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Stan

The Laws and Promises of the BIBLE

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Stan

Something @David Geelan said a few days ago.. GOT me thinking..  

Specifically dealing with the OT laws. Some where divine some may have been cultural some my be civil or civic.

Does on law apply for all all the time.?

Am thinking of they guy who ''spilled his seed' was the command not to, just for him, for his family? for his community, only for his/her decade etc etc?

 

Mohammed said to his followers they could have 4 wives, most muslims would say that was for a specific era alone, the deadly battles resulted in 4 females for every male.  Thus it made common sense to repopulated and protect females.

 

Thoughts?

 

Stan

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Stan

Same goes for the Promise....  i.e.  "I know the plans I have for you......" was that specific or was it for one person?

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Gail

You know, I don't think we can be dogmatic about it. I have found some passages of great impact to me personally even though their primary context was local.

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Gail

If it is true that God's word will not return to Him void, and if His word is indeed living, then the Holy Spirit can do  awesome things with it.

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debbym

 other laws in the old testament seem unexplained for timelessness and meaning for the extended future like not eating meat cooked in it's mothers milk, and not to make garment of mixed kinds of fibers.  When we stand in Christ alone, just what laws apply or what principles are the laws expressing that have contemporary meaning.  

The gentiles were only required to follow four simple requirements in the effort to make it clear they were not required to be circumcised.   Some have determined this meant the Sabbath was not for the Gentiles, but left  for the Christian Jews which is a prevalent view.

those who take the scripture in black and white do not seem to be able to move to symbolic meaning... then others seem  to be able to spiritualize away the whole old testament making the first five books myths.  what can you say?  it seems any formulation is possible.

i did pretty good to avoid this original thoughts area with no quoting but Stan's post snagged me good.

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Bravus

Thanks for the hat tip, Stan.

I think things like the sacrificial system have a clear reason for not being carried on once the Sacrifice they were designed to point to had happened.

Perhaps similarly, things like not making clothes from blended fibres were symbols of Israel's 'chosen people' status and the necessity to avoid mixing with other nations, but once the Gospel was extended to all of humanity these requirements are no longer needed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is a rational basis for sticking with some of the OT rules and not others. I think both fundamentalists and atheists often over-simplify this.

Other things, such as the dietary laws, have a scientific basis. My view is that eating a prawn is no longer a salvation matter, but may be advisable to avoid as it avoids filter feeders that can concentrate impurities. Not a requirement, but a rational choice.

Some of the laws around menstruation may have been essential in a desert with little water for reasons of health and sanitation, but aren't required today in terms of women not attending church (unless they need to stay home with a hot water bottle and some Midol).

Many of the laws were created in a theocracy for the protection and continuation of the nation, not so much for specifically religious/divine reasons... but in a culture in which those two things were much less differentiated than they are now anyway.

The underlying principles - of life and health and social cohesion and mutual protection - are eternal, but their application in specific rules may change as society and the physical environment changes.

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tigerwillow

I once heard someone explain that the reason the law was given to not cook a goat in its mother's milk was because the pagan cultures around them did exactly that as part of their idolatrous worship rituals to their gods.  By giving this law, God was trying to protect the Israelites from their proclivity to imitate their pagan neighbors and wandering off into dangerous territory.  When I heard this explanation, I saw these laws in a whole new light.  They are not just arbitrary rules to follow, but a means of protection and also an open declaration of God's desire for His people to have an untainted relationship with Him.

I believe this principle applies to all of the laws in the OT.  That being said, I don't believe that following all of the laws to the letter is relevant to us anymore, but we should still allow the spirit (message) behind them to influence our lives today.

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tigerwillow

I want to clarify that when I said I don't believe we should follow all the laws to the letter, I was not including the ten commandments.  I think the ten commandments are a separate category of laws which should never be lumped together with the other health, moral, civic and sacrificial laws.

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phkrause

tigerwillow in the BAR magazine, one of the issues, talks about that! Not sure which issue! I'd have to look it up.

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B/W Photodude

I can think of a number of places where our understandings of the rules given by Moses apart from the 10 Commandments are likely to be wrong, but sometimes people get mad when you bring it up, so I won't.

But speaking to the goat being cooked in it's mother's milk ... that is just so wrong to me. However, what I think about it really doesn't matter. I do see a real health reason to keep dairy and meat separate as is still done in Orthodox Jewish homes down to separate dishes even for dairy or meat. I used to leave out food (canned dog food - Alpo) for my dog thru the day and it wasn't really too good by the end of the day. Same if I left out milk for the dog. But if I mixed the canned dog food with the milk, but the end of the day it was quite the foul smelling mess. Needless to say, I didn't do that for my dog after the first time. Given the Israelites were out in the desert and refrigerators hadn't been invented yet, ... probably a good idea not to mix dairy and meat together. Given the problem with the snakes and the foul, they probably did not need to add food poisoning to all the problems they encountered. (The foul was also probably a case of mass food poisoning.)

