God's Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage to Israel
Delivered at a church of Christ in Tennessee in 2002.
God was married to his people Israel!
"For your Maker is your husband, YHVH of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth."
In Ezekiel chapter 16 God tells the story about how he found Israel and took Israel for his own. By the way, there will be a couple of times that the scripture talks about cleansing or washing the people. There is a connection with immersion or baptism.
"As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.
5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.
6 And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' Yes, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!'
7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.
8 When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing (or skirt) over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine', says the Lord Yahweh.
9 Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil.
10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.
11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck.
12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.
13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty."
Notice that Israel was given a crown. Israel means, "ruling with God". She became his queen.
The Marriage Ceremony
The marriage ceremony was held in the desert after God brought the children of Israel out from slavery in Egypt. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob brought our fathers into the desert and spoke to his chosen people. This is recorded in the book of Exodus chapter 19.
1 "In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai.
2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.
3 And Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain, saying, 'Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.
5 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
6 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel'."
What you just read was the proposal. The word treasure is also used in Matthew 13:44 and relates to Israel. Moses now brings the proposal to the elders of the people.
Continuing in Exodus 19.
7 "So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him.
8 Then all the people answered together and said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to Yahweh.
9 And Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." So Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh."
The proposal was accepted. Now the bride, the children of Israel, had to be prepared for the wedding.
10 "Then Yahweh said to Moses, 'Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.
11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day Yahweh will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people'."
Later, God gave the bride the contract or agreement for the marriage. This consisted of the Ten Commandments, the statutes and the judgments.
You might be asking now why did our God choose Israel? What made them special? Here is God's answer in three locations in Deuteronomy.
"Yahweh did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;
8 but because Yahweh loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, Yahweh has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Therefore know that Yahweh your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face."
12 "And now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 and to keep the commandments of Yahweh and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to Yahweh your God, also the earth with all that is in it.
15 Yahweh delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.
16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer."
18 "Also today Yahweh has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments,
19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to Yahweh your God, just as He has spoken."
Please note that the agreement we read in Exodus 19 was a conditional agreement dependent upon behavior. The children of Israel are a stiff necked lot for the marriage had only just begun when they went astray.
"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."
2 And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."
3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!"
5 So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to Yahweh."
6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
7 And Yahweh said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"
9 And Yahweh said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!
10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.""
You might say it was time for some marriage counseling. God was motivated by righteous jealousy because his beloved was going after other gods. Moses spoke to God.
11 "Then Moses pleaded with Yahweh his God, and said: 'Yahweh, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand'?
12 'Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, 'He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'
14 So Yahweh relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people."
There were problems along the way, but basically the time in the desert could be viewed as a 40 year honeymoon. Before God moved his bride into her new home though he laid down the law again. Deuteronomy is the second giving of the law. The entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28 is a good summary of their agreement. It list the blessings for good behavior and the curses for bad behavior. They still work today.
So God prepared the people to go into their new home.
"So it shall be, when Yahweh your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,
11A houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant;"
"Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven,
2 a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, 'Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?'
3 Therefore understand today that Yahweh your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as Yahweh has said to you."
So they moved into their new home. They did have to get an exterminator to remove some of the pest known as Canaanites and there were others, but God helped them all the way. Then God said that he had done as he said he would do.
So Yahweh gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.
44 Yahweh gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; Yahweh delivered all their enemies into their hand.
45 Not a word failed of any good thing which Yahweh had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.
This is just a side note, but in 1948 a bunch of people said that God did not give Israel all the land that he had promised. As you can see by what we read God did give it all.
But things did not continue in peace and tranquility. The children of Israel would obey their God and husband for a time and then disobey and go after other gods or lovers. God would punish them and they would cry out for help. He would help them and then they would obey for a time.
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and served the Baals;
12 and they forsook Yahweh God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked Yahweh to anger.
13 They forsook Yahweh and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
14 And the anger of Yahweh was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.
God did not just demand obedience from Israel, his wife. When he could he gave her what she wanted. They asked him why they could not be like the other nations and have a king. He tried to explain why, but they just were not satisfied and so he gave them a king.
1 Samuel 8:4-5
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,
5 and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."
