Friday, January 18, 2008


The Christian Bible has two very different parts. The Old Testament gives us a lot of information about God and his chosen people - the Jews. The New Testament shows us a sharp contrast between Jesus and the Jewish leaders of his day. In the New Testament the Christian Faith is clearly one of fulfilment and no longer needed many of the rules and complex laws of the Old Testament.

This became a real problem when God opened the door to gentiles and all those who would accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a long discussion and resolution to this problem in the 15th chapter of Acts. The heart and soul of this problem was whether they should keep all the Laws of Moses, or obey the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Jesus had said: "I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it". Moses and Elijah obviously accepted the teaching of Jesus when they talked with him about his coming crucifixion. (Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2) The New Testament church had to make a decision about the large number of Gentiles who were becoming a part of the church. They made a decision that Gentiles did not have to live as Old Testament Jews.

(Acts 15:19-20 NIV) "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. {20} Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."

Every Christian should carefully study the 15th chapter of Acts. Understanding this can spare us from many foolish and destructive debates. (2 Tim 2:23-24 NIV) "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. {24} And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful."

(Titus 1:9-11 NIV) "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. {10} For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. {11} They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach--and that for the sake of dishonest gain."

(Titus 3:9 NIV) "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless." There are many great concepts and much to learn from the Old Testament and we should read it. Just know that there is no way to live both under the Law of Moses and the clear teachings of Jesus Christ.

Want to lighten up a bit? Why are cats never mentioned in the Bible although they were abundant in Egypt? They were closely associated with the sun God RA and regarded by the Egyptians as sacred. Thousands of them were mummified and buried with their owners.

Dogs are often mentioned in the Bible - can you tell where? There are too many to mention. (Hint the Rich man and Lazarus with his faithful dog Morover) (Luke 16:20-21 KJV) "And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, {21} And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores."

If you are old enough you know that President Linden Johnson had a habit of picking up his beagle by the ears. That's in the Bible. " (Prov 26:17 NIV) "Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own."

It's amazing, amusing and funny but Animal trials were common during the Middle ages. At Lavegny France in 1457 a sow and 6 pigs were tried for killing a child. Brilliant work by the Defense council got the pigs released on probation but the sow was hung by the neck until dead. The swine was brought to justice.

A horse was executed in Dijon in 1639. Also a bull gored and killed his master near Moissy France. The Bovine prisoner was locked in the local jail - later convicted of premeditated murder and hanged on the village gallows. I wonder what Bible verses they used for this idiot behavior.

I tell you there are some really strange things in the Old Testament. You could eat winged insects if they could jump...but no catfish. A flat nose disqualified a man from being a Priest. I've spent years studying the Bible and I'm amazed at what I've learned. The Jews were an amazing people.

What conceivable explaination is there for the history of the Jews, with their inextinguishable vitality, fulfillment again and again of their hopes, except the truth that God had chosen them, and God was with them? They were a stiff-necked people with no splendid territory, but a narrow, poorly watered land. They were not powerful enough even to conquer their own small land. They were not united. They were not free but became the prey of nation after nation.

Yet no power has ever been able to crush them, no persecution to destroy them. Their sacred book is the sacred book of humanity. What explains it all? Nothing but the truth that God showed his word to Jacob, His statues and ordinances to Israel.

Philosopher Will Durant ( who was not a Christian) wrote about the New Testament Christians: "Mere inventors of the New Testament would have left out the squabbles of the Apostles for first place - their flight at the arrest of Jesus, Peters denial - the despairing cry of Jesus on the Cross. That a few simple men could have invented so powerful and appealing personality - so lofty an ethic, and such an inspiring vision of Brotherhood - that would be a far greater miracle than any recorded in the Bible.

There a lot more to come....if you have a question or comment please e-mail it to me. I've spent over 60 years carefully studying the Bible.

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