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Adultery and Matthew 18

Yeshua tells us that He did not come to do away with even the least part of the Torah (the Laws of Moses). Rather, He says that whoever teaches against even the least of the commandments will be least in the kingdom of heaven; and that those who do and teach the whole Torah will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.“

The Torah says that when we hear of sexually immoral conduct within the body, we should go to the judges and officers who exist in those days, for them to make an inquiry. Even though it cannot be carried out in the dispersion, the penalty for sexual immorality is always death. Here are some examples.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 20:10-23
10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
11 The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them.
13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
14 If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you.
15 If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal.
16 If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.
17 ‘If a man takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, and sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a wicked thing. And they shall be cut off in the sight of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness. He shall bear his guilt.
18 If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people.
19 ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister nor of your father’s sister, for that would uncover his near of kin. They shall bear their guilt.
20 If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness. They shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
21 If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They shall be childless.
22 ‘You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out.
23 And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.”

In verses 22 and 23 (above), Yahweh tells us that He abhors sexual immorality. He also tells us to keep all of His statutes and judgments (and perform them), so that the land of Israel will not vomit us out. Does this mean that we can safely do these things outside the land?

Before we answer that question, let us take a look at the story of Achan and the battle for Ai. In the days of Joshua the son of Nun, a man named Achan decided to ignore Yahweh’s commandments. However, thirty-six men of the people fell in battle, as a punishment on the nation as a whole.

Yehoshua (Joshua) 7:5
5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

After the defeat Yehoshua fell on his face and asked Yahweh why they had lost the battle. Yahweh told him the punishment was because of the sin of one man.

Yehoshua (Joshua) 7:20-26
20 And Achan answered Yehoshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against Yahweh Elohim of Israel, and this is what I have done:
21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 So Yehoshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.
23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Yehoshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before Yahweh.
24 Then Yehoshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.
25 And Yehoshua said, “Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So Yahweh turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

The story of Achan and the conquest of Ai show us that there is such a thing as corporate punishment for the nation. Yahweh is serious about us putting the evil out of our midst, and, one way or another, Yahweh will have a camp that is set-apart. Is it not easier to just comply?

In contrast, many Christians believe that it is “not our business” whether or not anyone else commits sexual sin. This idea seems to be supported by the story of the adulterous woman in John 8, but this story is a later addition to the text.

Yochanan (John) 8:3-11
3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,
4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moshe, in the Torah, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Yeshua stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Yeshua was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Yeshua had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Adon.” And Yeshua said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

The story of the adulterous woman (John 8:1-11) does not exist in any of the four oldest Greek manuscripts, or in the Aramaic Peshitta. It is clearly in violation of the principle that we are not to add to Scripture.

Mishle (Proverbs) 30:5-6
5 Every word of Elohim is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
6 Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

It is ironic that mainstream Christian doctrine tells us not to judge those who are inside the assembly, for the apostle Shaul told the Corinthians the exact opposite. He told the Corinthians not to just put a sexual sinner outside the assembly, but to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Adon Yeshua.”

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 5:1-13
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father’s wife!
2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
4 In the name of our Adon Yeshua Messiah, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Adon Yeshua Messiah,
5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Adon Yeshua.

The Corinthians may have been hesitant to put the sinner outside the camp, perhaps glorying in their love, patience, and tolerance. However, Shaul reminded them that we need to put sinners outside the camp, not just because of corporate punishment (such as at Ai), but also because we become like those we fellowship with. In verse 6 (below) Shaul tells us that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Next, Shaul tells us that we are not to judge those who are outside of our assemblies (for Elohim judges them), yet we are responsible to judge those who are inside. Just as at Ai, we are responsible to enforce justice in our own ranks; and just because we cannot enforce justice in another people, does not mean Elohim will relieve us of responsibility for doing justice in our own.

9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
13 But those who are outside Elohim judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

Just as at Ai, the assembly must be kept pure or the people will fall. This is why we must put away from ourselves the evil persons.

