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#38359 - Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:49 AM Question on Ceremonial Defilement  
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olpo25 Offline
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olpo25  Offline

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(After posting this, I realize now that this might have belonged in the "Open forum" section-so sorry about that, my first post. I don't know if anyone here would have the ability to move this to the proper location or not but if the moderators feel I put this in the wrong place, if you'd be kind enough to move it to the proper setting I would appreciate that very much. I'll be sure to study the forum and its guidelines fully prior to posting again.)

Could somebody explain to me (As an amateur) some of the issues concerning OT ceremonial defilement and what the true intent/meaning was behind some of these areas? I've spent months trying to get through this part and I just can't seem to make any headway despite help from a very good friend that's a Theologian who's done a remarkable job helping me.

Here, specifically, I might address the following in Moses' law-evicting those having accidental seminal discharges, women giving birth, and Lepers.

While many articles I've found online elude to health reasons/precautions, while I don't doubt such might have been a secondary premise clearly there is more to it than that; this appears to have everything to do with teaching man about the sin nature/God's inability to allow sinners into His holiness as a basic rule, in this case, even worshipping Him.

I believe there is another account of this general ideology written later in the OT involving a scenario where individuals are told to refrain from sitting in the same chair a menstrating woman might have sat hours prior. Contact with the dead would be another, presumably here again because death itself would represent sin.

In the case of evaluating God's own decision to evict lepers from camp/ceremonial worship back in the books of Moses, however, how than does one explain why Jesus (God) was not only allowed to touch these people, the same people God Himself had essentially deemed social outcasts Himself 1000 or more years earlier, but than goes onto to discipline the Jews making the good Samaritan a positive example during such?

Without question, the Christian heart recognizes the positive compassion and love behind Christ's actions, but it makes no sense to me that God would have sent forth His only Begotten to preach in His own name a message standing in direct contrast to the original instructions given in the books of Moses.

I'm simply trying to understand what we would think of a modern day parent precisely instructing his/her child to avoid all of the sick children at school (Sue, if a child is sick at school stay 90 feet back at all times), only to at one point later after years of dictating such behavior inform the child that she is to go up and embrace sick kids at school and let them feel welcome, which in and of itself doesn't represent common sense but is stated here to make the argument for a hypothetical situation that would be right in line with this.

Now, the friend I mentioned at the beginning of this explained some of the overall premise w/ this by pointing out Biblical examples where it was always right "To take one for the team" which of course is one of the main points of the Bible and summarizes the life of Christ and many of the prophets. If memory serves, he gave me a great example at the time whereby just because God might have deemed those having attended a funeral as defiled for seven days doesn't mean He actually supported people not attending funerals. Instead here, the prescribed order would have been to attend the funeral and take the seven day defilement for the team, etc.

Personally, the issue of mass confusion for me personally continues to be why God put down such codes of defilement in the first place if He knew the people would be confused and/or unable to live up to the expectations in the first place, and concerning the matter of prohibiting people from sitting in chairs where a menstrating woman might have sat hours prior, why such a choice was made to teach the people about the contageous aspects of sin in such a way rather than teaching such lessons in the present day realities like we would find in a scenario of the modern rock star luring teenage kids into lives of sex and drugs, etc.

I realize I've asked more than my fair share of questions here and I certainly didn't intend to take advantage but the truth of the matter is that I've been dealing with such mass confusion from all of this I've considered checking myself in to a hospital for psychiatric help in all honesty-I was a complete Biblical amateur that might have made the mistake of flying into the OT in depth without involving myself in a group Bible study, and I've paid the price to some extent for having done things in this manor.

At any rate, I'm hopeful that someone will be able to help me with some of these issues. I certainly won't make it a habbit of writing any more messages to this length, promise.

Thanks so much.

Last edited by olpo25; Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:07 AM.
#38360 - Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:36 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Robin Offline
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Hi, and welcome to the Highway!

Let me just dive in, but as you've written you may already have heard a lot of this already.

