Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Fourteen)

Should Practicing Homosexuals Be Executed or Exiled?
            Leviticus 20:13 (WEB) states: “If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” However, according to the skeptic, 1 Kings 15:11,12 contradicts it. It (WEB) states: “Asa did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, as did David his father. He put away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his father had made.” The skeptic alleges a contradiction: “You must execute practicing homosexual” versus “you must exile such ones.” However, we see that the latter scripture was not a command, but a historical account – so, no contradiction. Further, we can safely assume that “put away” means that he killed the cultic prostitutes.[1]

What Teaches us Right and Wrong?
            Romans 2:15 is used by the skeptic to make the exclusive statement that the conscience teaches us right and wrong. Romans 2:15 (NWT) states: “They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them, and by their own thoughts they are being accused or even excused.” Further, he uses 1 John 2:27 to argue that our Christian anointing teaches us right from wrong. 1 John 2:27 (NWT) states: “And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but the anointing from him is teaching you about all things and is true and is no lie. Just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.”
            We see, however, that Romans 2:15, is not an exclusive statement. Paul, referring to Gentiles, stated that certain moral aspects of the Mosaic Law were ingrained in the human heart, in the conscience. Therefore, since they act in accord with the Law sometimes, they act righteously (as he says in verse 13 (NWT): “the hearers of law are not the ones righteous before God, but the doers of law will be declared righteous”). He is building up to the statement that all are under sin even if not under law, therefore, all need the same undeserved kindness from God. He is not discussing what teaches us every particular detail of right or wrong.
            John, on the other hand, was describing the antichrists and warning against them. The anointing, then, does not teaches merely on right and wrong, but it confirms that which we have come to know. However, John did not say that it alone teaches us, but that it teaches us to “remain in union with him,” showing that it is not alone, for Christ, the sender, also taught us. So, there is only a garbled interpretation here, but no contradiction.

[1] If we think that he did not kill them, but took them to outside the border of Judah, we are likely misunderstanding the euphemism being employed. 1 Samuel 28:9, for example, pairs the removal of spirit mediums from the land with their deaths; so, we can safely conclude that Asa did not exile them – though some may have fled – but that they were executed for their pagan worship.

Further, other translations indicate that these were not just “regular” (as in the modern sense of the word) practicing homosexuals, but cultic prostitutes. This would seem fitting, for the context reveals that idols were involved, further it would be harder to find any given male who had sexual relations with another man, but to find cultic prostitutes would be easy enough, for it was done in publically known places.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Thirteen)

Did Jesus Come to Fulfill the Law or Release us Therefrom?
            Jesus said at Matthew 5:17,18 (NWT): “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill. Truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one stroke of a letter to pass away from the Law until all things take place.” Certainly this has caused thousands upon thousands of skeptics to rejoice, for clearly Jesus wants us to observe the Law forever.
            However, Christ also mentioned that he came to fulfill the prophets; but, what does this mean? Let us look at what Luke 4:18-21 (NWT) says, namely: ““Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away free, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” With that he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were intently fixed on him. Then he began to say to them: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.””
            Therefore, Jesus’ coming and being anointed as the Messiah fulfilled things recorded in the Prophets. So too, the existence of the Messiah fulfilled certain aspects of the Law – for example, the appearance of the Prophet. (Deuteronomy 18:15) As God’s Messiah, Jesus knew of the purpose of the Law, to lead people to him and thus to God. (Galatians 3:23) The thing most desired by the Law, proclaimed from Genesis and throughout the Writings and the Prophets, was the Messianic hope. When he came and died, he fulfilled the Law and thus released us from it when “all things” took place.

Should We Fear God?
            1 Peter 2:17 (NWT) tells us: “Honor men of all sorts, have love for the whole association of brothers, be in fear of God, honor the king.” Using the law of non-contradiction the skeptic argues that 1 John 4:18 (NWT), which say: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts fear out, because fear restrains us. Indeed, the one who is fearful has not been made perfect in love,” contradicts that. However, the skeptic does not fully understand the context of 1 John 4:18 – the judgement is being discussed. It is that kind of fear that is cast, but not our godly fear. The kind of fear we have in God is not like the fear that is cast out; Psalm 130:3 (NWT84) states: “If errors were what you watch, O Jah, O Jehovah, who could stand? For there is the true forgiveness with you, In order that you may be feared.”

