It is sad but true that many Message preachers are doting on the Message of William Branham without any true revelation. Hence, not only are they spreading false doctrines, but they are unwittingly opposed to, and condemning, the true doctrines of the Bible. One such false doctrine centers on whether or not a divorced woman can remarry.
Recently, I heard a preacher scream on a tape that the passage of Scriptures in Romans 7:2-3 applies to every woman on earth, whether saved or unsaved, Christian or non-Christian. He emphasized that an unsaved divorced woman can never ever remarry just as a Christian woman cannot remarry if she divorces her husband.
Obviously this preacher knows nothing about the Word of God. He spends more time interpreting, or rather misinterpreting, the many statements of Bro. Branham. In doing so, he is condemning God's Truth unknowingly. By simply taking the text of Romans 7:2-3 without an understanding of what Paul meant, this preacher is just like many other preachers who simply refer to Acts15:20 and teach that a Christian cannot eat food offered to idols, strangled animals and blood. [Is it Scripturally true that Christians cannot eat blood and food offered to idols? Click here.]
Before the Gospel was preached and the Holy Spirit given, there were basically two groups of people on this earth – the Gentiles and the Israelites. After Pentecost when the Spirit was given to both the Jewish and the Gentile believers there were three groups – the saints of Christ (which comprises the Jews and the Gentiles), Israel (the people who have the LAW but do not receive Jesus Christ as their own Messiah) and the sinners (who do not have the LAW nor the CHRIST).
Now, the LAW was given to Israel. It was not given to the Gentiles; it was not given to the sinners. This is a fact. How then can this preacher apply the LAW to judge a people who knows not the LAW? How can God judge by the LAW a person to whom the LAW was not given? So, evidently, this preacher has preached a lie. Paul spoke the truth when he said, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law” (Rom.2:12), and “…by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom.3:20b). That’s why Paul made it very clear in these words: “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?” (Rom.7:1) before he went on to illustrate the relationship between a believer and his Saviour in the next five verses.
Rom.7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Notice, when Paul gave the illustration of the relationship between a believer and his Saviour, he was illustrating a TRUTH by using the example of a man, who knew or had the LAW, how that he was under subjection to the LAW (like a married woman is subjected to her husband). As long as the LAW has dominion over the man, he cannot “marry another”. However, the man is free to “marry another”, that is, to Christ Jesus, only when he is dead to the LAW (through the Body of Christ). So, being released from the law, the man is now able to serve in the new way of the Spirit.
Therefore, how could this example of Paul's be used (by the preacher and many others like him) to form a doctrine that an unsaved divorced woman cannot remarry? Being unsaved, the woman must be a sinner as all man and woman are born sinners. So, does it matter if she should marry and divorce as she likes? After all she has already been judged: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23). A sinner commits all kinds of sins. Can the LAW given to Israel be used to judge her? Why is the preacher using the Law and even the Bible to judge such a sinner when she knows nothing about its Author and the Saviour who loves her? What a strange preacher.
If she is an Israelite woman who knows the LAW then she would be judged by the LAW. Then again, the Bible has concluded that “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.
There is a weird humor when the same preacher said that the unsaved woman could only remarry when her divorced husband (who had left her) died, but not by her murdering him (he added for jest). Does the preacher think that the woman cares much about whether or not her ex-husband, who divorced her, had died and how he died? What if her ex-husband migrates to a far country, does the preacher expect her to keep track of her ex-husband's whereabouts and his death so that she could remarry? What if he goes missing and died?
Come to your senses, preacher! She’s a sinner! She is not going to wait for him to die at a ripe old age and then remarry at the time when she has become a grand old lady!
Just because Bro. Branham was a prophet, the preacher tried to justify his own reasoning by quoting many statements from the prophet's sermons. However, many of the statements which had no bearing upon the issue were often quoted out of context. It is a great sin to misquote Bro. Branham against the Word of God. Let me ask him this question: if this same unsaved, twice divorced woman (whose ex-husbands are still alive) is now happily married to a third husband for a good five years, and has borne him two children, now comes to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as her own Saviour — what will the preacher tell her? Will he tell her that she is an adulteress and that she is living in sin? Or, is there something that she must do to correct her standing with the Gospel since she has, according to the LAW, three husbands? Must she separate from the present husband to remain single so that she could be called a Christian and be considered saved in the Gospel? Tell me, preacher.
