example…to love the sheep until the end. Jesus did not judge, label, or punish Judas. He did not in any way limit or prevent Judas from partaking of the bread and wine. Jesus was the only pure one (and he said “I came not to judge), and he is the only one with the right to prevent another from partaking of the emblems–of himself.
Even if those who are divorced and remarried have sinned Jesus’ example is that we ought not to forbid them from partaking fully in the fellowship meeting. How can we justify doing this when Jesus allowed, even encouraged, Judas to partake?
“Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? As for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them: Behold, I, even I will judge between fat cattle and between lean cattle. Because ye have thrust with side and shoulder and pushed all the diseased with your horns till he have scattered them abroad.”
None can in any way afford to foul the pure water of the word of God, the pure water of Christ’s example, but this practice has and does foul the pure water–and this is the water that the sheep of his pasture must drink in the places where this law has been instituted and upheld.
Judgment must begin at the house of God… it begins with the workers. Workers are very responsible for their words, their actions, their examples before the people of God. Please read all of Ezekiel 34 & Matthew 23. (Mt. 23 is a message to the Pharisees, but it is also warning to workers. Jesus often warned about the leaven of the Pharisees.)
Please, pray earnestly concerning all of these things. We all need to be humbly praying that this practice will be put aside. No one can afford to delay in dealing justly and humbly with this issue. It requires expediency and all of your attention because your own soul’s salvation and the souls of all those you preach to are wrapped up in this.
Workers have never had the right to do the work of the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life. As workers, you are servants, not lords. One thing that the early Apostles struggled with was this matter of being the greatest, or being lords, over God’s heritage.
When Jesus told Peter that “Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat,” then he told him that he had prayed for him that his faith would fail not, and he told him when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” I believe that this conversion was from being a “lord” to being a servant. Peter was being a “lord” when he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant When Jesus said to him in John 21, “Peter, lovest thou me more than these? If you are a shepherd you will feed the Iambs and sheep ALL of the Iambs and sheep. Peter, you aren’t greater than these you are a servant…you serve.” We have only one Lord. If any workers are “lords, they rob the one true Lord. Jesus also asked the apostles. ‘Who is greater him that sitteth at meat or him that serveth?’ The answer was him that sitteth at meat. Jesus said, “I am among you as one that serveth.” If the son of God served, how can any worker take the place of a lord or attitude of a lord…that they are better than the flock they serve?
Possible Indications that some have crossed the line between being a servant and a lord:
Forbidding even the least in the kingdom to take part in meeting or in the emblems
Teaching that when a worker leaves they are stepping down to a lower place
Forbidding to marry, or to remarry
Forbidding from moving somewhere, taking a certain job, a joining the military
Telling someone they are condemned to hell
Searching closets and homes that have been opened to the workers
Rarely visiting those who are divorced, or looking on them in a condescending manner
Feeling that workers are above reproach
Forbidding those elders who feel it is wrong to keep the least from taking part in the meeting from following the Holy Spirit
Taking meetings out of the homes of those elders who are following the Holy Spirit
Refusing to speak at a wedding (when workers are asked to speak, it is to offer spiritual support, not judgment)
Staying in the homes of the rich or well-known much more than in the homes of the poor or lesser-known persons
Arranging special privileges repeatedly for the rich while overlooking others for privileges (this is respect of persons)
Please diligently, prayerfully and humbly examine your own self in this very serious matter. Jesus in Revelations 2:2 commended the church at Ephesus for trying those who say they are apostles–we each need to compare our spirits alongside the spirit of Christ in all matters. If it doesn’t line up with Christ in all things, then we are missing the mark. May each pray humbly and earnestly for a revelation of God’s mind in this matter, not anyone else’s ideas. To those who think you can keep silence in the midst of this and other needs: Oppression thrives in silence.
I believe in miracles, and I am praying for workers specifically because every soul is precious in God’s eyes. I believe that any who now are lords in their actions, words, and spirits can be converted even as Peter was converted. When you are converted, strengthen your brethren.
Remember what Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Those are powerful words, and it is foolish to ignore them.
We are thankful for the shepherds who are true shepherds.
Shepherds care for the sheep, ALL of the sheep.
Shepherds bind up the wounds of those who are bruised and broken. They don’t beat them. Shepherds search for the lost, all the lost, not a select few.
Shepherds love the sheep and would give their very life for any and all of the sheep, not a select few.