Leprosy represents death (because the skin appears to be rotting away), and death is the result of sin. Menstrual blood also represents sin, perhaps because of its association with death. But why was Christ allowed to touch lepers without having to undergo the ceremonial cleansing?

Because He cleansed the leper - making him no longer unclean. Only the sinless God-Man could touch the unclean without being defiled. Elisha could not touch Namaan to cure his leprosy, but sent him to wash (2nd Kings 5). I think this is a picture of the holiness and divinity of Jesus, that He would not be made unclean Himself by the presence of or even contact with sin. He lived among sinful people. He came to make them holy like Himself. He has made holiness "transferable" from Himself to others, just as uncleanness was transferable from lepers/ As sin and death is transferred to us from Adam, so life and righteousness is transmittable by Christ, the "second Adam" (1st Corinthians 15:21-22).

Hopefully this is at least a start towards answering your question...

-Robin

#38361 - Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:40 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Paul_S Offline
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olpo25,

Your title jumped out at me because my own reading had taken through the chapters you refer to, Leviticus 11-16, only a couple weeks ago and I found the relevant notes in the New Geneva Study Bible very helpful. Here are a few lines from those notes, which are in line with what Robin just said as well.
Quote
From the NGSB notes: (my comments in italics)
Leviticus 11:1-16:34 ... "Clean" means "fit for God's presence" and "unclean" means "unfit for God's presence". Anyone who was unclean or who had come in contact with uncleanness was to abstain from public worship until he was cleansed. The basic idea is that God is perfect life, while the essence of uncleanness is death. ...

Quote
Leviticus 11:1-47 ... though all corpses are unclean ... some perfectly healthy creatures are also stated to be unclean in a milder sense. ... Carnivorous animals and birds of prey eat flesh with blood in it, something forbidden to human beings. (The notes then describe unclean animals symbolizing the Gentiles and clean animals--which alone could be sacrificed in the stead of people--representing the Israelites; the food distinction is explicitly abrogated in Acts 10 when the Gentiles are finally cleansed through Christ)

Quote
Leviticus 13:1-14:57 ... The close association of uncleanness with death is shown in 13:45. The person afflicted ... behaved as a mourner. He was excluded from the camp, not to protect the health of Israel, but because God was in the camp and uncleanness (death) had to be separated from the presence of God (life).

Quote
Leviticus 15:1-33 ... any loss of a "life fluid" suggested death and was incompatible with the presence of God, who is perfect life.


In order to understand the purpose of the ceremonial law, rather than speculate about a better approach, you really need to jump to the end of the book, and spend some time in Hebrews chs 9-10. Here it becomes clear that the ceremonial law was never a perpetual end in itself, but was inaugurated by God to prepare his people for the eternal cleansing to be accomplished by Jesus Christ. The uncleanness that he removes from us is not the mere symbols of sin and death, but the actual moral guilt which, if not removed by the blood of Christ, must separated forever from the thrice-holy God.
Quote
According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:9-14, ESV)


In Christ,
Paul S
#38362 - Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:10 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: Paul_S]  
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olpo25 Offline
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Thank you so much, both of you, for your help and responses, much appreciated.

I realize now that by the end of this one I will have unintentionally told you a fib in the email I wrote this morning when I said I wouldn't write another lengthy one-please forgive me. This time, I really do promise I won't do it again after this one. For whatever reason the responses given by you two opened something up for me in the thinking process, so you might have given me the chance to pull a great deal of this together. Unfortunately, it's led to a couple of more questions I might have to ask you~.

Concerning the ceremonial defilement issue I wrote about this morning that you've responded to here, I think a person can struggle to make sense of these areas but in the end, as you both point out, once we get to the NT itself the story ends up being about Jesus Christ and what He did for us-that's the only explanation that makes sense.