Again, what if a young unsaved, twice divorced woman comes into the Gospel of Christ and subsequently meet a Christian man to whom she would like to marry, can she marry him? Or would you, Mr. Preacher, respond with a "No, she cannot remarry, because she's got two living husbands and she is already an adulteress. She must remain single until both the ex-husbands have died"?
Romans 7:2-3 has often been used, by such preachers as the one mentioned above, to “kill” every woman who remarried, or will remarry, while her ex-husband is still living. They often try to further support their reasoning by applying the first part of 1 Cor.7:11 which states “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried…” These preachers are saying, “See, the divorced woman cannot remarry. She must remain single until her husband dies.”
The application of the statement of 1 Cor.7:11 together with Romans 7:2-3 is a serious error. What Paul wrote to the Romans and what he wrote to the Corinthians are two different things altogether. Even the statement “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried…” being sliced off from the rest of Paul's text already shows a serious dislocation of the Word of God. And further misplacing it alongside Rom.7:2-3 only gives rise to a misinterpretation of the Scriptures, something which Bro. Branham had warned believers not to do.
Whom was Paul addressing to and what was he addressing in 1 Cor.7:11? And why did Paul add a command to that statement “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried…” with a conjunction “or be reconciled to her husband”?
How many preachers truly have an understanding of what Paul was dealing with in 1 Corinthians 7?
Yes, Paul was dealing with how to avoid fornication among Christians. But in dealing with the topic, Paul had to deal with the different circumstances of the many believers. A closer look at verses 10 to 16 will reveal that one cannot just slice off this part of verse 11, “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried…” and simply apply it to every woman.
Now, examine this closely. In 1 Cor.7:10-11, Paul commanded the husband and wife (who were, of course, converts from paganism) not to divorce the spouse. He commanded the believing wife not to separate from her unbelieving husband. But if she were to divorce, or separate from, her husband, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled with her husband. A Bible-believing wife has no power in anyway to seek a divorce from her husband whether he is a believer or an unbeliever. She is bound to him as long as he lives. Likewise, a Bible-believing husband cannot divorce his wife whether she is a saint or a sinner (vv.12-14). The bond between a man and his wife in marriage is for life, till death do they part. However, on the grounds of fornication committed by his wife, a Bible-believing husband has the choice of either forgiving her or divorcing her. Following the example of Prophet Hosea, a truly loving husband ought to forgive a truly repentant wife. A Christian must not harden his heart and refuse to forgive or to repent. If the wife is unrepentant and wilfully continues to sin against him, the husband may, in such a case, choose to free himself from the marriage bond by a divorce.
Before Paul concluded his words on the relation between husband and wife (vv.16), he addressed an issue which was put to him by the Corinthian believers concerning unbelievers who sought to divorce their spouse. He answered: “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace” (vv.15).
According to Paul's revelation a marriage bond can be dissolved or broken if the unbelieving partner wilfully and deliberately deserts the spouse whose faith is placed in the Gospel or the Word of God. The believing husband or wife is not under bondage in such cases. God does not give the Gospel Truth to a person to frustrate him or her but to set him or her free and at peace.
Verse 15 is one verse that Brother Branham did not touch on in his message “Marriage and Divorce” nor did he ever explain the verse in any of his sermons. Because of this, many ministers tend to sidetrack the issue which Paul spoke about, while others would merely refer you to verses 10, 11 and 39. But verses 10 and 11 deal with believing husband and wife who are separated from their spouse (not on the grounds of fornication); and they are commanded to remain single or be reconciled with each other. If either of them chooses to remarry, he or she would be guilty of committing adultery (Lk.16:18). Verse 39 is Paul's answer on whether a Christian woman could remarry after the death of her husband. Death breaks the marriage bond and the living partner is free to remarry. But verses 12-15 deal with an unbelieving spouse. A true Christian must continue to live with his or her unbelieving spouse if the latter is willing to live with the former regardless of his or her new found faith in Christ. A believer must not and cannot put away his or her unbelieving spouse. But an unbeliever (not having the Spirit of God and who doesn't care about the consequences) may wilfully and deliberately seek to divorce the spouse because of the Gospel. (Remember, both were pagans but one has just found Christ causing the other to hate and to separate. No sinner man, who truly loves his wife, will seek for divorce just because his wife accepts the gospel. But he will if he hates the Gospel and cannot get his wife to reject Christ.)