Eventually the size of the kingdom grew because of God's good promises. During the reign of King David God sent the prophet Nathan to promise a new home with more space in which to grow.
2 Samuel 7:10
"Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously,"
This unconditional promise is also repeated in 1 Chronicles 17:9
The National Split
After King David died his son, Solomon, had a very successful reign, but upon Solomon's death there was a disagreement over money when Rehoboam unwisely decided to increase the taxes on the people. However it was from God that he made that decision. The whole story is in 2 Chronicles 10. The result was that there was a division between north and south. Where there had been 1 nation made up of 12 tribes there were now 2 nations. The house of Judah included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and most of the Levites with the king living at Jerusalem as his fathers had. The house of Israel included the remaining ten tribes with their king living at Samaria. They became totally separate entities and they did not get along except in rare circumstances.
At this point something very interesting happens. Now that there are two nations God views them as the following verses suggest.
Ezekiel 23:1 The word of YHVH came again to me, saying:
2 "Son of man, there were two women, The daughters of one mother.
3 They committed harlotry in Egypt, They committed harlotry in their youth; Their breasts were there embraced, Their virgin bosom was there pressed.
4 Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; They were Mine, And they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah."
As you see God considered the house of Israel, Samaria, and the house of Judah, Jerusalem, his two wives. God says that they were His and that they bore children to him. Can anyone suggest that God had children by two women who were not his wives?
So here we have our God showing that he was a polygynist. If he did not approve of this he would have immediately divorced the house of Israel. However he did not do this. It was many generations after the split of the two houses that he finally divorced the house of Israel. Even after this he asks the house of Israel to return to Him as you will read in scripture below.
Actually we will see perhaps in a future lesson that this was God's plan to keep his unconditional promises and eventually move the vast majority of Israelites out of Palestine and into new promised lands. There just was not enough room for the Israelites to become many nations, a multitude of nations and a company of nations as had been unconditionally promised to Abraham, Jacob and Ephraim. (Genesis 17:5, Genesis 48:19 and Genesis 35:11)
The House of Israel went after Other Gods.
Yahweh's promise of the land of Palestine was a conditional promise of land based on their behavior. When Israel went after other gods this constituted a break of the contract with God. After putting up with this for many years God did the following which is recorded in Jeremiah 3:6-15.
YHVH said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: "Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot.
7 And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.
9 So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense," says YHVH.
11 Then YHVH said to me, "Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: 'Return, backsliding Israel,' says YHVH; 'I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,' says YHVH; 'I will not remain angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against YHVH your God, And have scattered your charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,' says YHVH.
14 "Return, O backsliding children," says YHVH; "for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding."
One can only divorce one wife and remain married to another if one had been married to two women!
So the children of Israel went by captivity rather than allowing God to move them a better way. God always keeps his promises. God made promises to Abraham. He did not break them in regard to either the House of Israel or the House of Judah and He is still keeping them today. It is just that most of the people in both houses do not realize who they are today. They have been confused and deceived and there is an imposter claiming to be Judah.
The word of Yahweh that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
2 When Yahweh began to speak by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea: 'Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from Yahweh'.
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
4 Then Yahweh said to him: "Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5 It shall come to pass in that day That I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel."
6 And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him: "Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away.
7 Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, Will save them by Yahweh their God, And will not save them by bow, Nor by sword or battle, By horses or horsemen."
8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son.
9 Then God said: "Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God.
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.'"
11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!
Hosea 2:1 Say to your brethren, 'My people,' And to your sisters, 'Mercy is shown.'
2 Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts;
3 Lest I strip her naked And expose her, as in the day she was born, And make her like a wilderness, And set her like a dry land, And slay her with thirst.
4 I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry.
5 For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.'
6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths.
in other words she would never go back to Palestine.
7 "She will chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now.'
8 For she did not know That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, And multiplied her silver and gold; Which they prepared for Baal.
9 Therefore I will return and take away My grain in its time And My new wine in its season, And will take back My wool and My linen, Given to cover her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, And no one shall deliver her from My hand.
11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths; All her appointed feasts.
12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, Of which she has said, 'These are my wages that my lovers have given me.' So I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field shall eat them.