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Twelve)

Is Sin the Cause or Effect of the Law?
            Galatians 3:19 (WEB) states: “What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.” From this the skeptic states that the Mosaic Law was caused because of sin. 1 John 3:4 (NWT), which says: “Everyone who practices sin is also practicing lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness,” is pitted against it. The skeptic argues that this verse shows that sin is the effect of the Mosaic Law.[1]
            However, the first verse shows that the Law was introduced to make sin apparent, not that it was the caused by sin. Further, the second verse merely describes sin as lawlessness. This could be transgression against the Mosaic Law, the law of our conscience, or the law of faith, but not necessarily not any law code in particular; there is no contradiction.

Does Keeping the Law Justify You?
            The skeptic cites 1 John 3:10 (NWT), which says: “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Whoever does not practice righteousness does not originate with God, nor does the one who does not love his brother.” From this he concocts the saying: keeping God’s law justifies you. Of course, though, such a phrase is not there; and the Mosaic Law is not being referred to by John. So, Romans 3:20 and Galatians 3:11, which stress the inadequacy of works alone, do not contradict what John says.

[1] The skeptic cited the King James Version which renders the Greek word “lawlessness” as “transgression of the law,” which he, I presume, took to mean the violation of a particular law code, namely, the Mosaic Law. However, if John was referring to a particular law code, John likely would have the “law of faith,” or the “law of spirit” in mind. – Romans 3:27

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Eleven)

Are Those Who Fail to Keep the Law Cursed?
            The skeptic cites Deuteronomy 27:26 (NWT), which says: “Cursed is the one who will not uphold the words of this Law by carrying them,” and Jeremiah 11:3 (NWT) which states: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel says: “Cursed is the man who does not obey the words of this covenant.”” “Therefore, we see that violators are cursed,” the skeptic says.
            In Galatians 3:10-14, Paul cites Deuteronomy 27:26 also, so how does the skeptic allege that Paul contradicts one of his proof-texts? Because, Paul said (NWT): “Christ purchased us, releasing us from the curse of the Law.” Therefore, Paul asserts that we can violate the law, and yet remain uncursed. However, this is not a contradiction, for Christ fulfilled the law – a point brought by Paul in other places – and therefore the Law was no longer incumbent upon anyone. Even then, Paul did affirm that those who violate the law were otherwise cursed (hence why he quotes Deuteronomy 27:26), which is why the release by Christ was needed. The curse and its release belong to separate times, so there is no contradiction.

Can Those Without the Law Sin?
            Romans 2:12 accurately reports that those outside the Mosaic Law sinned. So, the skeptic, taking Paul’s own nearby words, creates a contradiction. He cites Romans 5:13 (NWT), which says: “For sin was in the world before the Law, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law.” The skeptic, though, confuses the act of sin with the charging of sin to the sinner. Paul knew that those who lived before the Mosaic Law sinned so he does not contradict himself, for he says in Romans 5:14 (NWT): “Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned” – the skeptic would be pleased to stop here – “in the same way that Adam transgressed.” 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Ten)

Is it Possible to Keep God’s Law?
            Deuteronomy 30:11 (NWT) states: “Now this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it beyond your reach. It is not in the heavens, so that you have to say, ‘Who will ascend to the heavens and get it for us, so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Nor is it on the other side of the sea, so that you have to say, ‘Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us, so that we may hear it and observe it?’ For the word is very near you, in your own mouth and in your own heart, so that you may do it.”
The skeptic takes this to mean: You can keep it perfectly. He, then, cites Romans 3:19-20,23 for proof that no one can remain sinless, but that they would fail to keep the Law. But, we see, as Paul says, the Law was not meant to be perfectly kept. Nor did it say that it could be – it included sacrifices in cases of sin, why could it do so unless people would disobey it? Therefore, there is no problem.

