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20.  Christ and the Gentiles.

Now there are those in whose case it has happened that the man dwells with them without having hated them, because they abide in the house of the last husband, who took to himself their synagogue as wife.  But also in their case the latter husband dies,62016201    Deut. xxiv. 3. perhaps whenever the last enemy of Christ, death, is destroyed.  But whichever of these things may happen, whether the former or the latter to the wife, the former husband, it says, who sent her away, will not he able to turn back and take her to be a wife to himself after she has been defiled, since “it is abomination,” it says, “before the Lord thy God.”62026202    Deut. xxiv. 4.  But these things will not seem to be consistent with this, “If the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, all Israel shall be saved.”62036203    Rom. xi. 25, 26.  But consider if it can be said to this, that, if she shall be saved by her former husband returning and taking her to himself as wife, she will in any case be saved after she has been polluted.  A priest, then, will not take to himself as a wife one who has been a harlot and an outcast,62046204    Lev. xxi. 14. but no other, as being inferior to the priest, is hindered from doing so.  But if you seek for the harlot in regard to the calling of the Gentiles, you may use the passage, “Take to yourself a wife of fornication, and children of fornication,”62056205    Hos. i. 2. etc.; for, as “the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless,”62066206    Matt. xii. 5. so he who, casting out his former wife, takes in due season “a wife of fornication,” having done it according to the command of Him who says, when it is necessary, and so long as it was necessary, “He shall not take a harlot to wife,” and, when it was reasonable, He says, “Take to 509yourself a wife of fornication.”  For as the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath,62076207    Matt. xii. 8. and not the slave of the sabbath as the people are, so He who gives the law has power to give it “until a time of reformation,”62086208    Heb. ix. 10. and to change the law, and, when the time of the reformation is at hand, also to give after the former way and after the former heart another way and another heart, “in an acceptable time, and in a day of salvation.”62096209    2 Cor. vi. 2.  And let these things be said according to our interpretation of the law in regard to the bill of divorcement.

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