Circular letter 12/2003
/ Ewald Frank
6. The special subject
It is God’s intention to clarify each Bible subject by the Holy Scripture itself. The destructive endeavours of the enemy, who twists every word in every situation, are executed with the intention to bring about confusion. That state of uncertainty must be over for ever. By grace and the teachings accompanied with divine revelation we were taken out of all confusion. Every subject, whether it is the Godhead, Baptism, LORD’S Supper, Return of Christ, Marriage, and so forth, was expounded clearly for all men of good will. No one — not even a preacher — knows the divine truth on his own. Even if one has all the references and all the quotations for a subject, we still do not know it, unless it is revealed. If we had already known all things, then the ministry of a prophet would have been sent in vain. God also would not have needed to appoint a servant. HE could have left each one of us where we had been. Revelation by the Holy Spirit, of course, is given only to those who humble themselves and acknowledge the ministries God placed into the Church and thereby submit themselves under God.
The apostle Paul was asked in a letter about this special subject (1.Cor. 7:1). And he replied to it. But what preceded it? That we find in chapter 5. Someone had taken his own stepmother for a wife. That was not only a sin and a transgression; that was something God had cursed. For so it is written, “Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife … ” (Dt.27:20). For Paul to hand such a man over to Satan is not surprising, neither is his order for believers not to eat with that person at the same table. This meets our full consent. This man was guilty of fornication and of adultery. To that situation Heb.13:4 applies, “Marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Then the apostle continues in chapter 7, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” (1.Cor.7:2).
At the time of Jesus Christ the Pharisees were the ones to set a trap for Him. Who is asking now? Is it someone in need or does it simply happen to fuel the discussion? Very piously the scribes were asking, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Mt.19:3). In Lk.16:17-18 our LORD emphasises, speaking to the Pharisees, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one title of the law to fail. ” Then He comes to the point, “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. ” In Mark 10:10-12 He gave the same answer to His disciples. The same matter is spoken of in the three gospels: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
The LORD unmistakably says in what way a husband is guilty in his own marriage, “That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Mt.5:32). A man who divorces his wife without the biblical reason of fornication is guilty of the adultery his wife commits when she remarries. Although a man, as the following scriptures confirm, generally cannot break his own marriage by a personal act, he is still guilty of the adultery his wife commits in regards to their own marriage; when he wilfully divorces his wife he shall be held responsible for her remarriage.
Let the following scriptures serve as final clarification on the subject. Thus saith the LORD, “thou shalt not commit adultery … thou shalt not covet thy neighbour ’s wife …” (Ex.20:14+17).
Thus saith the LORD, “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife …”(Lev.20:10).
Again thus saith the LORD, “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband … ” (Dt.22:22).
In the Hebrew language there is one word for a woman and another for a married woman, just as we find in the English language “woman” and “wife”. The original text in the following Scripture, as it is correctly found in the German translation and others, should read “wife” and not “woman”, “That whosoever looketh on a wife (woman) to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mt.5:28).
Not only Moses and the LORD Jesus, also the apostles Paul and Peter dealt with the subject of marriage. They pointed out the different roles of the man and of the woman. The Apostle Paul writes, for instance, that a married woman — even during the time of grace — is lawfully bound to her husband as long as he lives (Rom.7:2-3;1.Cor.7:39). Then he states, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” (1.Cor.7:10-11). The only exception is: “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases; but God has called us to peace. ”(1.Cor.7:15).
In Eph.5:21-33 and in 1.Tim.2:11-15 he speaks in detail about husband and wife. “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the LORD.” The Apostle Peter very briefly, but very profoundly, expounded the same subject (1.Pet.3:1-7). But nowhere do we find a summary in one single chapter. Thus it is ordained by God Almighty, so we need to search the Word of Truth to find the Scriptures applicable to the actual case. One thing is certain: All who are in a desperate situation and ask with sincerity will receive the right answer from the LORD. Whoever has a different motivation assumes to know all things already, but will never come to know them right. We all should work out our salvation in fear and trembling. Would it not be clean everywhere if all would sweep in front of their own doors? Everyone who is spared from the most terrible experience that can happen to a human being on earth should thank God daily on his knees.
Who would have ever thought that God has given the man specific rules to live by and also to the wife, which are binding for her? The roles must never be reversed, because they are set into a divine order. Under no circumstances can a wife assume authority over her husband (1.Tim.2:11- 15). It still remains the same, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God … Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (1.Cor.11:3-9). Preachers also could not make out this divine order, as they remained in the inherited tradition. Even Brother Branham admitted that he did not know it until the LORD revealed it to him.
Up till now there are still those in the message who find it hard to believe what the LORD so graciously revealed to His servant and prophet in harmony with the Old and the New Testament. There are those who derive from the exposition the absurd teaching of polygamy, the others remain imprisoned by old traditions. The subject is dealt with profoundly in the sermon “Marriage and divorce” and does not need further explanation. Only because of direct problems that were brought to my attention did I publish the brochure “Marriage — the ancient problem”. Whoever is personally affected may read these expositions and also apply the Scriptures used here under prayer. Surely the LORD God will give the needed clarity from His Holy Word.