“Did Jesus merely restate the Law of
Moses in Matthew 19:9, or did he actually give a new law of his own?
taught this while the Old Law was in effect, is this passage applicable
today? What do you think?”
These are very important questions.
Rather than pursuing my opinion, let’s study this passage and reason
“And I say to you, whoever divorces his
wife, except for sexual immorality [fornication-KJV], and marries
commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits
(Matthew 19:9). It is clear that Jesus was teaching something very
from the Old Testament law. Note the following contrasts:
The Law of Christ permits divorce on the grounds of sexual
infidelity; the Law of Moses permitted divorce for an “unseemly thing.”
man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she
favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness [unseemly
in her; then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in
and send her out of his house” (Deuteronomy 24:1 KJV.)
The Law of Christ forbids an adulterer to remarry; the Law
Moses commanded that an adulterer be put to death. “If a man is found
with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die, both
that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil
from Israel” (Deuteronomy 22:22).
The Law of Christ is intended for “whoever”-Jews and
or everyone this side of the cross (Matthew 28:19-20); the Law
was intended only for the Jews (Deuteronomy 5:3; 1 Chronicles 22:13).
While Jesus, in
fact, lived under the Old Law (Galatians 4:4), he gave this legislation
concerning divorce in anticipation of the time when his new law would
effect in his [then] coming church/kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 9:1;
Colossians 2:14.) “Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their
synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23).
19:9 is, in fact, applicable to us today. “He who rejects Me, and does
receive My words, has that which judges him-the word that I have spoken
judge him in the last day” (John 12:48; 17:4-5).