Marriage Counseling

There is a popular (and relatively new) concept that YHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was married to Israel. It goes that YHVH married Israel, then divorced Israel and sent her away and now cannot take Israel back because of the rules within the Torah.

Here is the often cited verse:

Deut 24:1-4

If a man marries a woman, but she becomes displeasing to him because he finds something improper about her, he may write her a divorce certificate, hand it to her, and send her away from his house. If after leaving his house she goes and becomes another man’s wife and the second man hates her, writes her a divorce certificate, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house or if he dies the first husband who sent her away may not marry her again after she has been defiled, because that would be detestable to YHVH. You must not bring guilt on the land YHVH your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Does this verse mention an adulterous wife? No..
In fact.. there is a verse in the Torah to deal with an adulterous wife.

Leviticus 20:11 ”If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death”.

If YHVH was indeed ‘married’ to Israel, these verses are a problem. Right?

So let’s take a walk through Jeremiah 3 which is one of the verses often cited to prove this ‘marriage teaching’ promoted by many messianic leaders these days. I will chime in during the text…

1 If a man divorces his wife
and she leaves him to marry another,
can he ever return to her? 

Poetry and allegory are often used in the writings of the prophets. Using something the audience knows about to explain a point was a tool YHVH employed in many verses. In this verse it is made easy for us…

Wouldn’t such a land become totally defiled?
But you!
You have played the prostitute with many partners  —
can you return to Me? 

Leviticus 18 covers a little about the land becoming defiled.. and we see here the link between spiritual adultery, which is Idolatry and the physical cost to the land and resulting issues for the people on the land.

This is YHVH’s declaration.

2 Look to the barren heights and see.
Where have you not been immoral?

Highlights the high places used by pagans to worship foreign gods.

You sat waiting for them beside the highways 
like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land
with your prostitution and wickedness. 

The very act of looking to other gods has caused the land to become defiled.

3 This is why the showers haven’t come  —
why there has been no spring rain.

You have the brazen look of a prostitute
and refuse to be ashamed.

Not only have the people turned to pagan gods but they have not repented. This verse is our first clue at YHVH’s message in this chapter.

4 Have you not lately called to Me, “My Father.
You were my friend in my youth.

YHVH asks ‘have you not lately called to me ‘My Father’, Israel once addressed Him this way.. (not as husband)

5 Will He bear a grudge forever?
Will He be endlessly infuriated? ”
This is what you have said,
but you have done the evil things
you are capable of.

The people ask ‘will YHVH ever forgive us?’

6 In the days of King Josiah YHVH asked me, “Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there. I thought: After she has done all these things, she will return to Me.  But she didn’t return, and her treacherous sister Judah  saw it. I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself. 9 Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn’t return to Me with all her heart  — only in pretense.”

Let’s assume ‘unfaithful Israel’ does in fact mean ‘adulterous wife’.. then we have to wonder why YHVH says ‘I thought: After she has done these things she will return to me’. Here we see the Creator clearly hoping for Israels return.
There is a picture in the Tanakh of the effect of repentance on YHVH.. that as we turn to Him, He turns to us. To illustrate the degree to which Israel has turned away from their Creator He uses terms they recognise..  ‘adultery’ and ‘divorce’. We now read about ‘treacherous Judah’.. who also prostituted herself..  She also defiled the land and committed adultery.

Israel and Judah are called sisters in the text.. So I would ask.. can a man marry sisters? Is this Torah?

This is YHVH’s declaration.

11 YHVH announced to me, “Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say:

Return, unfaithful Israel. 
This is YHVH’s declaration.
I will not look on you with anger,
for I am unfailing in My love. 

YHVH calls His people home.

This is YHVH’s declaration.

I will not be angry forever. 
Only acknowledge your guilt
you have rebelled against YHVH your God.
You have scattered your favors to strangers
under every green tree and have not obeyed My voice.

This is another beautifully clear example of the message YHVH so often gives, Repent, turn to me and be forgiven.

This is YHVH’s declaration.