RE: Divorce and Scripture
This letter has been in the making for about two years. This study was the result of learning about a man who was divorced and remarried being told that he couldn’t even go to meeting. A short time later this led him to commit suicide.
In the case of the children of Israel bringing the Ark of the Covenant home, and when Uzzah reached out his hand and touched the ark and was stricken dead. Yes, it was God that smote him, but when there is a death under circumstances like these, it is appropriate, to go back and examine the scripture. Were the restrictions that were put upon him too heavy to bear? I know assuredly if I were in his ~ I have no doubt that the restrictions would be too much to bear.
From the outset, I put a great deal of thought and prayer into this subject and the writing of this letter. My earnest prayer and desire was to learn what God’s mind is regarding divorce and remarriage. I feel a bit like Abraham when he came before the Lord to intercede on the behalf of Lot and any righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham felt it important to intercede, and at the same time, he approached the Lord in all humility. I want to convey my desire to intercede, but also that you would know that it is with all humility.
It is often preached in the gospel meetings that the way of God is the same everywhere, when in fact, it is not. This has been disconcerting to many faithful saints and faithful elders and to a number of workers as well. Our young people are especially confused by the inconsistencies. Our young people are traveling a great deal more, and are very much aware that in some places it is okay to be divorced and remarried and take part in meetings and in some places, it is not okay.
Even in the West, there are some that are divorced and remarried and are being allowed to take part while other members of the same extended family are not allowed to do so. This shows “respect of persons”, which is something that Jesus and Paul advised against. The very fact that there isn’t agreement brings to light that something isn’t right about this. In light of this, we need to delve into the scripture and make a real earnest study of this and pray and seek out the mind of God in this matter. This issue has become a heavy burden, not just on those who are divorced, but also upon those who meet with them, on our young people, and the workers who are troubled by such a law.
Do we change things of this? Yes, but only if it is scripturally sound. I have endeavored through prayer and reading to seek only the mind of God in this matter, not mine own, nor some man’s idea-only God’s. I have done a lot of searching, and what I have learned is that God hates a man “putting away” his wife, and not supporting her. That is not divorce, but separation without divorce. The reason God would hate that so much is that a wife was to be supported by her husband even if they were separated. But because of the hardness of the husband’s heart, he dealt treacherously with her and did not support her. God through Moses let it be known that that was not what he wanted. So God commanded the steps that a man needed to take to divorce his wife: Deuteronomy 24: 1-3. 1. Let him write a bill of divorcement; 2. Put it in her hand, 3. Send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. That is very clear, isn’t it?
A marriage can be dissolved by divorce, and God does recognize this fact. God Himself put away Israel and gave her a bill of divorce. God said in Jeremiah 3:8: And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and give her a bill of divorce…”
Jesus said a “put away” woman commits adultery when she marries. So perhaps it is vitally important that we understand just what was meant by “put away”.
If a husband and wife get into a fight and the woman screams: “Get out! I hate you! I don’t EVER want to see you again!” are they divorced? If he leaves, as she commanded, has she divorced him? The answer really is obvious, isn’t it? This sort of thing happens with couples all the time. Usually, after they cool down they reconcile. If this putting away were the same as divorce, they would be divorced. So, it apparent that a “sent away” spouse who did not receive a “bill of divorcement” is not divorced -not according to Moses and not according to the law of our land.
God in his mercy gave a three-part procedure for divorce: 1) “write a bill of divorcement”; 2) “put it into her hand,” and 3) “send her out of the house,” Deuteronomy 24: 1. The following verse says: “And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.” Without the bill of divorcement, there was no divorce–at least not according to God’s definition.
Actually, when you look carefully at the wording of Deut 24: 1-2 and Mark 10:3-5 it becomes evident that the “bill of divorcement” was a command–meaning it was an essential part of the divorce procedure. And we know that God said, “Let not man” put asunder. Man cannot end a marriage his way (which is the putting away), but he can do it God’s way. Man’s way results in “treachery” (Mal. 2:14-16) and adultery (Matt. 19:9). According to Moses, the “bill of divorcement” allowed the woman to “go be another man’s wife.” Without it she could not do so—it would be adultery. Why? Because they would still be married.
Even in our society, it is very difficult for a woman to support herself and her children, most often they end up living in poverty. Additionally trying to raise children under those circumstances in the way of God, is not like really raising them in the truth because many workers will not even visit a family with a single mother or a single father at the head of the house. So the children grow up with scarcely knowing what it is like having workers in the home. Some children from a certain family, who had expressed a desire to make their choice and the older brother in the field was contacted regarding this. He refused to come and visit those children. Those children’s souls were not important to him because he apparently despised their divorced mother. Is this the spirit Christ manifested? (John 8 would tell us otherwise.)