13 I will punish her For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, And went after her lovers; But Me she forgot," says Yahweh."
but there was hope given
14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 And it shall be, in that day," Says Yahweh, "That you will call Me 'My Husband,' And no longer call Me 'My Master,'
17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely.
19 I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy;
20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know Yahweh.
21 It shall come to pass in that day That I will answer," says Yahweh; "I will answer the heavens, And they shall answer the earth.
22 The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer Jezreel.
23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!'"
You see how this is not about some other people. The story continues with the same woman.
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people;"
At this point perhaps you might see more clearly now who the Gentiles in Romans chapter 9, verse 24 really are because in verse 25 Paul sends you back to the book of Hosea. As you read through the new testament scripture I hope you will now see many more such connections.
God demonstrated his divorce of the House of Israel in the book of Hosea. Even amidst all punishment that the house of Israel went through you can see that there were unconditional promises that God made to them for their future. By the way, this also included most of the House of Judah. Only the occupants of Jerusalem and a small surrounding area were left after the Assyrians took the house of Israel into captivity. Even though God sent the majority of the twelve tribes away he did not break his promise by allowing them to disappear forever amongst other people. The crown and kingdom were taken away and they lost the right to be called Israel. Note what Amos chapter 9 says:
8 "Behold, the eyes of the Lord YHVH are on the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," Says YHVH.
9 "For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground."
God plainly stated in Hosea chapter 1, verses 10 and 11, that the house of Israel would eventually become "sons of the living God" or Christians under Christ as their head and that they would become as numerous as the sands of the sea or as Josephus said about them during his time, they were, "an immense multitude and not to be estimated by numbers". Remember the unconditional promise to Ephraim to become a "company of nations". All of this has happened, but we need to move on. What happened to the northern ten tribes is for another lesson.
What about the house of Judah? As you can see God did not divorce the house of Judah. Can you think of a reason why God did not divorce them? There was one particular thing that I had wondered about as an early teen. How could God break his own law and have a son by a woman to whom he was not married? Some people have told me that God can do anything. That is not true. God can not sin! He remained married to the house of Judah so that his son would be legitimate. But the marriage to the house of Judah did not continue forever. When Christ died on the cross the marriage to the house of Judah ended. That is partly what Romans chapter 7 is about.
Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another; to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
When the house of Israel was divorced by God and they went after other gods they could not go back to the one true God because that would be an abomination as is taught in Deuteronomy 24:4. So when Christ came and died he released them from that law.
The gospels are full of scriptures proclaiming the purpose of Christ. However Christ himself said it best in Matthew 15:24.
"I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
If you look at the Greek on the word lost and realize the family it belongs to you could properly read Matthew 15:24 as follows: "I was not sent except to the put away and punished sheep of the house of Israel."
Once God had died through his earthly manifestation, Jesus (or Yahshua) the Christ, the only thing left for the remarriage to take place was one additional promise about the bride becoming as a virgin once again.
2 Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
As you can see the love story continues. So if you have the law of God written on your heart as we have chatted about previously how does one become a chaste virgin waiting for her bridegroom to return?
Or do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through immersion into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Sounds to me like immersion or baptism is very important. There is much much more to this. We have not talked about the parable of the 10 virgins, who by the way were all immersed believers since they were virgins, or about the wedding feast. That will have to be for another time.
In Genesis 29 beginning at verse 18 Jacob agreed to serve Laban for seven years for his daughter Rachel. Have you considered that God also paid a dowry for Israel? In Matthew 13:44 we have a parable that shows just that.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
The man in the above parable is the Christ who paid all that he had, his life, for the field, the whole world, Matthew 13:38, in order to get his special treasure, Israel. Then there is one further gift.
"Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'."
When each person becomes a "bride in waiting" they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
You will note that this study has not been about or involved in any way people called Jews (the modern day Jews). That is because this love story is not about them. They were not involved which they do admit in some of their writings. If you would like to know more about the modern day people called Jews I recommend a book titled, "Who is Esau-Edom?", by Charles Weisman. I also recommend that you read Revelation 2:9 and Revelation 3:9.
Now that you have heard the story perhaps you will start to see many New Testament passages in a different light? I close with this one example.
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
Feel free to send your helpful comments.
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