Ask Your Preacher
After Christ's sacrifice, the Old Testament law things were done away with (like circumcision and animal sacrifices), so then, why does James say to abstain from blood in Acts 15:20 and also in a letter saying the same thing in Acts 15:29 if this, too, was part of the Old Testament law? And is this after Jesus' death?
Dear Legal Trouble,
Not every Old Testament law was done away with in the New Testament. For example, murder is wrong in both the New and Old Testament (Rom 1:29, Ex 20:13). Christians are not bound to follow the Old Testament law because we are no longer under that law (Gal 3:24-25), but if an Old Testament law is repeated in the New Testament, that means the rule is applicable to christians.
The Old Testament laws concerning what could and could not be eaten can be found in Lev. 11, but there is only one type of food that christians still cannot eat – blood (Acts 15:29). When an animal is killed, some cultures will strangle the animal so as to keep the blood in the meat (as opposed to draining the blood out). Things like blood sausage, blood soup, blood stew, etc. are popular dishes in some countries, but eating them is wrong. All other food is clean for New Testament christians… Jesus said so Himself in Mk 7:19.
Has God ever approved of polygamy?
Dear Double Vows,
Polygamy is never directly condemned in the Bible, but it is also never condoned . It is never treated as the standard… only the exception. There are scores of examples of monogamy being God’s preference for man:
- Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24).
- No polygamy existed until seven generations after Adam (Gen 4:19).
- Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13).
- It is a qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6).
- It is a qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12).
- It is a qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9).
- Every New Testament command for a husband or wife assumes monogamy in the commandments (Mk 10:12, 1 Cor 7:3, Eph 5:33, etc.).
- The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23).
- God clearly states it as His design for marriage in the New Testament (1 Cor 7:2).
On the same hand, there are multiple examples of the pitfalls of polygamy:
- Sarah and Hagar fought (Gen 16:4).
- Rachel and Leah fought over Jacob (Gen 29:30-31).
- Hannah and Penninah’s rivalry (1 Sam 1:2-6)
- Solomon’s idolatrous wives (1 Kings 11:4)
God allowed polygamy in the Old Testament because the Old Testament was a tutor designed to lead people toward a better and more permanent covenant (Gal 3:24-25). David lived in a time when God allowed polygamy even though it wasn’t His long-term preference for mankind. In the New Testament, we are told God desires for marriage to be between one man and one woman (1 Cor 7:2).
Does the last psalm have any practical value today?
Dear Sing It,
Most of the Psalms don’t have practical value; they have emotional value and provide moral strength. Psalm 150 is a call to praise the Lord, a reminder of God’s glory and how we ought to place Him first in all we do. Ps 150 doesn’t tell us how to praise God today, but it does tell us the importance of praising God and exalting His unending glory. If we want to know how to praise God, we must look to the New Testament.
How do the gospel writers reapply the Law of Moses for the New Testaments communities of faith? Also, what aspects of the Law, if any, are still in operation, and what aspects are no longer binding over God’s people? Thanks.
Dear Law Learner,
Jesus was born a Jew (Matt 1:17), lived under the Jewish law (Lk 2:41-42), and even taught His fellow Jews to obey the Old Testament law (Matt 23:1-3). Judaism was the right religion, until Jesus died on the cross and replaced Judaism with Christianity. The Old Testament, the law the Jews followed, was a tutor to lead people to Christ, but after Jesus came, mankind was supposed to follow Him instead (Gal 3:24-25). The Jewish law said that someday there would come a Messiah who would save them from their sins – Jesus was that Messiah (Jhn 1:45). The Jewish law taught mankind that they needed a Savior, and that they should prepare for His coming. Jesus came providing the grace and truth that wasn’t possible under Jewish law (Jhn 1:17). Jesus’ death made a permanent sacrifice for sins that none of the Old Testament animal sacrifices ever could (Heb 10:1-4).
The Old Testament was a tutor to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24), but now that Christ is here, He has fulfilled the law, and we are no longer bound by its laws (Gal 3:25). The Old Testament still provides many wonderful examples and lessons of morality (1 Cor 10:11), but its specific laws no longer apply.
Do you know why the medium freaked out after seeing the ghostly Samuel (1 Sam 28:12)?
Dear Surprise Me,
One reason she was so scared was because once she realized that the man who had hired her to conjure up a ghost was King Saul, she feared for her life. Saul had previously cast out all the mediums from the land (1 Sam 28:3). The other likely reason was that she had never actually seen a ghost! Mediums and sorcerors were charlatans back then just as much as they are today.