Does the Mosaic Law Tend Toward Life or Death?
            The skeptic quotes Leviticus 18:5 (WEB), which states: “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances; which if a man does, he shall live in them: I am Yahweh.” From this he makes the statement that the Law tends toward life. Then, he quotes Ezekiel 20:23-25 (WEB), which says: “I swore to them in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed my ordnances, but had rejected my statutes, and had profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their father’s idols. Moreover also I gave them statutes that were not good, and ordinances in which they should not live.” He says that this says: the Law does not tend toward life. However, it was proper use, or obedience of the Mosaic Law that tended toward life. But, it was disobedience of the Law that tended toward death. There is no problem.
Now, what of the last saying in Ezekiel? Did Jehovah mean that he gave wicked commandments to the people and that those commandments could not give life? If he did, he did not equate the Law Covenant with those commandments, for it was those bad statutes and ordinances that were transgressions of the Law. It was those customs, laws, and practices that could not give life. Jehovah did not actually give those to Israel, but they were already practiced in the land, hence the many warnings not to practice such ways. (Leviticus 18:3,30; 20:23; Deuteronomy 12:30; 2 Kings 17:8; Jeremiah 10:2)  He did not give those customs to Judah or Israel, but the saying “I gave them” merely means “I allowed them.”[1] Jehovah, as the Almighty permits everything to happen that does, so in that sense it is as if – but not literally – he directly does all things, which is why often times the Hebrew writers speak that way.

[1] See Psalm 81:12.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Nine)

Is God’s Law Perfect?
Using Psalm 19:7 (NWT), which states: “The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring strength. The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise,” and James 1:25 (NWT), which says: “[T]he one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does,” the skeptic argues that the Bible says that Mosaic is perfect. That is nice, but he, as usual, is confused as to which law is being discussed. Psalm 19:7 clearly refers to the Mosaic Law, but James is referring to the law of faith; so, let us drop James from our discussion.
The question still remain, though; why does Paul say that the Mosaic Law was imperfect when Psalms says otherwise? Actually, he does not. What he says at Hebrews 7:19 (NWT) is: “the Law made nothing perfect.” It made nothing perfect, but that did not mean it was not perfect. It functioned perfectly to draw attention to Christ. It is weak and ineffective, as verse 18 says, in regards to saving us, for it is unable to. But, it is strong and effective in condemning us, which is why it was necessary to furnish a ransom. There is no contradiction.

Will the Mosaic Law Endure Forever?
            Deuteronomy 29:29 seems to imply that the Mosaic Law will remain forever, but is that so? No; nor did it make such a clam! While it does say that it would last “forever,” we see that it really means that it would otherwise go on forever, or just plainly “for time indefinite.”[1]
            Not relenting, however, the skeptic seems to think that Jesus confirmed the everlasting nature of the Law. Jesus says at Matthew 5:18 (KJV): “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” 1 Peter 1:25 (KJV) is likewise marshalled, saying: “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” Of course, Colossians 2:13, among others, mention that the Law was abolished.[2] Is the skeptic right? No, the skeptic in his haste has passed over Jesus words “till all be fulfilled,” and that Peter was not referring to the Mosaic Law, but to the good news about Christ! There is no contradiction.

[1] See The Self-Harmony of the Bible, p. 3
[2] Abolished, that is, in the sense that it ceased to be of value, it was made void. For some time after Jesus’ fulfillment thereof, of course, the rituals at the temple were still being practiced.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Eight)

Is it Good to be Able to Tell Good From Bad?
            Genesis 2:16-17 relates the account of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. “Jehovah God,” it (NWT) states: “also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.” The skeptic thus assumes that knowledge of good and bad is condemned.
            However, Hebrews 5:14 (NWT), which says: “[S]olid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong,” is said to contradict that, implying that it is such knowledge is good.
As I argued previously, Adam and Eve knew of good and bad; they knew to obey God was good and to eat of the tree was bad.[1] It would not have been hard for them to realize that Jehovah is good. The meaning of the tree was to test mankind – would they respect Jehovah’s sovereignty and let him decide right and wrong, or if they would presume to try to do so themselves. To know in this sense, or to determine for oneself, is bad.
            But, let us assume that that harmonization is incorrect, what then? We see that a great deal of time had passed between Jehovah’s command and Paul. In Edenic times, it would not have been beneficial for them to know good from bad, for that would lead to sin. However, in our world, where the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, we need to be mature in thinking ability. So, even then, there is no contradiction.

