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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.

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