The great complexity, again, is to ask why God would have had them partaking in these various rituals to begin with. If, however, a person looks at all such things from the standpoint of Jesus and than looks at the process in reverse, maybe than that is the only way we can truly understand what the intent was to begin with from the overall standpoint of the human need for a Saviour. That gives me a lot of hope suddenly to look at this from the opposite angle-instead of putting Jesus on trial, than, perhaps it's best to let Him do the explaining and look it another way-thanks again for the answers, both of you.

In addition to the ceremonial aspect confusion, the following would than remain as my only real source of confusion regarding the OT, which has to do with the law-

Most Christians today conclude that from a Christian standpoint God's New Covenant in Christ abolished the Old, including the law w/ the exception of the 10 Commandments, though Jesus revealed a different way for us to live by such even in that case.

Knowing that God doesn't change, however, we know He still treasures righteousness and for His children to do all we can to live for Christ the right way.

Thus, we know, for example, that He doesn't like children that speak disrespectfully to their parents, and/or those engaged in something like sorcery or witchcraft.

In the OT, however, these people were stoned to death for such infraction, albeit in the case of the child disrespecting his/her parents the law appears to lie out a situation where the child does so repeatedly, etc.

Today, in this age, obviously we don't execute people for such violations. From the standpoint of the Bible, however, what reason is given for this change?

Is it that precise point that we acknowledge that we're all sinners, the call now being to accept Christ and live for Him as best we can while bringing others into His Kingdom, and once that takes place the attitude and Christian heart drives one away from such things?

Case in point-in a recent poll, it was estimated that 80% of today's adult film stars were molested as children.

In the OT, however, regardless of childhood circumstances, etc, these people would have been stoned to death. Here today, however, the Christian, while certainly condemning such behavior, would make the effort to embrace the person and bring them to Christ and lead them to repentance.

So while I understand certain differences between the OT law and God's New Covenant through Christ, still there are other parts of this I have a hard time understanding. In terms of the following question, if I understand this correctly I'm guessing most of it might go back to Jeremiah 31:33-34-

In a national storyline months ago, many were outraged w/ a pet owner that took few precautions with a known viscious pet bull that wound up killing a child. The natural response among the majority was that the owner was liable because he didn't take enough responsibility to take care of the situation with the animal.

Well, there it is right in Exodus 21:29, the premimse, at least w/ the vast majority of the population agreeing about such, with the exception of the call to kill the owner.
That said, we're literally witnessing Jeremiah 31:33-34 play out right before us than, aren't we.

The point to all of this I suppose would be to ask if Jeremiah 31:33-34 is the main reason we don't follow the OT law structure anymore specifically aside from reading it to better understand God's ideals of justice and righteousness, this because under the New Covenant God's law is already written on the heart among believers in Christ, the major changes being-
1-that Christ helps guide us to the right path
2-the call for executing the wrongdoer in the vast majority of cases (The pit bull owner, prostitute, sassy child, sorcerer) is taken away because we realize we all fall short and all have sinned, and thus under the NC forgiveness is granted upon genuine repentance which would negate the call for executing the wrongdoer, even though justice is clearly still warranted outside of that in terms of righting the wrong.

This was a very confusing process for me to get through in terms of the OT study, and clearly I still have a long way to go. Thankfully, however, at this point, thanks in large part to the many kind souls He sent to help me along the way like the two of you, I was able to find my way back to Christ the Person.

When I went into this at the first, the confusion led me to legitimately question Jesus which was the most heartbreaking experience of my life. While I have a long way to go to get to where I need to be for Him, the heart's love for Him had meant so very much throughout life, even if such was a childlike faith previously. Thus, when these OT questions came to surface, it felt as if I was stabbing my Best Friend in the back-the guilt was just terrible.

Again, though, with the help of His people like you two, I think I'm finally back on course, so I truly can't ever thank you enough. Please take care now.

#38363 - Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:04 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Paul_S Offline
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olpo25,

Thank you for your kind words. I pray that the God of all grace will indeed establish you solidly through faith in his beloved Son, the Lord Christ.

