A friend and I were in the same boat. We started in the Church where we were equally yoked with our husbands. All was well. But then we saw that Torah observance had not passed away … and yet our husbands did not see the same thing we did. Two wives, both Torah followers, trying our best to teach and model Torah truth to our children, with our husbands at best, out of the picture, and at worst, in active opposition. Why are so many wives in this same boat?
She raised the question of the next loophole that comes up in Scripture:
“Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.” Deu 7:3
When do you decide it is a lost cause, and separate from your husband, she wanted to know, since an unequally yoked marriage is unbiblical in the first place? Her assumption was that since her husband wasn’t a Torah follower, then he must be an unbeliever.
This is a sticky topic, and we have to rightly divide the Word of truth in order to discern it. We have seen what the Scripture says about the Law of marriage, so now let us see what the Scripture says about unequally yoked marriages.
The decree is that God worshipers are not yoked to idol worshipers; that followers of YHVH – who were Hebrews – are not yoked to followers of Ba’al or some other demonic entity – who was everyone else, the Gentiles. God makes no decree that His people cannot marry those who were Gentiles, but who have since joined themselves to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Look at the example of Rahab, a Canaanite woman (Jos 6, Mat 1:5), and Ruth, a Moabite woman (Ruth, Mat 1:5), both who joined themselves to YHVH and married Hebrew men, and became foremothers of Jesus the Messiah! But we are not to yoke ourselves to unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14), precisely because marriage is a permanent institution.
Now Israel fell into idolatry and paganism, and forgot God’s word, and intermarried with the people around them. For forsaking their covenant, Israel was taken away captive by Assyria, and Judah by Babylon. But Judah repented, and experienced a spiritual renewal and return to YHVH and to their covenant, and God returned them to the Promised Land. That is the situation we find in Ezra. In Ezra, when the children of Judah had returned to Israel, and had kept the Feast of Tabernacles, and Ezra read from the book of the Law, it was discovered that marrying with pagan women was prohibited. And so the men repented of taking pagan wives, and divorced them (Ezr 9-10).
It is my belief that the church at Corinth, reading this precedent, asked a question of Paul concerning mixed marriages. For when two people who are not Torah followers marry, they are not transgressing the command to not be unequally yoked. They are equally yoked. But if one of them, the husband or the wife, afterward meets Yeshua and experiences a spiritual renewal; if one of them wants to honor His commandments because they love Him (Joh 14:15), now the marriage is mixed. It did not begin that way, but one partner changed. This was the situation in the Corinthian church. So should the Corinthians, after the example of Ezra, divorce their unbelieving spouses?
1a) 1 Cor 7:1-7, To be free of the Law of rendering affection, remain unmarried:
1) 1 Cor 7:1-6, Let the husband and the wife render the affection that is due each other;
2) 1 Cor 7:7, I wish that all men were even as I myself;
1b) 1 Cor 7:8-9, To the unmarried and widows, remain unmarried, but it is not a sin to marry;
1c) 1 Cor 7:10-11, The commandment from the Lord for the married: do not divorce;
1d) 1 Cor 7:12-13, Believers, do not divorce your unbelieving spouses;
1e) 1 Cor 7:14, The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believing spouse;
central axis) 1 Cor 7:15, If the unbeliever departs, let him depart; God has called us to peace;
2e) 1 Cor 7:16, How do you know, O believer, whether you (your witness) will save your spouse;
2d) 1 Cor 7:17-24, Let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called;
2c) 1 Cor 7:25-27, Paul’s judgment (not the Lord’s commandment) for the unmarried: do not marry;
2b) 1 Cor 7:28-38, To remain unmarried is better, but marriage is not a sin;
2a) 1 Cor 7:39-40, A wife is bound by the Law of marriage, a widow is not:
1) 1 Cor 7:39, A wife is bound by Law as long as her husband lives;
2) 1 Cor 7:40, A widow is happier if she remains as she is.
Paul’s answer to them, is no (d pair). The Lord’s command is to be one flesh, and to not put asunder what YHVH has joined together. Were you married when your eyes were opened to the truth? Then remain in that state. If the unbeliever is content to live with the believer, then live together. Remember that upon marriage, the two become one, echad? Now they are no longer two, but one, Jesus said (Mat 19:6). In other words, the family as a unit (echad) becomes the lowest denomination that God saves (Exo 12:1-7, Act 16:31).
This is why even though one spouse is unbelieving, the believing spouse sanctifies the unbelieving, and their home and children. And the implication is, that given enough time, the witness of the believing spouse will open the door for repentance and salvation in the unbelieving spouse (1 Cor 7:16, 1 Pet 3:1-2).
In the case of abuse, addictions, or adultery, Paul’s advice is that if the woman leaves her husband, she is to remain unmarried or to reconcile with her husband (1 Cor 7:10-11). Dr. Phil this is not, but the unerring and enduring Word of God!
This is the truth from Torah and all of Scritpure that the Father emphasized to me over and over again, when my husband and I experienced disagreement: we were echad, one, and I was not to be the agent of division. I was to extend grace, and forgiveness, and love, and when I was tempted to focus on the speck in his eye (a favorite tactic of the enemy), to focus on the plank in my own instead (Mat 7:3-5). I was to with patience do good, and pray for him, and wait for his Damascus Road moment. I was to concern myself with serving his needs, and not my own. It is not written in the Scriptures that we are on this earth in order to be served, and that we are entitled to a comfortable life without hardship (Mat 20:28, Heb 11:32-40), but rather we are on this earth to witness His truth to the lost and unbelieving (Act 1:8)!
So many divorces take place within the body of Messiah because people are unwilling to be patient, endure self- sacrifice, and wait for the promise of the LORD’s salvation to come to pass! Let it not be so among us!
You see, I had to first learn how sacred our unity was, and how important it was for me to guard it against all comers, even those dressed in righteous- sounding robes. It was my first lesson of peace- keeping. But what of my own obedience to the Lord?
praying the right prayer for our marriage 2015 feb 27