As we explain in Nazarene Israel, the apostles realized that it was not advantageous to follow the rabbinical gentile conversion process when bringing those whom Yahweh had already filled with His Spirit back to Torah. Rather, the returning Ephraimites simply needed to abstain from four things Yahweh considers “abominations.” If they would agree to keep themselves from these four abominable acts, the returning gentile Ephraimites could come into the assemblies each week (where they would learn the rest of the Torah slowly, over time). The four abominations the apostles said that the new converts needed to keep themselves from were idolatry, sexual immorality, strangled meats, and blood.

Ma’asei (Acts) 15:19-21
19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are [re-] turning to Elohim,
20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moshe has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

There is much we can say about the requirements to abstain from idolatry, strangled meats, and blood, but it will have to wait for another time. Our focus here is to define what the apostles meant by “sexual immorality.” We have already seen some of the things that Yahweh prohibits in the Torah, and those definitions have never changed. However, Yeshua Elohim also gives us a definition, which we need to discuss in some detail.

As we explain in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage,” Yeshua tells us that if a man divorces his wife for any reason, other than sexual immorality, he is guilty of adultery (and therefore, by Acts 15, he cannot enter into the assembly). Let us read verse 9 carefully.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:3-9
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’
5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moshe command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moshe, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

A woman’s world is oriented around her marriage. By unlawfully putting her away, it can destroy both her and her children’s worlds.

Elohim is serious about marriage because its purpose is to provide for children. Children do not typically do well if both parents do not dedicate themselves to the marriage. It often happens that children without two parent homes fall into cycles of violence for several generations, which is the consequence of generational sin (reference Exodus 20:5). Yahweh says that He “hates” divorce, because it “covers one’s garment with violence.”

Malachi 2:13-16
13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of Yahweh with tears,
With weeping and crying,
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because Yahweh has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks righteous offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
16 “For Yahweh Elohim of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says Yahweh of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

The Christian doctrine that there is nothing beyond “simple love” ignores the fact that love is operationally defined not by one’s feelings, but by one’s actions.

Yochanan (John) 14:15
15 “If you love Me, [then] keep My commandments.”

If we ignore the requirements for sexual morality in Torah then we are failing to love Yahweh and Yeshua, and we are also ignoring the fact that divorce causes real world damage. If we are willing to wrong a sister and her children (whom we have seen), how can we say that we love Elohim (whom we have not seen)?

Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 4:20-21
20 If someone says, “I love Elohim,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love Elohim whom he has not seen?
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves Elohim must love his brother also.

Even so, there are times for divorce. When Judah came back to the land in the days of Ezra, they had to put their pagan (idolatrous) wives and children away because idolatry is forbidden in the assembly.

Ezra 10:2-4
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our Elohim, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.
3 Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our Elohim to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our Elohim; and let it be done according to the Torah.
4 Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.”

We may not defile anything that belongs to Yahweh: we may not defile our assemblies, the camp, the land, or our marriages. Everything belonging to Yahweh is to be wholly set apart unto Him, and all idol worship, adultery, and lawlessness has to stay (or be put) on the outside.

This same principle also applies to marriages in the dispersion. Shaul tells us not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for our bodies are presently the temple of the living Elohim. Therefore yoking with unbelievers defiles His temple (i.e., our bodies).

Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 6:14-18
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with Torahlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
15 And what accord has Messiah with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
16 And what agreement has the temple of Elohim with idols? For you are the temple of the living Elohim. As Elohim has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their Elohim,
And they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says Yahweh.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 ‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says Yahweh El Shaddai.”

However, Shaul also tells us that we should not hasten to get a divorce, for Yahweh may yet use us to bring our spouse (and/or our children) to salvation. Shaul tells us that, in his opinion, as long as our spouse is willing to dwell, we should dwell (and be a witness unto them).