Should We Obey God Alone?
            Acts 5:29 (WEB) reports: “Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men,”” thus affirming in the skeptic’s mind that we can only obey God. So, the skeptic reasons that Ephesians 6:5 (NWT), which says: “Slaves, be obedient to your human masters, with fear and trembling in the sincerity of your hearts, as to the Christ,” clearly contradicts that.
            However, and this is pretty obvious, Peter and the apostles were showing that God’s authority was superior to that of the authority of men. In fact, God allows all existing authority to exist, and expects us to pay taxes and obey them, but he does have a limit.[2] Peter’s declaration was not an absolute refusal to obey secular authority, but a refusal to obey a certain command, so it cannot be used to furnish a contradiction.

[1] See The Self-Harmony of the Bible II, p. 27
[2] So, as long as secular authorities do not violate God’s commands, to obey them is to obey God.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Seven)

Is Assassination Approved?
            Ehud, one of the judges Jehovah raised up, killed the king of Moab in secret. (Judges 3:21) From this the skeptic claims that God approves of assassination. I cannot agree, for God only approved of a certain assassination – not assassination in general. So, any attempt by the skeptic to turn what the Amalekite did, namely kill Saul, into a contradiction cannot work.[1] (2 Samuel 1:3-16) (The skeptic makes from that the statement: God disapproves of assassination.) We are not dealing with commands, but with two non-mutually exclusive incidents; there is no contradiction.

Is Revenge Killing Allowed?
            Numbers 35:19 allowed for the avenger of blood to kill the killer of his relative. This is a strictly Mosaic Law issue and is not permissible for Christians to do. Therefore, the fact that we are told: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto [His] wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord,” does not mean the Bible contradicts itself. – Romans 12:19 KJV

Is Murder Wrong?
Murder, the unauthorized killing, differs from authorized killing. Therefore, there is no contradiction between Exodus 20:13 and Exodus 30:27, since Exodus 30:27 was a judgement from God. Exodus 20:13 (NWT) states: “You must not murder.” But, Exodus 32:27 (NWT) states: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said, ‘Each of you must fasten on his sword and pass through all the camp from gate to gate, killing his brother, his neighbor, and his close companion.’” That was given to Levites, but they did not murder, since it was authorized.

[1] The Amalekite did not kill Saul, but claimed to. David, assuming that he would not lie about such a thing, killed him. See The Self-Harmony of the Bible, p. 5

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Six)

Can the Penalty for Murder be Reduced?
            Numbers 35:30,31 (NWT) states: “Whoever kills a person should be put to death as a murder on the testimony of witnesses; but no one will be put to death on the testimony of just one witness. You must take no ransom for the life of a murder who is deserving to die, for he should be put to death without fail.” Yet, Exodus 21:29,30 (NWT) says: “[I]f a bull was in the habit of goring and its owner had been warned but he would not keep it under guard and it killed a man or a woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner is also to be put to death. If a ransom is imposed on him, he must give as the redemption price for his life all that may be imposed on him.” The skeptic asserts that both cases involve murder, so the Bible contradicts itself.
However, he ignores the willfulness of the first killing and that it was done by the man involved, compared to the unwillingness of the man involved in the second death. “But,” he say, “since the death in the second case clearly could have been prevented, yet the man willingly let his bull gore and someone died, the man is a murderer!” Hold on a moment. Just because a man is negligent or slow to address the problem with the bull it does not follow that he intended for it to kill another. The fact that the ransom could be accepted by the heirs of the deceased indicates that they decided whether such a man was willful or just negligent, and that, circumstances aside, he was not de facto a murder. Therefore, there is no contradiction in saying that no ransom could be imposed for murder, yet there could be for the owner of a killer bull.

Should False Religionists Be Killed?
Deuteronomy 17:2-7 (NWT) is a command to kill an apostate “who is practicing what is bad in the eyes of Jehovah.” It is not incumbent on Christians, nor could it be used to make a contradiction with 2 Timothy 2:24-26, which was a command to teach in kindness.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Five)

