Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

OLD TESTAMENT

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Hip With The Slang

Thursday, August 10, 2017
According to 2 Kings 17:13, God told Israel and Judah to quit doing evil and follow His commandments through His prophets and seers.  In biblical terms, what’s the difference between a prophet and a seer?

Sincerely,
Term Tangled

Dear Term Tangled,

There is no difference whatsoever between a prophet and a seer; the two terms are synonymous.  In fact, 1 Sam 9:9 specifically mentions that they mean the same thing.  ‘Seer’ was apparently the older terminology, and it was later replaced by ‘prophet’ as the more common vernacular.

BRAINS!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Are these two Bible quotes referring to zombies, and if not, then what are they referring to?
  • “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matt. 27:51-53)
  • And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. (Zechariah 14:12)

Sincerely,
Zombie Hunting

Dear Zombie Hunting,

Thankfully, these verses aren’t referring to zombies, and brains aren’t on the menu.  Matt 27:51-53 is referring to an actual event where, after the crucifixion, God raised the dead as a sign of Christ’s deity.  These people weren’t flesh-eating zombies – they were real people brought back completely whole and healthy.

Zech 14:12 is a little lengthier of an explanation.  The context to that verse is that Zechariah was prophesying that Jerusalem would be attacked, and Israel would be taken into captivity because of their idolatry (Zech 14:1-2).  However, after that captivity, there would be hope when God returned to bless His people again (Zech 14:9)… and with them, the rest of mankind.  This chapter is talking about when Christ would come and bless mankind by creating spiritual Israel (spiritual Israel is the church – Gal 6:16).  All of the language in this chapter is figurative and is discussing the plagues that fall upon those who don’t turn to Christ.  The wasting away and consumption of the flesh discussed in Zech 14:12-15 is a reference to the spiritual demise and desolation that those outside of Christ face.  In short… no zombies.

What's In The Blood?

Monday, June 19, 2017
Leviticus 3:17, along with other similar passages, forbids believers to eat any blood.  The Jehovah's Witnesses don't accept blood transfusions and won't eat meat with blood in it for this reason.  My question is: how can you eat blood if blood is liquid… isn't it?  And also, someone said in order to eat something, you have to digest it.  You don't digest blood transfusions, right?  So what exactly does Leviticus 3:17 mean?

Sincerely,
Blood Donor

Dear Blood Donor,

It is possible to eat blood if it is prepared as a dish (i.e. blood sausage, blood pie, etc.); however, it would be wrong to do so (see "Blood In The Pudding" for New Testament teachings on that subject).  This verse, however, doesn't address why Jehovah's Witnesses don't accept blood transfusions.  The reason JW's don't get blood transfusions is because "the life is in the blood" (Deu 12:23).  They improperly apply an Old Testament teaching that dealt with eating to a medical treatment in the world of the New Testament.  Christians are not under the Old Testament law (Gal 3:23-25).  The Old Testament still provides many faithful examples and principles, but its specific laws have been nailed to the cross (Col 2:14).  The Old Testament law has faded away and been replaced by the perfect law of liberty in Christ (Jas 1:25).  Read "Out With The Old?" for further details on the place of the Old Testament in the life of a christian.

Vanishing Act

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
According to Isaiah 3:1-3, God was about to take away everything from Judah and Jerusalem, including soothsayers and enchanters.  So does this mean all this time there were soothsayers and enchanters among Judah and Jerusalem?

Sincerely,
Enchanting

Dear Enchanting,

Yes, Judah and Jerusalem had become a very corrupt nation, and God was deeply displeased with them at this time.  Isaiah prophesied during a time when idolatry was abundant (Isa 10:11), and wickedness was everywhere (Isa 2:5-8).  God was greatly displeased with the nation and was going to send them into captivity for their evil ways and ignorance of God’s laws (Isa 5:13).

Out With The Old?

Monday, June 12, 2017
How relevant is the Old Testament today?  I mean, I know thou shall not kill, and thou shall not commit adultery, but what about things like slavery? Didn't it exist in the New Testament also?

Sincerely,
Contemporary Concerns

Dear Contemporary Concerns,

The laws and commandments of the Old Testament are no longer binding.  When Jesus died on the cross, He blotted out the ordinances of the Old Testament that condemned us (Col 2:14).  The New Testament has surpassed and replaced the Old Contract written on tablets of stone (2 Cor 3:3-8).  The Old Testament was designed to lead mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the Old Covenant (Gal 3:24-25).

That does not mean that the Old Testament has no relevance.  The Old Testament is the history of God’s interaction with mankind over the centuries.  The laws and lives of those people are given to us as an example and a written lesson of how to live (1 Cor 10:11).  The prophets’ lives are examples of perseverance and suffering (Jas 5:10).  Israel is given to us as an example of disobedience (1 Cor 10:6-10).  Hebrews chapter eleven is an entire chapter devoted to the faithfulness of people who lived during the Old Testament times.  The Old Testament has immense depths of wisdom to be plumbed.

The Old Testament also provides the background to Jesus’ life.  Jesus was born a Jew, and He lived under the Jewish Old Testament law.  When we understand that law, we have a deeper understanding of Christ’s life.  The Old Testament also contains hundreds of prophecies about Jesus’ life.  Isa 53:1-7 is just one example of an Old Testament verse that gives details about Jesus’ life and sacrifice.

As far as slavery in the Old Testament… the New Testament had slavery, too.  In fact, there are parts of our world today that include slavery.  The world changes, but ultimately, people don’t.  There is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9).  People have always struggled with greed, hatred, lust, and fear.  It has always been hard to be faithful, hard to forgive, and hard to be compassionate.  The times and places change, but the heart of man still struggles with the same issues.

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