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 7:12-16
12 But to the rest I, not Yahweh, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.
13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are set apart.
15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But Elohim has called us to peace.
16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

We are all required to further the Great Commission any way we can. While we take up collections to send apostles, missionaries, and evangelists to other places, those who are called to remain in their same towns need to do all they can to witness in their local area. If part of this ministration is to their wife and children, then so much the better, and let each one remain in the calling in which he was called.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 7:20
20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.

Let us be clear that there is a difference between an idolater and a brother or sister who may not be as devout as he or she should be. In Ezra’s time the men put away all of their pagan wives and children who worshipped other elohim (and who would not convert to the worship of Yahweh). The reason Yeshua did not have to mention these things in Matthew 19 is that it was understood that idolatry and adultery were not allowed in the land.

So how do we apply this information? Let us look at a few different case studies, starting with the infamous example of King David and Uriah the Hittite.

Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 11:26-27
26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased Yahweh.

In order to cover up the fact that he had gotten Bat Sheva (Bathsheba) pregnant, David had caused her husband Uriah the Hittite to be killed. Yet even though Bat Sheva had mourned, David had not yet repented of his sins. Because Yahweh loved David, Yahweh had to bring David to repentance, so he could continue to be part of the nation of Israel.

Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 12:7-12
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says Yahweh Elohim of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Shaul.
8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!
9 Why have you despised the commandment of Yahweh, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.
10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
11 Thus says Yahweh: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.'”

The principle is simple: All those who practice idolatry or adultery, or consume strangled meats or blood, may not come into the congregation or into the land of Israel. Rather, the nation must be kept free from the leavening effects of sin. Because Yahweh loved David, He was willing to do whatever it took to help him become clean. Shaul used this same principle when he said that the adulterer in Corinth should be put outside of the assembly until he repented. So long as the Corinthian man’s spirit was eventually saved, it mattered little what happened to his body.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 5:5
5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Adon Yeshua.

Yeshua speaks of this same principle, letting us know that the body is merely a vessel for the spirit; and that whether we are rich or poor matters little, so long as we do what it takes to remain in Yahweh’s favor.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 16:26
26 “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Let us take a hypothetical example of a man who says he believes on Yeshua and keeps Torah. His wife has not committed any adultery, yet he divorces her and marries another woman. While the courts of many nations would recognize the divorce as being legal, it is not lawful according to Torah, and this man should not be allowed into the assemblies, because he is committing adultery.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:9
9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

The man and his first wife have a covenant relationship before Yahweh Elohim. Yahweh expects our covenants to be fulfilled, and He is not concerned with our convenience. Rather, He is concerned that we learn to keep our vows. The only thing that should keep this kind of a reunion from taking place is if she then goes and marries another man.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 24:1-4
1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,
2 when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,
3 if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife,
4 then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before Yahweh, and you shall not bring sin on the land which Yahweh your Elohim is giving you as an inheritance.

As we explain in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage,” the word “uncleanness” in verse 1 is the word ervah (ערוה), and it refers to a sexual uncleanness.

OT:6172 ervah (er-vaw’); from OT:6168; nudity, literally (especially the pudenda) or figuratively (disgrace, blemish):
KJV – nakedness, shame, unclean (-ness).

Yahweh has laws, statutes, judgments, and right-rulings. While ideal situations are governed by laws or statutes, in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, something has gone wrong. The situation is now all messed up, and we need to apply Yahweh’s judgments or right-rulings, which tell us how to make the best of a bad situation. This is the same kind of situation that Yoseph (Joseph) found himself in, when he learned that Miriam (Mary) was pregnant.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 1:18-19
18 Now the birth of Yeshua Messiah was as follows: After His mother Miriam was betrothed to Yoseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Ruach HaQodesh.
19 Then Yoseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

Yoseph thought he had found a matter of sexual uncleanness in Miriam. Rather than make her a public example (by having her stoned), he decided to put her away quietly in accordance with Deuteronomy 24:1-4. This was more compassionate than stoning, and this compassion may be what got Yoseph labeled as “a just man.”