Should Unbelievers Be Killed, Avoided or Loved?
            Jehovah commanded Israel at Deuteronomy 13:6,9 (NWT): “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or your cherished wife or your closest companion should try to entice you in secrecy, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ . . . you should kill him without fail.” However, 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NWT) says simply: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers.” And, “strangely” Galatians 5:14 implies that we should love them since they are our neighbor. But, can that be done if we withdrawal from them or kill them? Further, it (KJV) says: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” but we saw that the Law commanded us to kill them!
            We should note that the command in Deuteronomy went to those in the Mosaic covenant with God, so it was not mere unbelievers, but those that apostatized, that were to be killed. As for mere unbelievers, they were not given an explicit command to not get unevenly yoked with them, but they were told to destroy pagan worship in their allotted land and to drive away the pagan nations from them and not to form marriage alliances with them. So, such a command would not be needed.
            However, in the Christian era, Christians (who were no longer under the Law) were spread all over the world. They came into regular contact with unbelievers; this was unavoidable. So, instead of becoming hermits, they were told to not get unevenly yoked with such ones. Still, they were told to work what is good toward all – including outsiders. – Galatians 6:10
            The fact that the Law is fulfilled in the phrase “love your neighbor as yourself,” is not meant to imply that it alone fulfills it. The greater command, which along with the second greatest truly sum up the law, is: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind.” (Luke 10:27 NWT) Therefore, we see that, while we loved our neighbor, we love Jehovah more than them our even ourselves. So, there is no contradiction in acting in a way that seems unloving toward others, and loving them as ourselves. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Four)

Should Strangers be Killed?
            Numbers 1:51 (NWT84) states: “[W]henever the tabernacle is setting out, the Levites should take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites should set it up; and any stranger coming near should be put to death.” Also, Deuteronomy 7:2 (NWT84) states: “Jehovah your God will certainly abandon them to you, and you must defeat them. You should without fail devote them to destruction.” From this the skeptic divines the rule: Foreigners should be killed.
            This, he argues, contradicts Exodus 23:9 (NWT84), which says: “[Y]ou must not oppress an alien resident, as YOU yourselves have known the soul of the alien resident, because YOU became alien residents in the land of Egypt;” and Jeremiah 22:3 (NWT84), which says: “This is what Jehovah has said: “RENDER justice and righteousness, and deliver the one that is being robbed out of the hand of the defrauder; and do not maltreat any alien resident, fatherless boy or widow. Do them no violence. And do not shed any innocent blood in this place.””
            However, his “understanding” is based on a misunderstanding of what “stranger” means in the context of Numbers 1:51. The 2013 revision of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures makes it clear that only “unauthorized person[s]” would be killed. If the skeptic is not satisfied with this interpretation, let him first note that the Levites are addressed, and that only they were allowed to move the tabernacle. Similarly, the context of Deuteronomy 7:2 reveals that the Canaanites are the people being referred to; they were the ones whom Jehovah was about to abandon into Israel’s hand, not just any random stranger or foreigner, but those condemned. Therefore, the skeptic’s first premise cannot be established, the Bible never commanded the killing of strangers, so there is no contradiction.

Should Spirit Mediums Be Killed or Avoided?
            Spirit mediums are scripturally condemned. Exodus 22:18 (NWT) states: “You must not allow a sorceress to live.” This command is repeated in Leviticus 20:27. So, why does the Bible later only command us to avoid them? 1 Timothy 4:7 (NWT) states: “But reject irreverent false stories, like those told by old woman.” And, in 1 Timothy 6:20, Paul urges Timothy to “keep that which is committed to [thine] trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of [knowledge] falsely so called.” The skeptic argues that the Bible waffles on this issue. Nevertheless, he fails to note that Paul wrote after the fulfillment of the Mosaic Issue. Further, and most immediate to this issue, Paul was not even referring to spirit mediums, so there can be no contradiction.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Three)