Quote
You stated:
once we get to the NT itself the story ends up being about Jesus Christ and what He did for us-that's the only explanation that makes sense.


That is indeed the main point, to which we must continually return. And not only is Jesus "the only explanation that makes sense" of the Old Testament ceremonial regulations--as if he were the first to finally figure it out--it was because of God's eternal purposes to be fulfilled in Christ that God patiently, in the way of a tutor, instructed his people over the centuries by way of precept, type and shadow, as seen in the following Scriptures:

Quote
(All quotations from the English Standard Version)
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1-2)

And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)

Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45)

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. ... But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:4,6)

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ... But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:1-4,12-14)

The Old Testament must be understood in light of the fulfilling of all things in Christ. This is especially true when attempting to understand issues similar to those you have raised concerning the laws unique to Israel between the time of Moses and that of Jesus. Please take a minute to familiarize yourself with the common understanding among the bulk of reformed Christians as expressed in The Westminster Confession of Faith:
Quote
Of the Law of God, Chapter 19 (excerpts):
I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

II. This law, after his Fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon mount Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four commandments containing our duty toward God, and the other six our duty to man.

III. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a Church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New Testament.

IV. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

V. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.


Understanding the threefold distinction between God's moral law--able to be known by all people at all times--and the civil and ceremonial regulations--for Israel awaiting Christ--has a great impact on the questions you raise.

It must be remembered that the more stringent penalties under Moses--as capital punishment for blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking and carelessness with one's beasts--were given to a people unique among the tribes of the world in their access to the presence of God, who had no conceivable excuse for any violation of his covenant terms with them. The Gentiles however, then as now, while not required to obey the covenantal obligations of Sinai, were nevertheless subject to the moral law, including universally-revealed applications of it as in the Cultural Mandate (Genesis 2) and the Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9)--the latter being an example of the continuing validity for capital punishment for murder.

May I ask you to comment on your understanding of how God sees you in light of the requirements of his moral law?


In Christ,
Paul S
#38364 - Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:01 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: Paul_S]  
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Robin Offline
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Florida
When it comes to the ceremonial law, I like to say that the Old Testament ceremonies were pictures of Christ that looked forward with faith to the cross, just as our New Testament ordinances (baptism and the Lord's Supper) look backwards in time with faith to the cross. Because the ceremonies represented Christ and foretold the gospel, it was vital that they not be compromised or corrupted in any way - hence the particular detail in each picture of Christ in the Old Testament. Even violating the ceremonial law could result in death (as it did for Nadab and Abihu in the Old Testament (Leviticus 10:1-3) and for those who are "sickly" and those who "sleep" for making light of the Lord's Supper in the Corinthian church (1st Corinthians 11:27-30). The ceremonies tell the gospel! But in our time of looking backwards in time with faith, we observe only the ceremonies that Christ has instituted. Paul warned the Galatians about falling back into a superstitious obedience to the ceremonial law.

The civil laws of ancient Israel do not apply directly to us, because we don't live there and the ancient theocracy doesn't exist anymore. But the ancient civil laws do apply wherever "general equity" does. Here's what I mean:

There's a law in the Bible that requires a fence around the roof in home construction (Deuteronomy 22:8). The general equity is harder to see unless you know that folks in that time used to entertain on their rooftops. It was like today's backyard, you might say. So the principle that still applies today might be, "put a fence around your swimming pool. Use a trigger lock on your firearms. Keep sharp objects away from Robin," etc.

The moral law was also completely fulfilled in every detail by Christ, so that the Law cannot be used to condemn those who have been justified by Christ. But it still reflects the will of God morally and is binding on all men in all times.

But the two Testaments do seem so completely different from one other, at least to at first. In the Old Testament God seems harsh and judgmental - even capricious. But in the New Testament  we find Jesus apparently abrogating the death penalty for adultery, forgiving theft, etc, and being a friend to sinners. From Old Testament to New, it looks like God radically changed and decided to "lighten up." Or that He decided that His old plan wasn't working and decided to come up with an entirely new plan. This new plan appears to be far less burdensome than the old one, allowing for far more leniency and liberty.
 
