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Ask Your Preacher

OLD TESTAMENT

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Edom Eaten Up

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
     Today’s Bible reading took me to Obadiah 18. That verse reads, "So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.”  Reading the footnote, I go to Amos 9:12 and Acts 15:17.  Those verses refer to the remnant of Edom (Esau) that is absorbed into the church.  Can you suggest how to reconcile the inconsistency?  If there are no survivors, how do they who don't exist become part of the New Testament church?

Sincerely,
Tracing Trees

Dear Tracing Trees,

Obad 1:18 is dealing with the physical destruction of the nation of Edom, Amos 9:12 is discussing the enfolding of people with Edomite ancestry into the church, and Acts 15:17 doesn’t mention Edom at all – the word used there is just ‘gentile’, a generic term for all non-Jews.
In Obadiah, the prophecy is that Esau’s people, the nation of Edom, would be destroyed by the house of Jacob (Israel).  Historically, Edom’s destruction began with the Chaldean invasion under Nebuchadnezzar and was completed by the Jews in the second century BC.  The Edomites, as a nation, ceased to exist and were forced to accept circumcision and the Jewish religion.  By the time Jesus walked this earth, the Edomites had lost all national identity and had been completely absorbed into other nations and cultures.  However, their bloodline continued even when their nation didn’t.  Ironically, the most famous people of Edomite lineage were the Herods.
On the other hand, Amos 9:12 addresses the spiritual enfolding of the people of Edom into the family of David (Amos 9:11).  How did this happen?  When people with Edom’s bloodline converted to Christianity, they became a part of David’s family because they became followers of Jesus.  Jesus was a descendant of David.

Lobster Love

Sunday, November 16, 2014
     I've read Leviticus 11:9-12 which says, "And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.”  Help; I love shellfish!  Please advise.

Sincerely,
Crabby

Dear Crabby,

Under the New Covenant, all food is clean.  God sent Peter a vision of unclean beasts and told Peter to “kill and eat” (Acts 10:13).  Peter told God that he would never eat anything unclean (Acts 10:14), and God informed Peter that He had cleansed all meat (Acts 10:15).  Jesus also specifically said that all food is clean in the New Testament (Mk 7:19).

Later on, the apostle Paul reiterates this idea and says that all meat is clean unless it offends your conscience (Rom 14:20).  So, feel free to eat pork, rattlesnake (if you dare), and clams without fear of sin.

Breakin' The Law

Wednesday, November 05, 2014
      Why is there a New Testament if God never changes?

Sincerely,
Traditionalist

Dear Traditionalist,

God never changes, but humans do, and mankind wasn’t ready for Christ’s law in the beginning.  Gal 3:24 says that the Old Testament law was a tutor to lead people to Christ.  Just like beginning arithmetic must be taught before you dive into calculus, the Old Law prepared people for a greater and more perfect law.  The Old Testament taught people about sin (Rom 3:20), and it showed that all mankind had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23).  The Old Testament law was added because of sin and as a preparation for Jesus’ entrance into the world (Gal 3:19).  The Old Law could never save people because all a law can do is condemn the law-breaker – only the gift of Christ’s blood can provide forgiveness for the sinner (Gal 3:13).  The New Testament combines God’s laws with a plan to provide forgiveness for those who break those laws.

Market Madness

Friday, October 31, 2014
According to Mark 11:17, Jesus was angered by the venders selling doves and other merchandise (assumingly for sacrifice) outside and in the Temple. But isn't it true that those who came afar would sell livestock that they would normally sacrifice and bring money to the temple to buy a sacrifice?  This being favorable over traveling with a live sacrifice that might not survive a journey?  It is easier to travel with money than live animals that could easily be bought at the temple.  Today, we have Christian stores attached to churches that sell trinkets, jewelry, license plates, decorations, etc.  Is this also wrong?

Sincerely,
Peddlers for the People?

Dear Peddlers for the People,

Jesus wasn't just angered that they were selling things but that they were doing it at the temple and in its courtyards... a place that was supposed to be focused on worshipping God and prayer (Lk 19:46).  On top of that, Jesus said that they were "robbers" because the people who were selling things were charging a premium to make money off of the foreign travelers who couldn't bring their own livestock ­– a bit like popcorn at the movie theater costs a whole lot more because they can get away with charging it.  Furthermore, Matt 21:12 mentions that there were moneychangers there.  The Jewish priesthood instituted a rule that you could only contribute Jewish money to the temple, so they could make more money off of people who had to convert their Roman currency to Jewish coins.  They made money off of the exchange rate.  It was all about making money.

Separate, but similar, churches that are making money off of various things like coffee stands in the foyers, book sales, jewelry, etc. are exploiting people for more money.  God says how the church should collect funds – through a voluntary offerings from christians on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-2).

#1

Thursday, October 30, 2014
What is the first commandment of God?

Sincerely,
Beginning At The Beginning

Dear Beginning At The Beginning,

Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt 22:37-38).  In the Ten Commandments, the first commandment is “you shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex 20:2).  The first commandment a child is given by God is “honor your father and mother” (Eph 6:2).  Each of these are first commands from God.

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