14“Return, you faithless children” — this is YHVH’s declaration — “for I am your master, and I will take you,  one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds who are loyal to Me,  and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. 16 When you multiply and increase in the land, am in those days” — YHVH’s declaration — “no one will say any longer, ‘The ark of YHVH’s covenant.’ It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. It will never again be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem will be called, YHVH’s Throne, and all the nations will be gathered to it,  to the name of YHVH in Jerusalem.  They will cease to follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join with the house of Israel and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit.”

How can we try to paint the marriage idea over these verses? ‘Faithless Children’, ‘I am your master’. These and phrases that follow like ‘my sons’ and ‘call me Father’, show so clearly the relationship YHVH craves with his ‘children’.. Not as a husband but a loving parent. It is also worth noting that He will bring individuals, ‘one from a city’, ‘two from a family’.. not everyone will listen and obey.

19 I thought: How I long to make you My sons
and give you a desirable land,
the most beautiful inheritance at of all the nations.
I thought: You will call Me, my Father,
and never turn away from Me.

It is heart breaking to hear of YHVH’s disappointment, that He thought His children would never turn away.

20 However, as a woman may betray her lover,
so you have betrayed av Me, house of Israel.
This is YHVH’s declaration.

Again, allegory, ‘AS a woman may betray her lover’. He is painting a picture.

21 A sound is heard on the barren heights,
the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy,
for they have perverted their way;
they have forgotten YHVH their God.

22 Return, you faithless children.
I will heal your unfaithfulness.
“Here we are, coming to You,
for You are YHVH the LORD our God.

23 Surely, falsehood comes from the hills,
commotion from the mountains,
but the salvation of Israel
is only in YHVH our God.

YHVH is salvation.. the pagan high places and false gods of the word cannot offer anything except a curse. Our Heavenly Father and Creator is all we need.  He alone is Salvation.

24 From the time of our youth
the shameful one has consumed
what our fathers have worked for —
their flocks and their herds,
their sons and their daughters.

25 Let us lie down in our shame;
let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned against YHVH our God,
both we and our fathers,
from the time of our youth even to this day.
We have not obeyed the voice of YHVH our God.”

Repent and live. It is so simple.


Spend an Hour.

Another Shabbat over *sigh*. What a gift!

Today my wife and I spent some time taking turns to read from our news books by Rabbi Tovia Singer (details here) before taking the Tablet pc to bed to watch a movie pre-shabbat snooze. I notices 12 Angry Men was on Netflix and it was an easy sell.

When you are new to a situation and when those in a place of power explain a story, mission or plan, it is easy to just ‘go along’ with what you are told.. after all, they are the professionals.. right?
If any one knows anything it’s these guys.
In the case of the movie it was the prosecution. Compelling witnesses, a villain it was easy to judge quickly and seemingly strong evidence lead ’12 Angry Men’ to come to some pretty quick conclusions but when the men are asked to a side room to make up their minds on a verdict one man isn’t so sure.

I have to say, I heard the bell of reason ringing through out the movie. It echoed many of the same tones I have listened to while leaving the church and in conversation with different types of ‘Christian’.

‘You heard the facts.’
‘There’s always one!’
‘The Jews changed the bible, you can’t trust them!’
‘Just go along with it! Stop rocking the boat.’


Henry Fonda’s character just isn’t sure about sending a boy to his death without a proper investigation. He asked the group for one hour.
Of course, on closer inspection the witnesses fall apart, the evidence isn’t as strong as first thought and of course the ‘villain’ is not the cold blooded killer they were told he was. Slowly everyone sees they were ‘sold’ a story.

I spent many hours searching out the ‘truth’ of the Christian story. Looking at the evidence. Testing the witnesses. The ‘professionals’ make a good case when the listener is new to the court room.

Your life is at stake. Who told you what you believe and why did you take it as ‘gospel’?

Do yourself a favor. Spend an hour. If you are willing to listen I have some suggested videos to help sift through the evidence below.

God will provide himself a Lamb

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