That's the way it looks to those who have been taught that only the New Testament really matters and the Old is "irrelevant." But in fact, the Bible is one Book from Genesis to Revelation, written over thousands of years on three different continents and (mostly) in two languages. The plan of God to redeem a people for Himself remains unchanged from Eden.
 
How then can we explain the apparently huge differences between God's seeming Old Testament harshness and His New Testament mercy? As a new believer I was often quite frankly offended by some of the stories I found in the Old Testament, where it seemed to me that God was being unduly harsh and judgmental. I thought, "He wouldn't have done that in the New Testament!"
 
On the advice of a mentor of mine, as I read through the whole Bible, I was to put a red "X" in the margin of the page next to any text which offended my sensibilities. I found quite a few in the Old Testament, where it seemed to me that God was "too quick to judge" and acted with "undue" harshness. There were passages where it also seemed, to be brutally honest, that God was being completely arbitrary and unfair! Three in particular bothered me:
 
The story of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-3),
The killing of Uzzah (1 Chronicles 13:1-11), and
The extermination of the people of Canaan
Each of those red Xs" in the
margins represented a place where I disagreed with God. These were points at which God and I had very different ideas of what is right and what is fair. If I could not resolve these differences, I knew that I would simply have to accept God's definition of what is good and bad, fair and unfair. When I disagree with God, He is right and I'm wrong! But I put the "X"s in the margins anyway, if only to discover where God and I differed and also to see if those differences are truly negated in the New Testament.
 
Nadab and Abihu were "innocently" playing games with the firepans and holy objects in the tabernacle (they were probably teenagers, according to Bible scholars) when God suddenly burned them alive with fire from the altar. Their father Aaron (and Moses' brother) was offended by the deaths of his sons and appealed to Moses. But God said, "I will be treated as holy by those who come near Me (Lev 10:3)." Was God really being unfair? Were Nadab and Abihu just innocently fooling around and then suddenly killed in an arbitrary act of a harsh God acting impulsively? Actually no. They knew what they were doing, and they knew that they were in the very presence of God. The text suggests that they were drunk as they goofed off in the presence of the LORD. They had been trained in minute detail how to properly minister in the tabernacle, yet they behaved as if God didn't even really exist. They showed no fear of Him even as they stood before His altar. No, God was not unfair after all.
 
But what about Uzzah? Uzzah only tried to save the Ark of the LORD from falling into the mud from the ox-drawn cart. And what did Uzzah get for his trouble? ZAP! God kills Uzzah right on the spot. Uzzah was only trying to help, and there wasn't exactly time to think before acting - the Ark was toppling! Surely God was unfair in this instance, right? I just had to look a little deeper to find the answer to that question. Uzzah was a Kohathite. The sole responsibility of the Kohathites was to cover and transport the holy objects and utensils of the tabernacle (see Numbers 4:15 and 19-20). No one but the priests were allowed to even look upon the holy objects, let alone actually touch and handle them. The Kohathites were trained to approach two at a time walking backward and carrying a cover between them so that the cloth would cover the Ark. It was to be carried by men using staves inserted through rings (so placing the Ark on an oxcart was definitely a violation). The Kohathites were trained from childhood to no other vocation but the moving of the tabernacle. Every Kohathite knew better than to use an oxcart to carry the Ark - and they certainly knew better than to reach out and actually touch the Ark of God. In fact, mud would not have desecrated the Ark had it fallen - mud is not guilty of sin as men are. Uzzah treated the Ark like museum piece instead of the altar of the living God, arrogantly daring to touch it. Was God unfair and arbitrary in His response to Uzzah's betrayal of his lifetime of training? Not at all. Uzzah actually deserved what he got.
 