Setting aside the example of Yoseph and Miriam, once a woman is put away for a matter of uncleanness and she then goes and becomes another man’s, she may not return to her former husband, for that would be to defile the land. Nonetheless, this is what the prophet Hosea was told to do with Gomer.

Hoshea (Hosea) 3:1
1 Then Yahweh said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of Yahweh for the children of Israel, who look to other elohim and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”

It is also what Yahweh does with the house of Ephraim.

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 3:1
1 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife,
And she goes from him
And becomes another man’s,
May he return to her again?’
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
But you have played the harlot with many lovers;
Yet return to Me,” says Yahweh.

The ideal is that we are supposed to stay with the woman that Yahweh puts us with, and it is only if our hearts are hard that we are allowed to divorce.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:8-9
8 He said to them, “Moshe, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9 But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

There are many complicating factors, and it is difficult to address them all in print. Congregational leaders are encouraged to contact us for guidance in specific cases.

There are more scenarios with regards to adultery than will fit in this book, but what really matters most is how we can set things right. Many of us come from less than ideal pasts, and the main question that we should ask is “What should we do now?”

Repentance is the main thing that Yahweh wants to see before He will forgive our sins, but repentance means more than just saying, “I am sorry.” Repentance means doing all that we can to fully restore our relationships with Yahweh and His other children.

While the word shalom means “peace,” it refers to a peace that is born of an absence of any issues. It refers to a true state of rest, where all issues between brothers and sisters in Israel have been thoroughly and completely settled. This is what Shaul alludes to in Romans 12:18.

Romim (Romans) 12:18
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live at Shalom with all men.

How many of us attempt to enter into the Sabbath with wrongful divorces or broken relationships that are not fully restored?

Yahweh is big and strong. If we sin against Him, He is not mocked. He will bring our sin back to us and throw it in our face, causing us to repent, or be cut off from the nation. How many of us have been cut off from the nation by our failure to set past relationships right, yet we do not even realize it?

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:9-11
9 “Therefore know that Yahweh your Elohim, He is Elohim, the faithful Elohim 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.
11 Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.”

Yahweh tells us to take care of widows and orphans.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 1:17
17 “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”

Women who are put away without rightful cause are really widows of a sort, and their children are effectively fatherless. Since Yahweh tells us to seek justice, it is our job to rebuke their oppressors, and defend the widows and orphans. But how can we do this, if we are not organized?

The Torah tells us to appoint judges and officers in all of our gates. This is precisely so that we can seek to establish justice in our assemblies, and keep those who refuse to maintain good relationships out.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:18
18 “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which Yahweh your Elohim gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment.”

At the end of the day, Yahweh’s kingdom is His people. If our relationships to others in His body are severed, then Yeshua’s body is all cut up inside. How can His body live when it has so many knife wounds?

Shaul pleads with us in the name of our Master Yeshua Messiah, that there be no divisions among us, but that we be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1:10
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Adon Yeshua Messiah, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Are we willing to submit to these words? Are we willing to do whatever is in our power to restore relationship with the rest of the children He has chosen? We know that not all of His people will rise to this challenge, but we also know that this is the test, to see who is approved, and who is not.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:18-19
18 For first of all, when you come together as an assembly, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

There will always be tares among the wheat, and goats among the sheep; it cannot be helped, for it is all part of the manner in which Yahweh refines silver and gold. However, we need to make sure that we are among those who try to do all that we can to live out our lives with our brothers and sisters in the right way, treating others as we would like to be treated.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 7:12
12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Torah and the Prophets.”

Congregational servants have a responsibility to care for the flock that is under their care. Not only do they need to make sure that they are not admitting anyone who practices any of the four abominations listed in Acts 15, but they also need to make sure that all those joined to their assembly are submitted to the understanding that Yeshua wants us to build, maintain, and restore broken relationships.

He who has an ear, let him hear.

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