Ask Your Preacher
Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart when Aaron went to tell him to let His people go? Doesn't that go against free will??
Chisel In Hand
Dear Chisel In Hand,
It is true that Ex 7:3 says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but Ex 8:15 says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Both are true. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by sending Moses to take Pharaoh’s slaves away, and Pharaoh chose to allow the plagues to anger and harden his heart instead of soften it. God sent the events that affected Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh chose how he would react to them.
It is the same as the statement, “I made him angry” versus “He got angry with me.” It is true that our words and actions can cause a reaction from others, but at the same time, when someone gets angry, that is still their choice. Pharaoh was the kind of person that when confronted with the signs and wonders from God, he hardened his heart and became angry. God sent the signs and wonders; Pharaoh chose to react like he did.
We apply the four gospels to our life today, but, of course, Jesus had not died yet during the time of His preaching. So are the gospels still under the Mosaic Law?
Dear Timeline Troubles,
Jesus was a Jewish man who lived under the Jewish law, and His life records that fact. Jesus commanded His fellow countryman to obey the Mosaic laws for cleansing and sacrifices (Lk 17:12-14). He taught that Moses’ law was right and good, even when the Pharisees and scribes weren’t (Matt 23:1-3), and He answered questions regarding Moses’ laws – like the laws concerning divorce (Matt 19:3-9). So if Jesus’ entire life was a Jewish one, why are the gospels part of the New Testament? The answer: Jesus’ preaching.
Jesus lived as a Jew, spoke to Jews, answered Jewish questions, and preached Christianity. Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom which was to come. Matt 4:23, Matt 9:35, Matt 11:5, Mk 8:35, Lk 4:18-19, and Lk 7:22 all say that Jesus came preaching the gospel to His kinsmen. Jesus preached that there was a change coming and that all the world needed to be prepared for it. Jesus preached the message of a kingdom that was soon to be, the kingdom of Christ that He would buy with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Another reason that the four gospels are part of the New Testament is that we are commanded to be imitators of Christ (1 Cor 11:1). The way Jesus lived is the way christians should live. Jesus preached about a new law, He lived as an example for those under the new law, and He died that we might have a new law. The four gospels are all accounts of the life of the Man that gave us the New Testament.
Gen 11:1 states that there was only one language, but how is this possible if Gen 10:5, 20, and 31 seem to say that there were more languages before the tower of Babel was built?
The book of Genesis is like all history books and sometimes gives us a big-picture view of events and then goes back to fill in the details. Genesis 10 gives us the genealogies of the nations and peoples that descended from Noah after the Flood (Gen 10:1). These genealogies cover the time before the Tower of Babel, and they also cover the generations after the Tower of Babel. After giving a full picture of those who descended from Noah, Genesis 11 goes back to fill in the details of how people got their different languages and what caused them to spread out across the globe.
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).