Prophet Ezekiel taught that the innocent should not be held responsible for the sins of the guilty (Ezek.18:2-4,13,17-32). Paul, having the same view and understanding, also wrote that if the unbeliever wished to divorce the spouse (who had believed Christ) let the unbeliever do so. The Christian brother or the Christian sister is not under bondage (of the marriage bond) in such a case, but that God has called us (Christians) to peace. If the unbeliever insists on breaking the marriage covenant, the believer should peacefully submit to the unbeliever's desire. The believer will not be held responsible under such circumstances.
Now, since a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases, can he or she remarry? Does the Gospel pose (in such cases) any hindrance to further marriage and normal creative relationship? How does this man or this woman avoid fornication (the subject which Paul was dealing with in the whole of chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians)?
Many Endtime Message believers will retort that only the man can remarry but not the woman. And many, in refusing to look at the Scriptures squarely, would dogmatically assert that verse 15 is a part of verse11a. They would even refer to Rom.7:2-3 for added weight. My question is this: In Christ Jesus, is there a preference for the man over the woman? Are not all one and equal in Him as far as the Gospel is concerned? Read Galatians 3:28. In Deuteronomy 24:1-4, the Law of God allowed a woman, under certain circumstances, to remarry without her being called an adulteress. Yet many Endtime Message preachers would not allow a believing woman, under the same circumstances stated in 1 Corinthians 7:15 and being under Grace, to remarry without being called an adulteress. Is the Law more merciful than Grace?
On two separate occasions, I presented the following case to two ministers for their comments:
A young girl got married and divorced twice. In her sins, she came to meet the Saviour Who promised her a New Life and a New Beginning. She handed all her sins to Jesus Christ and repented, believing that He would throw all the sins of her past life into the Sea of Forgiveness and Forgetfulness. She then fell in love with a Christian man and wished to marry him. My question was: Can she marry? (You could also apply this question to a whore who have lain with many men and lived with some as man and wife, but subsequently found Christ Jesus and then a man she loved.)
“No!” came the emphatic answer. “She cannot marry because she already had two husbands. If she marry again, she will be living in adultery.”
Referring also to 1 Corinthians 7:15, I asked one of the two ministers as to why Paul wrote that God had called her to peace (see 2 Thess.3:16; Eph.6:15) when, according to him (the minister), God still remembered the sins of her past life? [Who would you believe: St. Paul or such ministers? ]
Now, had not God thrown all her sins into the Sea of Forgiveness and Forgetfulness? Did not the Blood of Jesus wash away her every sin? Or had God suddenly decided not to forgive her and started to remember her past life of having two husbands? Is that the kind of God that we serve and trust for our salvation? If so, we have done it all in vain because He may just turn around and stop showing us His Grace and Mercy and bring up all our sins from under the Blood to remembrance so as to condemn us. Otherwise, that minister was wrong to presume that God would remember the sins which we had already repented of.
Brother Branham once said that man could forgive but could not forget the wrong done him by another. But that isn't so with God. When he forgives the sins of those who repent, He also forgets them. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! As such, when God forgave the sins of the young girl's past life, He would also forget her sins of adultery, fornication, cheating, lying, cursing, etc., and even if she had used God's Name in vain. “Therefore if any man (or woman) be in Christ, he (or she) is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor.5:17). She was a sheep who had gone astray in her own way, but has now been found by the Great Shepherd!
“She can find peace in God,” the minister said, “by remaining single, without marrying again.”
I asked, “Living the rest of her life, for some fifty or sixty years, without a husband and a family of her own? For the rest of her life, live and die as a spinster because of the Gospel?” (Does she deserve such a punishment? Wasn't she an innocent victim of circumstances, and a sinner born into this sinful world where anything could happen to a person without Christ? Is the Gospel Good News to set her free or is it Bad News to bind her even further?)