Surely the genocide of the Canaanites by the Hebrews was unfair though. God ordered the Hebrews to conquer the land and kill everything that breathed Canaanite air - men, women, children, livestock, pets! That definitely seems absolutely cruel and arbitrary to a "New Testament Christian." Why would God order the complete destruction of an entire race of people He created, and why put women and children to death?
 
Quote

Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God had driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness nor for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Know then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people (Deuteronomy 9:6, NASB).

 
So, were the Hebrews unfairly favored over the Canaanites? They weren't given the land because they deserved it. They were given the land because God was driving out a hideously wicked people. The Canaanites received justice for their wickedness. The Hebrews, no doubt better in our estimation than the Canaanites were, nevertheless were not blessed because of their own righteousness "for you are a stubborn people," the LORD had said. The Hebrews received MERCY. The Canaanites received JUSTICE.
 
When we are offended by stories in the Bible, it is often because we presume upon God's mercy. We think that God is somehow obligated to show mercy to everyone, just because He has shown mercy to some. But if God is obligated to forgo justice and show mercy, then how can we still call it mercy? Mercy means we DON'T get what we deserve. Justice means we GET what we deserve. If mercy is mandatory, it can no longer be called mercy at all!
 
Jesus Christ was asked this same kind of question about the seeming unfairness of providence (see Luke 13:1-5). Where was God when the tower of Siloam fell on innocent passers-by? What about the innocent Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices? Christ's answer was a terse as the Deuteronomy passage above:
 
Quote


Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse debtors than the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:2-5, NASB).


 
The Galileans and victims of the Siloam tower collapse were not inncocent victims who deserved better than they got, according to Jesus. We ALL deserve what they received. NO ONE IS INNOCENT, and God is under no obligation to show mercy to anyone. The wonder is not that God shows mercy to some and justice to the rest. The wonder is that God shows mercy to anyone at all!
 
Only once in history has an innocent suffered.
 
If any act of God should truly offend us; if there is any Bible story where God can truly be said to have been unduly harsh and unfair, you won't find it in the Old Testament. It's in the New. A completely innocent, totally pure, sinless and perfect Man suffered and died for the wrongdoing of others - you and me.
 
Was that unfair? Absolutely yes. Yet was God unjust? Absolutely not.
 
Throughout the Old Testament, Christ is pictured! He is the heel that bruises the serpent, the Passover lamb, the High Priest who intercedes for His people, the King who delivers them from evil. Christ's work is pictured in every detail of Old Testament law, both ceremonial and civil. Christ is the culmination and fulfillment of the Old Testament! That is the main reason why the Old Testament seems harsher. Another reason is the Jews had corrupted the intent and application of the Law with their traditions. God didn't change! His plan was never changed, altered, or improved upon from before the founding of the world.
 
-Robin

#38365 - Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:19 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Paul, based on my understanding at this point, at least, not to mention what the heart would say is that we would study the OT law only as a means to learn about God's righteousness/standards of justice, but would never attempt to obey it from the standpoint of following it as a checklist of do's and dont's, for we would all fail at ever living up to His righteousness, and any attempt to do so would most likely lead to pride given our sin nature.

I haven't read Paul's writings about the law in any detail yet, but the little of the NT I have heard about where Paul talks about this, I think I've literally lived some of it out in the process of this study of the OT, Paul.

By humbly obeying Christ and by following the Holy Spirit's guidance (Jeremiah 31:33-34 here again), just like a Christian told me recently, true believers will obey seat belt laws and other various rules out of willing love for Christ and His call to obey authority, etc.

There's an enormous differece between the two mindsets, clearly w/ the great beauty found in the Christian approach for very obvious reasons.

Regardless of some of these roadblocks I've run into during the struggle with the OT, I will certainly never leave Christ. After a year or more of researching the OT in depth,the Lord has revealed more and more understanding concerning the OT directly and through the help of His people.

For the first time now, I finally have some hope again and am now able to fully appreciate all that He's taught me about my own sin nature along the way.

The heartbreaking thing to have discovered in terms of the OT study itself is just how much rebellion and pride I had lurking within that in all honesty I never knew was there, perhaps in certain capacities but never to the extent by which the Lord has revealed it directly like this.

