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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. 

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