Edited by Tom Wetmore
Quote removed

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tigerwillow

Good point BW.  I have wondered how they kept their food from spoiling during those times.  I think God must have helped them somehow or they would have all died out.

But back to the point, I think some of the laws could be applied in multiple ways.  Some of the applications may have been more relevant to those people in that specific situation, but other applications may have been meant to be more broad in scope so they would be relevant to future generations in similar but different circumstances.

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pierrepaul

I have never followed Deuteronomy 24:15. We pay our employees every two weeks in accordance with our current civil laws and our employment contracts. I suspect that the church doesn't pay workers every day either.

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Ellen

Although Adventists don't usually pay daily, the principle is that the employee should be paid when they are expecting it without begging or having to go to court.

The laws about marrying the brother to carry on the family name and property aren't needed now.  The principle was not to leave the woman vulnerable and homeless when her husband died.  Women weren't really allowed to work and own property as they are now.

 

 

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Ron Amnsn

When hiring someone who has been unemployed, I think it is appropriate to ask if he/she needs to be paid each day or each week until they get on their feet financially again.  Our culture assumes that people should be able to survive until the end of the pay period, but that is not always the reality of the situation. 

Is it righteousness if we follow our culture's expectations when those practices don't agree with God's instructions?

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Ron Amnsn

When God instructed the Israelites to not wear clothes woven of mixed fibers, I think it was specifically referring to mixing wool and linen as in Deut 22:11. 

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Ron Amnsn

If the "Ten Commandments" were the general principals and the instructions that God gave to Moses were the specific applications of those general principals, how do we know those applications don't still apply today?

Let's say some young kids are sitting in the front yard wishing there was a place to play soccer.  The street looks inviting, but Papa made a rule that said, "Don't play in the street."  The kids are feeling wise and intellectual so they begin trying to figure out the principle behind the rule just as we adults do when we try to figure out why God gave his instructions.  One kid says, "I think Papa made that rule because when he was a kid all streets were made of dirt and full of manure from the horses and oxen that pulled the wagons and carriages. Another kid responds, "Yeah, that's right-- Papa's parents didn't want him to get dirty or sick, so it made sense back then to have a rule like 'Don't play in the street', but times have changed-- streets are paved now and there's no manure in our street.  The first kid continues, "So we will stay clean and healthy even if we play in our street. We understand the "principle" of the rule so we can keep it in spirit, even though the letter of the law doesn't apply anymore.  Street soccer here we come!"  Will Papa be happy with the result? 

Do you think God authorized us to figure out the reason he gave the instructions in order to decide whether or not the specific applications still apply?

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pierrepaul

In the case of any law, at least two questions must be asked. (a) To whom does it apply? (b) when does it apply? (c) how does the law apply when circumstances change?

We see this with our own secular law. Certain laws apply only to citizens; other laws apply only to immigrants; some laws apply only to employers; some laws apply only to charities; some laws apply only to children; etc. Some laws apply to everyone. Similarly each law has a "coming into force" date; some laws have a "sunset" clause upon which they cease to be applicable.

Some laws must be interpreted to take into account a change of circumstances. For example, in the US, the 1st Amendment guarantees the "freedom of the press". In the 20th century the question was raised whether or not radio and television were part of the "press". The courts could have taken a "strict construction" literalist viewpoint and only extended this particular 1st amendment protection to printed papers; the courts also could have taken a "purposive" approach and considered emerging technologies as being part of the "press". Whatever the result, the mere text of the law was not sufficient to arrive at an answer, the provision had to be interpreted.

Query: of the laws given to Moses, were all the laws applicable to all people for all time? Were some laws only applicable to the Israelites? Did some laws cease to be applicable after a certain date (the cross)?

Additionally, much of the Bible consists of stories. When Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give to the poor, was this a command given only to the young man? Are we all enjoined to dispose of our possessions? Are there any general principles in this story applicable to today? Answering this question requires interpretation.

In the Old Testament, Namaan was commanded to bathe in the river 7 times. Was this command only for Namaan? Was it for all lepers? Was it for all people? How do we interpret this passage? Could it be that the purpose of the command was miraculously to heal Namaan of leprosy and that therefore the command didn't apply to non-lepers? Could it have been that the purpose of the command was to make a demonstration to Namaan and the witnesses and that therefore this command did not apply to persons other than Namaan? Answering these questions requires interpretation and an examination of the purpose of the command.

Do any Christians who own a home or a farm deed the property back to the original owners after 49 years? Are we supposed to do so?

What about the command to pay tithe to the Levites? Do any Christians still pay tithe to the Levites? Would we even know how or where to find members of the tribe of Levi? Was this law abolished? If so how and where? Were the beneficiaries of this law transferred from the Levites to the Christian professional clergy? If so, again how and where did this happen? In answering these questions, is it not useful to consider the purpose of the original command?

Since God delivered to us His laws, instructions, parables and principles in human language, subject to the inherent ambiguities of human language, and since God delivered such laws, instructions, parables and principles in specific places, circumstances and times, I don't see how the interpretive faculty does not fall to us.

