OLD TESTAMENT - Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

OLD TESTAMENT

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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  The Old Testament law has faded away and been replaced by the perfect law of liberty in Christ (Jas 1:25).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.

War And Peace

Thursday, June 08, 2017
Why does God command the people of Israel not to kill, but then He orders them to kill enemies of Israel… even the women, children, and livestock?  Then Jesus tells His disciples to "turn the other cheek."  I haven't been a christian for very long, but I've always been confused about this.

Sincerely,
Double Standard

Dear Double Standard,

The Hebrew word used for ‘kill’ in the Ten Commandments literally means ‘murder’.  There is a difference between killing someone in self-defense and pre-meditated, intentional murder of another human being.  The Bible has plenty of examples of faithful people going to war (David killed Goliath in battle – 1 Sam 17:49-50).  The Bible is also full of examples of capital punishment for certain crimes (Num 15:35).  Num 35:15-16 makes a distinction between accidentally killing someone and premeditated murder.  A police officer may have to kill someone while serving the community, but that isn’t murder.  There is a difference.

It is wrong for an individual to purposefully seek to harm another unless they are acting as an agent of the government (God has given national governments the authority to use ‘the sword’ of punishment – Rom 13:4) or reacting in self-defense.  God commanded the nation of Israel to kill in times of war, but He condemns vigilante murder.  The teaching of “turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:39) is an individual command that applies to everyday living.  The context has nothing to do with war-time actions.

The Other Grass

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Is it okay to smoke weed?  Genesis 1:12 says, “...and the earth brought forth grass and HERB, yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”  I have cancer, so it helps with the pain.

Sincerely,
Cancer Patient

Dear Cancer Patient,

Consuming marijuana for “recreational” purposes is wrong.  Yes, God created every green herb on day three (Gen 1:11-13), but He didn’t create them to be used inappropriately.  God condemns drunkenness and insobriety (Rom 13:13, 1 Cor 6:10).  If any drug, including marijuana, is used to create a state of drunkenness – then, yes, it is a sin.  If your doctor prescribes a drug for pain, as a treatment, etc. – that is a different matter.  We are very sorry to hear of your cancer, and it is appropriate to follow doctor’s orders in such matters.

God created everything in this world for our good, and He created us for good works (Eph 2:10).  Abusing the plants and herbs that God has blessed this world with harms us and is a sin.  When we don’t treat our bodies with respect, we harm ourselves as well as displeasing God (1 Cor 6:19-20).

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