Now it's merely a matter of working through the few questions that remain and getting my head back on straight and returning to Christ to allow the Holy Spirit to take over. Clearly, that's where I wanted to be all along so it'll be great to be home.

After having reviewed this website a bit further, I really am thankful for the opportunity. The Lord sent me to a dear soul working as a theologian that advised me to come here, and I couldn't be happier for the opportunity.

PS-Robin, you must have either just snuck your post in while I was writing back to Paul or I missed it completely prior to writing this. Thank you so much-I will write you back later once I make my way through what you have written. Thanks again.

#38366 - Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:23 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Quote
olpo25 said:
In the case of evaluating God's own decision to evict lepers from camp/ceremonial worship back in the books of Moses, however, how than does one explain why Jesus (God) was not only allowed to touch these people, the same people God Himself had essentially deemed social outcasts Himself 1000 or more years earlier, but than goes onto to discipline the Jews making the good Samaritan a positive example during such?

First of all, welcome to the Discussion Board! [Linked Image]

Sorry for jumping in a bit late on this discussion. Paul and Robin have already addressed the truth that in Christ ALL has been fulfilled (cf. Matt 5:17). See also: Toward a Theology of the State, by John Frame.

As to Christ touching lepers, I regret I don't have time to extrapolate on this subject as it is one I have done considerable study and one which I have found most interesting and edifying. But let me just say that in Isaiah 53:4-


Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.


the Hebrew word for "stricken" is the same root word for leprosy. Thus, when Christ touched a leper, He fulfilled that which was spoken by Isaiah, i.e., He became a leper for us (substitution) (2Cor 5:21). See my sermon here for more: The Great Physician.

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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#38367 - Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:29 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Robin, Pilgrim, thank you both so much.

Robin, the description you've given in terms of your original struggle with the OT back as a new Believer masks so much of what I've been experiencing personally.

It seems that specifically over the past couple of weeks I've become more settled on these conflicts-over time the Lord seems to have revealed His true intent/motives behind these things. Like I mentioned previously, I had Him made out to be such a monster at first which played a large part in this state of confusion I've been working through for many of the exact same reasons/thoughts you appear to have struggled with at first. Thanks for sharing your experience w/ me, Robin.

And Pilgrim, I'm assuming you're a pastor, thank you as well so much for the excellent sermon you shared with me. It was very well written and very comforting. The Lord's helped you put the pieces together in such a way whereby the specific descriptions/wording in your sermon do a wonderful job of revealing the big picture.

I thank the Lord and all of you for your dear willingness to help me like this. I'm finally at that place now where there's a sense of hope again. Looking back now, it's amazing to see how the Lord uses His people to lead you back on the right path using the certain personalities your most comfortable with along the way to help you along the way.

I've reviewed this website now and have a general sense in place of the prevalent thoughts/beliefs. Though I'm a younger person to some degree, perhaps this is the type of belief system/structure I'm most comfortable with deep down. I felt at home immediately with the gentleman I mentioned previously that advised me to come here, so again can't be more thankful for the opportunity and everyone's help over the past couple of days. Thanks again, all of you.

#38368 - Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Rewind:

Quote
this is the type of belief system/structure I'm most comfortable with deep down. I felt at home immediately...


I remember feeling exactly the same way when I heard the doctrines of grace innumerated in "short form" for the first time. The teacher called it Calvinism. "It has a NAME??" I exclaimed. I'd never heard of it before, except that people at church had warned me never to listen to "those coldhearted Calvinists."

But I thought, "Omygoodness - I've been a Calvinist all my life and never even knew it!"

