Malachi 2:16 and Mark 10

It is a sad fact that most people want to hear what is comforting to them over what is truth. Hearing doctrines that one has heard since childhood is comforting. Hearing something new for most people can be distressing.

We visited a church in Tennessee one Sunday morning and heard a lesson on Malachi 2:16. It was the typical “God Hates Divorce” lesson. After the congregation was dismissed to Sunday school I went up to the preacher and asked him if he knew that Malachi 2:16 does not say “God Hates Divorce” in the Hebrew. He said that he knew that to be the case. I told him that it was dishonest to preach “God Hates Divorce” when the original text does not teach that. His response was that it was alright to preach it since he believed that there were other verses that supported his message. I told him that he should use the 0ther verses and not distort what any verse says.

I just left it at that, but I did ask him what other verse taught that God hates divorce. He mentioned Mark 10. I was unable to challenge him on it, but what Mark 10 teaches is an extension of Malachi 2 in the original language, not what he preached.

Malachi and Mark teach that God hates separation with out divorce which is quite different. Men were forcing their wives out onto the street and then taking other wives. They knew they had no justification to divorce their wives so they just kicked them out. The women became separated from their husbands, not divorced, they were only put away. Then when their separated wife went to be with another man she and her new husband became adulterers. God then counted the original husband guilty as well as he was the one who caused it to happen. This is what the phrase “commits adultery against her” found in Mark 10:11 means.

Much of the misunderstanding comes from not knowing the proper definition of the word adultery and some simple logic as well. I have stated it elsewhere, but the marital type of adultery is adulteration of the husband’s seed with another man’s seed in the wife. That is why it is called adultery, because there is a mixing of seed.

I did happen to mention the false teaching to a couple of people and it ended up getting mentioned in the adult class I attended. The people who heard it were more distressed that someone was questioning their preacher than the idea that he might have taught a lie. Actually then regardless of who is right about any subject the preacher in some churches has the final say, not scripture.

Tim

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