Malachi 2 makes it very clear that God hates the treachery of a husband who puts her away (putting-away and not supporting her.) In reality, the law of not permitting those who are divorced to re-marry in essence has brought the treachery that God hates, back into the picture. Treachery, not only because of not having the emotional, physical and monetary support and help of a husband, but also the treachery of very often not having the spiritual support and emotional support of many of the Workers who will scarcely acknowledge those who are divorced. That treachery is also carried out by many of the saints who seldom, if ever, invite divorced individuals to their homes, and feel justified in so doing because of the obvious attitude of many of the workers towards those who are divorced.
Spiritually, where does this leave those who have dealt treacherously against those who are divorced and those who are divorced and remarried? Jesus said to the lawyers in Luke 11:46 “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.” This law is a grievous burden upon the kingdom. Now is the time for this grievous burden to be lifted! A very wise and godly older sister made this statement. “You can not lay down laws for God’s people; those who are willing will become self-righteous, and those who aren’t willing will become rebellious.”
So what about the fact that the Bible says in Matthew 5:32 that whosoever marries her that is divorced commits adultery? A closer look at the Greek text shows that a literal translation in that verse would be “whosoever shall marry her that is put away commits adultery.” The Greek word apoluo, Strong’s Concordance No. 630, is used here and for some reason was translated “divorced” instead of “put away.”
The King James Bible translators were not consistent in translating apoluo as “put away” or “send away’ or “sent away” as they did more than 25 times in other verses. In fact, apoluo appears in the Greek Textus Receptus (from which the King James Version was translated) more than 65 times—but was translated “divorce” only once, and that was in Matthew 5:32.
For example, in the American Standard Version (1901). Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (1893), and The Interlinear Greek-English New translated by Jay P. Green. The margin note in The Geneva Bible translated from the Textus Receptus in 1560 (about 50 years before the KJY) concerning the term “put away” said, “that is, was not lawfully divorced.”
Jesus did not say whosoever shall marry her that has been given a bill of divorce (biblion, 975 and apostasion, 647) commits adultery, but rather whosoever shall marry her that has been put away (apoluo, 630) commits adultery (Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Lk. 16:18).
Likewise, Jesus did not say whosoever shall give a bill of divorce (biblion, 975 and apostasion, 647) to his wife causes her to commit adultery but rather whosoever shall put away (apoluo, 630) his wife (except for fornication) causes her to commit adultery (Mt. 5:32).
And Jesus did not say whosoever shall give his wife a bill of divorce (biblion, 975 and apostasion, 647) and marry another commits adultery ~ but rather whosoever shall put away (apoluo, 630) his wife (except for fornication) and shall marry another commits adultery (Mt.19:9; Lk. 16: 18).
And Jesus did not say if a woman shall give her husband a bill of divorce (biblion, 975 and apostasion, 647) and be married to another she commits adultery, but rather if a woman shall put away (apoluo, 630) her husband and be married to another she commits adultery (Mk. 10:12).
One more thought: Last night I dreamed a dream and when I awoke it was very vivid and I believe that God gave me this dream as a parable to share with you. In my dream I was at a dinner with a number of people and workers in a large rambling home. There were several tables in different rooms with people eating dinner. At my table was an elderly brother worker in his 80’s (he has long labored overseas), after dinner he stood up and said, “I sat too long.” He was in pain and weak and he soon collapsed to the floor. I ran to him, and held his head and shoulders up. I needed help carrying him to his room. One by one some of the brothers came forward and looked but made an excuse about not carrying him and backed away. After a long time when no one would come to help me carry him, I picked him up and carried him by myself down a long hall into another part of the house through another dining room and kitchen and finally reached his bedroom and laid him down. When I awoke this morning, I was so amazed that no one was willing to help me carry the burden of this weak brother. Then I realized it was a parable. The question is: Will you be willing to help lift the burden of your weaker brethren, or will you make some excuse and just back away after seeing the burden and the need at hand?
This letter has gotten long. I am sending it anonymously because I want the readers to keep their focus on the subject, not the writer. The subject is important, the writer is not.
Please feel free to make additional copies as needed.
Copies to: [Workers]
It is tedious to list all the workers that this has been sent to. I have opted not to do so.[Author unknown]