-Robin

#38369 - Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:55 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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I hope that someone catches that I've added one final question on here. Please note the question is relatively unrelated to this earlier issue, though the premise is, to a certain extent, applicable in the sense of how Jesus fulfilled some of these different areas beginners like myself may struggle with. I hope it was ok to do this, I just didn't want to start an altogether new post to address this one oddball issue-

It is clear that Jesus gave us an altogether New Covenant to live by, as was promised in Isaiah 42, Jeremiah 31 (Which coincidently shortly procedes Jere 33:14-18 which must certainly be a promise relating to Jesus), perhaps one area of Zechariah and either Malachi or Micah if I've interpreted such correctly.

Back to the original law, however-when it comes to passages like Deuteronomy 25:11-12, here specifically how is one to interpret in relation to Christ having fulfilled the law?

Clearly there are few Christians I know guided by the Holy Spirit who would do such a thing so perhaps this serves as one of the many examples where God had to mandate certain laws because of the stony hearts of the early Jews?

The other area of interest with this would involve the required punishment. We would not today cut off a woman's hand for this type of violation as Christians. Repentance/guilt would be required in relation to this and all other similar laws, etc, but the punishments, as discussed before, would be voided upon true repentance because of what God and Jesus did for us.

Now, to expand on this, though, what about murder?

A death penalty case was enacted here in my state for the first time in like 100 years last year involving a gentleman that kidnipped and killed a college girl some 4-5 years due to a technicality having been written into the law after President Bush became President. At the time, there was a great debate among Christian groups locally-the Lutherans, Catholics and Methodists generally opposed to such citing issues of childhood neglect/abuse/poverty in the case of the offender, while the mainline EFCA and First Assembly churches stood in support of the death penalty. However, at least in the media, they cited the Old Testament law as the means to justify such.

One of the things I've learned about myself in this experience is how difficult these areas are to understand. In the case of this kidnapping/rape/murder case, one cannot possibly think of something so evil. At the same time, I guess prior to my study, I think it was always a matter of a general inability personally to ever consider supporting things like the death penalty because that's just simply not what the heart has ever attested to.

It is remarkable for me to find that there appears to be no basis for support of the death penalty in the New Testament.

The closest example of support for the death penalty would involve Paul's orders to obey our government and its laws. In this case, however, such would involve the re-implification of such laws that had been removed from state law for 100 years or more.

This is very confusing for me, hopefully one of you will be able to help again. Thank you so much.

Last edited by olpo25; Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:01 PM.
#38370 - Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:33 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Although the Decalogue clearly prohibits murder, it doesn't prescribe what punishment should be applied to that sin. Why? Because God had established the punishment due to this particular sin/crime long before, cf. Gen 9:6. The death penalty was at least implied even long before God spoke of this injunction to Noah to our first parents in Gen. 4:15, where it appears that death upon murderers was a known and practiced punishment. The point being that the death penalty was in practice from creation (cf. Gen 2:16, 17; 3:5).

Israel, when it was in existence in the OT was a theocracy; church and government combined. In the new covenant, the Church and the civil government are separate and thus all corporal punishment has been relegated to the civil government while the Church has retained punishment for sin in a non-corporal manner, e.g., admonishment, rebuke and excommunication.

Does that help? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratchchin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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#38371 - Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:56 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Great, thank you so much, Pilgrim.

Yes, that helps-there is still some confusion, namely in the fact 15 or 16 states do not have the death penalty law in place (And they're not all liberal-North Dakota sure isn't, anyway).

As a Christian, I suppose the important point is that we not crave vengeance when personally wronged. The rest is up to God's judgement. That makes sense to me, anyway, doesn't it.

Thanks again, Pilgrim.

#38372 - Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:11 PM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Say folks, once again this post has nothing whatsoever to do with the original topic-

For those familiar with this website, I was wondering if any of you had the weblink to "Part One" of this article-
http://www.the-highway.com/law2a_Wenham.html

If anyone can help me with that, I would appreciate it.

#38373 - Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:24 AM Re: Question on Ceremonial Defilement [Re: olpo25]  
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Here ya go: Grace & Law in the Old Testament.

By the way, you can always use the Google search on the main page if you want to do a search for an author or subject. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:32 AM.

Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
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