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8thdaypriest

I understand there are some 613 commands in the Books of Moses.  Admittedly, some are duplicated (1. Do this.  means  2.  Don't do that.).  

Is it true that God's command not to touch what is unclean, would prohibit keeping dogs or cats as pets within our homes?

The command not to trim the corners of the beard - only have full beards - to me seems yucky.  Such beards seem scruffy to me.  I like clean shaven faces, or well trimmed beards.  Full beards make it seem the man is hiding his face.  Maybe the original purpose of shaving was so the ruler could more easily see the faces of his subjects. 

I realize the command was to keep Israel separate from pagan cultures - like the Babylonians or Egyptians.  Who knows?  Maybe it was also to prevent infection from nicks and cuts.   Today we have safety razors.

Am I rebelling against God to say such things?  Doesn't feel like it.

Then there's the command not to cut one's flesh, or mark one's body.  Would certainly put the tattoo industry out of business.   Does anyone know if slaves were branded or tattooed by their masters in ancient times? 

 

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8thdaypriest

There are some commands in the Torah that seem totally against our moral values today.  Slavery and debt servitude - for instance.  If a man sold himself into slavery for debt, then he had to serve for six years (regardless of the size of the debt).  If he was married when he became a debt-slave, then his wife became a slave too.  If he married during his six years of servitude, then his wife and children were not freed at the end of the six years.  They remained the property of the master.  If the man loved his wife and kids, then he had to become the permanent property of the master. 

Daughters were SOLD as maidservants (as backup, in case a wife was unable to have sons). 

Then there are all the DEATH PENALTY offenses.  Striking ones father or his mother.  Cursing one's father or his mother.  Sorcery.  Having sex with an animal.  Male with male sex.  Adultery with another man's wife.  Incest.  Sex with a daughter-in-law.  Marriage to both a woman and her daughter.   In our culture, we do not EXECUTE people for doing these things.  One might think we are describing Sharia Law. 

Peter said that Paul wrote things hard to understand.  Personally, I find more difficult things in the Torah.  As a woman, I certainly would NOT want to be forced into marriage with the man who raped me.  

The Hebrew people did not live in a vacuum.  They lived within an Ancient Middle Eastern culture, with blood covenants, slavery, subjugation of women as property, and worship of many gods.   The LORD did not yank them completely out of their culture.  He adapted their culture, making only those changes which would draw them into a covenant with Himself.    Some of the cultural adaptations, have passed into history (slavery, and debt slavery for instance), and the complete subjugation of woman (at least in Western culture). 

The commands concerning HOW to TREAT your slaves, is not speaking to the whole principle of slavery. 

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8thdaypriest

What I find totally AMAZING, is how the LORD's commands also serve as prophecy. 

Hebrew debt slaves were to be free at the end of six years of service.  Non-Hebrew slaves were not.  Non-Hebrew slaves were property forever.  An owner could even pass them on to his sons.  This is a miniature prophecy.  If we are servants of Christ - if we belong to Him - then we will be set free at the end of 6000 years.  Those who do not belong to Jesus (the ultimate Master) will remain prisoners of Satan and death forever. 

Paul uses this law as imagery for his own choice to remain the servant/slave of Jesus Christ forever.  He has gone to the door post (as it were) and had his ear pierced. 

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phkrause

I'm in agreement Wanderer with your statement!! I believe that the 10 Commandments and the other laws spoken to Moses are definitely separate. One reason is the Commandments were placed into the Ark and all the other laws, etc., were placed in the side of the Ark!! My 2 cents worth!!

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Ron Amnsn

The "Ten Commandments" were also placed beside the ark. If they hadn't been written in the scroll that was placed there, how would we even know what words God spoke from Mt. Sinai, since the stone tablets have not been available for reading? 

The ark was called the "ark of the covenant" for a reason.  It wasn't called "the ark of the law" or "the ark of the instructions".  The ark contained the covenant document.  The scroll contained the instructions [Torah] of the Great King who made the covenant.

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debbym

to love was a command. , what God spoke came to be.  His people love by the power of the spoken word.  Is this  the law of love, to hear and obey,  willingly doing what the word says, by the power of that word? 

This relationship of hearing it,  then what you hear becoming real in your life,  because you receive it as the living word of God...  is not explicitly described in the ten commandments.

When God spoke from Mt. Sinai the people asked for Him to stop, they felt they would die hearing the voice of God.  They asked Moses to speak for God instead.  I don't believe God ever changes but what he speaks to peoples hearts however  distinct or  specific it is from one occasion to another....  it is still pure love.  I believe it is also timely to what they need at that moment.

The law of Love involves choice and the highest freedom of conscience.  i believe it is involved in every law and every command and every promise, which can be described as commands to trust, to love, to believe it, to depend on, to live by,  and are points of contact with God to experience His incredibly powerful, but a purely loving power.

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