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Re: Biblical Interpretation

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Posted by James 5:16 on August 02, 2001 at 13:22:44:

In Reply to: Biblical Interpretation posted by Ezekiel 25:17 on August 02, 2001 at 03:39:59:

: I cannot claim any credit whatsover for this post. It was simply something I discovered during my meanderings. Anybody who enjoys biblical accuracy can attempt to answer these questions. Anybody else with a sense of humour can simply enjoy this post.

: Dear Dr. Laura,

: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I Have learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

: a. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?
: b. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
: c. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
: d. Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify?
: e. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
: f. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
: g. Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
: I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

I believe that I have an answer to this problem.

First, this is an intriguing question: What is the application of the Old Testament Law to the Christian?

O.K. Here goes.

First, the Christian is not under the Old Testament Law (or the Torah). Jesus did not come to Earth to explain the Law (which He does) but to complete it. Namely, the Torah itself. Jesus, by His death, completed the Torah in a very real way. We can look at the Torah as if it were a book of lessons for a small child. It gives instructions on how to live life and how to interact with God on a very low level.

When Jesus completed His work on Earth and was crucified, his death spoke the end of the Torah. He gave us newer lessons to learn. As if we were older children. For example, a baby has no choices in what he eats for dinner, but a teenager can often go to a variety of restaurants because it is assummed that he has better training and experience by which to make a good decision.

Now, there are often times when the New Testament and the Torah agree as to what laws are prevalent and applicable to both the older child (Christianity) and the younger child (Judaism). "Thou shalt not kill" applies to both Christians (Romans 1) and Jews (Exodus 20).

So, we have a situation here where the Torah (from which the questioner summons the entirety of his questions) laws are applied.

Whenever this type of situation applies, we must compare the New Testament to the Torah to see which applies. The New Testament is the new set of rules by which we should be living our lives so we look there first. If there is no ruling there, then we look for guidance (but not law) in the Torah.

In almost every situation presented above, the New Testament frees us from the Levitical Torah. a,c,e,f,and g all apply clearly here.

Insofar as slavery is concerned, even Paul the writer of a majority of the New Testament has no firm ruling on slavery save that he has some opinions when it exists. He never states whether it is right or wrong. Nor does he state what kind of price to apply to slaves. He simply tells readers that slaves (and owners) are to be Christians. So that takes care of b. and d.

a. is all that remains. That is a judgment call there. I could not find a reference in the New Testament one way or the other as to how to handle that. The only thing I can say is that, since the burning of the bull is no longer mandatory, you might consider not doing it so you might keep peace with your neighbor.

Well, that's all for now.

Thanks for the questions,

James 5:16

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