About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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God, Divorce, And Israel


God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16)  Knowing this, when Christian couples mutually enter into a divorce, they obviously think differently than the God they claim to serve.  When one spouse initiates divorce for no Scripturally valid reason, he or she opposes all that God is.  He is the embodiment of faithfulness.  He cannot be unfaithful to Himself, to His word, and to whom He is committed.  Every fiber of His being exudes faithfulness.     


The love and faithfulness that is fundamental to God's nature is absent in the divorce agreement.  It's also absent in the godly example that Christian parents are to be to their children.  The purpose for couples staying together is so they can have "godly children". (Malachi 2:16)  Divorce makes it hard for children to become godly followers of Jesus.  When parents don't practice what they preach, it's hard to see Jesus anywhere.    


Did you know that God both married Israel and then divorced her?  You ask, "how could that be"?  Think of it this way.     


In Genesis 12:1 God asked Abraham to leave his country, his people, and his father's household.  This was the beginning of the courtship God initiated with Israel.  God followed His own instructions as seen in  Genesis 2:24.  A man and a woman will leave their father and mother to be united in marriage, something God was asking of Abraham.      


God actually proposed to Israel in Genesis 15 in what we call the Abrahamic Covenant.  With no conditions attached, God promised Abraham and his descendents a blessed relationship that would never end. He didn't slip an engagement ring on Israel's finger, but He did give her circumcision as the visible sign of His commitment in marriage. (Genesis 17:7) 


God, now known as Yahweh to Israel , entered into marriage with Israel when the covenant vows were spoken by Moses in what is called the Mosaic Covenant, the Law of Moses.  After hearing the vows, both Yahweh and Israel agreed to be faithful to the vows and to each other.  Israel soon profaned and broke the wedding vows by becoming unfaithful. (Malachi 2:10 and 14)  


Hosea 2:2 states that Yahweh no longer viewed Himself as  Israel's husband, and no longer viewed Israel as His wife.  As a matter of fact, the Hebrew text of Hosea, chapter 2, is constructed in legal language, meaning, God legally divorced Israel, which He had the legal right to do according to the marriage vows. (Deuteronomy 24:1)  


It would be one sad story if Yahweh's relationship with Israel ended in an irreconcilable divorce.  Thanks to Yahweh's faithfulness, the story doesn't end here.  God's proposal of marriage to Israel in the Abrahamic Covenant was guaranteed to last forever. (Genesis 17:3-8)  Even though the marriage proposal had no conditions attached, the marriage covenant, as seen in the Mosaic Covenant, had conditions attached that were based upon the faithfulness of both parties.  Israel broke the vows that ended in a legal divorce.  However, the broken vows and the subsequent divorce does not nullify the proposal God initially made with Abraham as seen in the Abrahamic Covenant.  Yahweh's intent was to still have an eternal relationship with Israel.  He would pursue her until she returned to Him.       


The book of Hosea, along with all prophetic books of the Old Testament, foretells the day when Israel and Yahweh would be reunited in marriage.  The apostle Paul understood this when he said that Yahweh's new found relationship with gentiles would make Israel envious, thus causing her to return to Him. (Romans 11:11)  


If you believe the church has replaced Israel in this eternal relationship, you'd have to believe that God broke his unconditional promise to Abraham.  You'd have to believe that God didn't really mean exactly what He promised Abraham.  You'd have to believe that God misled Abraham because the way the Abrahamic Covenant was worded gave Abraham the clear impression that Israel's relationship with God was eternal, never to be replaced by anyone.  You'd have to wonder why God didn't bother to clear up Abraham's misunderstanding.  You'd have to believe that God might well divorce the church as well, because the church hasn't been all that faithful either.  You might end up believing that there's no sense in believing because there's no real security in your relationship with God.  You never know when He might up and leave you for someone else.   


Yahweh committed Himself to Israel in the Abrahamic Covenant.  There were no conditions or stipulations attached to the covenant.  It's just not in Him to break this covenant, or redefine its terms in mid stream.  The visible sign of circumcision remains with us to this very day.  The Mosaic Covenant that had conditions attached to it, along with the legal divorce, does not nullify the Abrahamic Covenant that had no strings attached.  Yahweh will drag Israel yelling and screaming through what has been called the Great Tribulation until she experiences meaningful repentance that will reunite her to Yahweh for ever.   


The problem with "Replacement Theology" stems from a misunderstanding of the Abrahamic Covenant.  If you  understand the covenant as Abraham understood it, you will realize that Yahweh's relationship with Israel never ends.  If you don't understand the Abrahamic Covenant as Abraham understood it, you'll fail to understand how God relates to Israel and the church, and you won't  understand prophetic history as you should.  There's another wedding in Israel's future and we're all invited.    


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