Many people also incorrectly interpret another passage. Deut. 24:1-2 also incorporates the concept of betrothal. “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. Today, many people use this passage to state a man can divorce his wife and remarry. However, if that were true, then Deut. 24:1-2 would contradict Rom. 7:1-3, and 1 Cor. 7:39. Divorce is permitted during the betrothal period. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for uncleanness is “ervah,” Strong’s # is 6172. The definition refers especially to what Strong says is the “pudenda,” which is the old word for female genital (what we call today as the vulva or vagina). The woman was unclean because of a former sexual union to another man. Therefore, the man could divorce the woman. She could also remarry, and be another man’s wife (provided she didn’t marry a man whose wife was living). If one doesn’t incorporate the betrothal concept, then Deut. 24: 1-2 appears to be in contradiction to Rom. 7:1-3 and 1 Cor. 7:39, which states a woman can’t remarry if her former husband is alive.
Let’s see Deut. 24: 3-4, “And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” These verses state that if the man divorces his wife during the Betrothal period (because of uncleanness) and she remarries, he can’t remarry her- even if the latter husband has died.
However, let’s say a man divorces his covenant wife (they have been Biblically married) and later on he divorces her, and she marries another man. Can the first husband Biblically remarry her and not be in violation of Deut. 24:1-4? Although the woman remarried another man, God calls that marriage adultery (Rom. 7:1-3). In His eyes, it is not a marriage, but an adulterous relationship, as her covenant husband is still living. In God’s eyes, the woman is still married to her first husband; she still has a covenant bond with him (binding till death). Even if the first husband had also remarried another woman, he is also bound by covenant bond in marriage to his first wife. He can divorce his non-covenant wife and remarry his one-flesh covenant wife. Deut. 24:1-4 is not referring to a couple who were divorced after their one-flesh covenant bond had been established, as Gen 2:24 states, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” They become one-flesh after the man has married her in a Biblical marriage.
The following is a different example of Deut. 24:1-4. If the man discovered the woman was not a virgin- though she was never married or was married but her husband is deceased, he is not bound to automatically divorce her. Verse 1, “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.” If the man finds she is favored in his eyes, and does not wish to divorce her, because he truly loves her so much, then he does not have to automatically divorce her, even if she was married and divorced, provided that the husband is not living. God could have left off “find no favor in his eyes,” and then he is Biblically obligated to divorce her.
There is another matter that arises regarding divorce and remarriage, which needs to be seen in the light of other related scriptures. A woman was previously married and divorced; neither she nor the man (we will call him Mike) were Christians at that time. She later becomes a Christian, and remarries (we will call him Thomas), who is also a Christian and was never married. Would she now be considered Biblically married, or be in an adulterous relationship as Mike is still alive? It appears that according to Rom. 7:1-3, she is an adulteress. However, we need to be careful, and not make the mistake of taking a single scripture, and making it the whole picture. We need to see and understand the other related scriptures and see how they fit in harmony to each other. The answer is found in 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any man (or woman) be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The Word says she is a new creature- or a new creation. Therefore, in God’s eyes, she is a new person (new creature), and the past has passed away and doesn’t apply to her. Therefore, she is not bound to Mike.
This answer may appear too short and simple to be accepted by some. Consider this, if a non-Christian dies, will they go to heaven? The answer is NO. However, if they accept Jesus and live according to His grace, when that person dies, God accepts him (or her) into heaven. The person became a new creature because of Jesus’ atoning blood; they are a new creature- Heb. 10:17, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Their sinful past no longer binds them. The next 2-verses, of 2 Cor. 5, 18-19 expands this. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit (in the manner), that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” The same applies to the woman who was married to Mike; she is no longer bound to Mike. Therefore, in God’s eyes, her marriage to Thomas is Biblical a marriage, because she is a new creature (creation) and therefore is not an adulteress. Furthermore, in essence, Thomas has married a virgin, and they shall be one-flesh. If Thomas didn’t have sex since he became a Christian, then the woman has also married a virgin.
Let’s take this example further. If the woman years later separates from the man (e.g. his emotional abuse and anger), and he divorces her several years later, is she free in the Lord to remarry? Rom. 7:1-3 states that a remarriage when both of the spouses are alive is adultery (unless what is stated in Deut. 22, and Deut. 22:13-19. There is another passage that offers more relevant information that is applicable. 1 Cor 7:10-11, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” These verses should be easy to understand. God wants the woman and man to reconcile, and He is for the marriage being restored.
The Word states in the preceding passage, that the husband is not to put away (divorce) his wife. If he divorces his wife and remarries, he has become guilty of violating Matt. 19: 8-9. He is also guilty of violating Matt. 5:32, “But I say unto you, 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.” Therefore, if the woman remarries another man, both she and the man are living in adultery. It makes no difference if others say it is not adultery; God calls it adultery. It doesn’t matter if a pastor (a cardinal, etc.) married them, and it was a beautiful marriage ceremony, nor if the couple have a love for each other. God calls it adultery; any contrary opinion is wrong according to God’s Word.
Even if he remarries (which is contrary to God’s Word), his covenant wife is not free in God’s eyes to remarry. If a spouse remarries when their covenant spouse is still alive, God calls it adultery; they are bound according to God’s Word to their covenant spouse. God desires reconciliation, as He has an ordained plan for the covenant couple. If they both fully surrender to the Lord (His way is always best), the couple will be much more blessed, and have more love and peace than if they didn’t reconcile. Many times one or both of the spouses have unforgiveness. However, God can still bring reconciliation if one of the spouse’s is committed to God reconciling their marriage.