He replied blatantly and sarcastically, “If she desires to marry, it must be for sex!”
And this polygamy-believing minister admitted that he took his wife with him wherever he traveled because he needed her sexually (obviously to satisfy his own passion). Here is a minister who would justify his own needs but has no qualms in condemning the woman because of her needs! (Sounds to me like the Scribes and the Pharisees recorded in John 8.) Men like him preach polygamy to justify their own sexual desires or their involvement in polygamy. They try to bind a woman convert to her past of being a divorcee while disregarding her other sins. Such ministers are quick to judge but God is quick to forgive.
I once said that if accepting the Gospel Truth (as interpreted by such ministers[?] in the ministry who disregard the WORD OF GOD and misinterpret the words of His prophet) was going to prevent a woman from having a normal married life it would be better for her to get married to a man who also had the desire to be a Christian, before they both proceed to confess Christ as their Saviour.
And, what would such ministers say then? Would they tell her to leave this husband to return to her first or second husband (who, being sinners, might by then had already remarried) in order that she could be a Christian? (Remember: God's Word explicitly forbids such reunion. Deuteronomy 24:1-4.) Or would they tell her, “I am sorry. Your third marriage is not valid. It's just not possible for you to be a Christian and be married.” Would they make the latter statement and pronounce that she had committed an unpardonable sin?
One so-called minister from Africa wrote in his letter to me that when sexual union had taken place between a man and a woman, even if it was rape, it would automatically be considered a marriage. Hence, a young girl raped by a man would be considered married to him and therefore could not marry another. O what folly! What idiocy! Imagine being married to a mad rapist. What kind of minister is he who would go around teaching such nonsense?
To many ministers there seems to be no solutions to such problems. Such young sisters in Christ are left to fend for themselves against the vile attacks of the devil on their flesh. But Praise God, the Bible has the answer! God always has an answer to any difficulty. In the Law era, He provided a way for the woman caught in a difficult situation because of the hardness of her husband's heart (Deut.24:1-4). In the Grace era that we are living in, He has also provided a way for the spiritually reborn woman who had been a victim of a sinful life molded by Satan, even her unbelieving husband (1 Cor.7:15). That's right. Remember, the Law of Moses affected Israel only because it was given unto them and not the other Gentile nations. Similarly, the Law of Christ does not apply to the unbelievers but only to those who are born into His Body. Remember also that we are not talking about couples that some sinner men or half-drunk magistrates or backslidden preachers have joined together (out in this sinful, messy world) that could be put asunder. But we are talking about those whom God has joined together in His Name that no man can put asunder without tampering with the Law of Christ.
At this juncture, I would like to remind those of you who are snickering at what has been discussed so far to check with the Word carefully. Don't merely quote the prophet's words without an understanding. Don't say things which he did not say. But say only what he had taught on the tapes according to THE WORD OF THE LORD, according to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen! The Logos of God is what you ought to hear and not merely the words of a prophet. Don't satisfy your own pride, lust and belief on polygamy by misquoting him. One thing for sure, you are not going to be judged on that Day by his words (his utterances) on the tapes but you will be judged by the Word (Logos) of God, which is laid down in the Holy Scriptures.
The prophet was uneducated, but if you do exactly what he said, “Go back and check the Scriptures”, you will surely have the understanding. If you continue to quote his statements without any true revelation concerning the TRUTH, you will be just as blind as the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. The prophet himself had said that if any of his teachings was not in the Scriptures then we should not believe it. Amen! He even cautioned the hearers “…to be careful what you're listening to. See? There's so much of it that it's just the human side…” (Sermon: “He Cares, Do You?”).
The Sacred Scriptures, contained in the Bible, are the Absolute of God, not the tapes of the prophet. The preachers who told you that the taped sermons are the ABSOLUTE are LIARS! “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom.3:4). Flee from them before they destroy your faith! “Back to the WORD! Back to the Original!” screamed the prophet. He never contradicted the WORD. Many people have misunderstood him.