Were Foreigners to Follow God’s Laws?
            Exodus 12:49 (NWT) taken by itself gives the rather “clear” command: “One law will apply for the native and for the foreigner who is residing among you.” This command is further backed up, as it seems, by Leviticus 18:26 (NWT), which says: “But you yourselves must keep my statutes and my judicial decisions, and you must not do any of these detestable things, whether a native or a foreigner who is residing among you.” Therefore, after “affirming” his case that the “one law,” or Mosaic Law was incumbent upon non-Israelites as well, the skeptic astonishes us by Deuteronomy 14:21. It (NWT) says: “You must not eat any animal that was found dead. You may give it to the foreign resident who is inside your cities, and he may eat it, or it may be sold to a foreigner. For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God.”
            However, we must first remove Exodus 12:49 from his evidence, for that concerns the law of the Passover. In some regard, while not a literal rendering, I prefer how the New Living Translation renders that verse, namely: “This instruction applies to everyone,” for it makes clear what is implicitly there, that that instruction was not meant in regard to the entire Mosaic Law, but to the specific instructions for the Passover. Further, we note that Exodus 12:48 (NIV) says: “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the LORD’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it.” So, we see that the meaning of “foreigner” is not the same in all places. Foreigners did not have to keep the Passover, but some wanted to, so they had to meet the same requirements as the native Israelites; they had to join Jehovah’s people, and by doing so they formed part of Israel, who were under the Law.
            What of Leviticus 18:26? We could reasonably say that the foreigners addressed were only ones who joined themselves to Israel. Or, perhaps because of the moral, rather than ritualistic nature of the specific commands in that context (for example, the prohibition of incest) they applied to those who lived in the land of Israel, even if they had not joined themselves to Israel. However, Deuteronomy 14:21 lets those who had not joined themselves to Israel to eat of forbidden foods, something that Leviticus 18:26 did not forbid. In all, we have established that there is no contradiction. a

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part Two)

Should Moabites be Killed or Left Alone?
The skeptic cites Judges 3:29, 30 (NWT), where it says: “At that time they struck down about 10,000 Moabites, all strong and valiant men; not a single one escaped. So Moab was subdued on that day under Israel’s hand; and the land had rest for 80 years,” and Jeremiah 48:2 (ASV) where, it says: “There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Hesbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut if off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall purse thee.” From these scriptures, whose context he does not provide, the skeptic formulates a law – which the scriptures nowhere state: Moabites should be killed.
            Then, in opposition to this supposedly biblically based law, he cites Deuteronomy 2:9 (WEB), which says: “Yahweh said to me, “Don’t bother Moab, neither contend with them in battle; for I will not give you his land for a possession; because I have given Ar to the children of Lot for a possession.” The result in the skeptics mind is that the Bible contradicts itself.

            However, he stretches the meaning of Judges 3:29,30 and Jeremiah 48:2. In both cases, Moab had fallen under adverse judgement. In the first case they had oppressed Israel and in the latter they were one of the nations that Jehovah had a contention with. Whereas, the command forbad taking Moabite land as a possession, it did not forbid attacking them if they attacked first, or that a nation apart from Israel couldn’t execute God’s anger upon them. There is no contradiction.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 4 (Part One)


            I am glad to offer this fourth book to help you see the harmony of the Bible. Of great interest to us who faithfully worship Jehovah is the fact that the Mosaic Law (as well as the entire “Old Testament”) is harmonious with the “New Testament.” To the skeptic, however, these Christian Greek Scriptures contradict the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures. These perceived contradictions, of course, resolve themselves when sufficient scriptural evidence is presented.
I cannot know to what extent “the skeptic” knows what the Bible teaches. But, I think he knows enough so as to know that what he claims are contradictions are not. If he does not, though, you, my friends, still know, or will know. If, then, any who come across this work at first think the Christian revelation is at odds with the Jewish one, I ask that he examine the matter further. Then, if he is convinced that there is no contradiction, I hope that he seeks God. With that in mind, a few of these contradictions do not deal with the supposed difference between these two revelations, for some are ones that I did not allot room for in my third book.
Keep in mind that context is king! What does the context of the verse say? What is the overall context of the Bible? What is the cultural context of the writer? Why did the writer write, and to whom did he write to? Further, note that the Bible is a work painstakingly copied by men, a work most excellently preserved, yet not delivered to us without slight errors in transmission. This topic, while briefly discussed in the first book, has been sufficiently answered thus far. (Though I may end up writing a fuller explanation as to why God allows such minor scribal errors.) Additionally, note how I have used various resources such as Insight on the Scriptures to explore the previous “problems,” a method that is very useful.
            I especially desire for you to know how to solve these things on your own, being made sure in faith by the pattern already shown here. For, in like manner the rest will also fall into line. Given that there can be two a priori positions – the scriptures are inerrant, or they are errant – why be so quickly shaken from the one you have chosen? You say that the Bible does not contradict itself, so stick with that and see how it works out. I say the same to the one who holds the opposite view, so that once he arrives at faith in the Sacred Scriptures, he may do so soundly. I do not ask him to be instantly sure that the Bible is not contradictory, but to do so after considering what I have written. Therefore, may this work be enjoyable to you all.