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meat02When we examine things that seem to contradict in Scripture, few are so difficult to consider as those that are connected to issues about which many will have deep theological convictions. When contradictions are noticed between the Bible’s statements regarding these things, contradictory passages will be quickly explained away, and passages supporting the beliefs of those setting them forth will be the ones that are emphasized. However, when it comes to the most important of issues, passages that offer a different view should not be swept under the rug. If an issue is important, then understanding all the Bible passages related to it must be equally important. Therefore, all passages involved should be examined and have their proper place. Nothing should be shoved under the rug. An issue like this may be the issue of “Clean and Unclean Meats.”

In the book of Acts chapter 15, an argument arose between Paul and Barnabas and certain men who came from Judea. They were disputing as to whether the new believers had to be circumcised after the manner of Moses and keep the law in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas, along with certain of the other party, went up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders to determine the answer to this question. The decision of the resulting Jerusalem council is summarized in Acts 15:29. Read the rest of this entry »

tenpercent02I received the following letter:

I found your Precepts website when Google searching for the beginning of the dispensation of grace.  I liked your thorough examination and explanation of when it began.  This sparked me to contact you regarding a somewhat contentious subject among members of my denomination. The question of whether tithing is required by Christians within this dispensation of grace.  Many ministers would assert that Christians are required to tithe as did Abraham and use the passage of scripture where Jesus basically says to someone that they should not have left the practice of doing several deeds of which tithing was one.  I apologize for not having the exact verse quoted as I don’t have it committed to memory nor do I have access to get it at this time.  My belief is that under grace, when it comes to giving money to the kingdom of God, that Christians are to give out of the abundance of their hearts, not by compulsion or commandment.  I see it easily as a contradiction if both positions were to be acceptable in this dispensation.  Could you provide your opinion about tithing/giving of financial gifts?

Thank you for the great question. Glad you found my website, and were helped in understanding the beginning of the dispensation of grace.

Regarding tithing, we have to go back to what the Bible says about tithing. First of all, the word simply means “a tenth.” The first time we see anyone tithing is Abraham in Genesis 14:20, when he met Melchizedek king of Salem after his defeat of four kings to rescue Lot and the people of Sodom, with whom Lot was living. Melchizedek is described as “the priest of God Most High,” and Abraham “gave him a tithe of all.” The things he gave him a tithe of were the spoils of war he had just won by defeating the four kings. This would have mostly included goods carried with the defeated armies as supplies, as well as goods they had looted from former, successful campaigns. Read the rest of this entry »

headbegone02I received the following question:

Have you written anything on the topic of CAPITAL PUNISHMENT?
 
If not, I could use your scriptural expertise on this subject if you have time to jot down the proper view.

No, I have not written anything on capital punishment, though I have probably said something in my messages on the sixth commandment http://preceptsaudio.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/murder/ and http://preceptsaudio.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/we-establish-the-law-4-the-ten-commandments-part-2/

Capital punishment was first instituted by the LORD’s direction in Genesis 9:6.

Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

Many point to this as the Biblical justification for having human government, which it probably is. This took place right after the flood, and placed Adam’s race under the obligation to execute the murderer. Read the rest of this entry »

cleanunclean02I received the following questions:

Nathan, in regard to your article Contradictions in Scripture: Clean and Unclean Meats, I cannot agree more. I agree with the dispensational principle that all foods are okay to eat and that no foods should be forbidden. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer” (I Timothy 4:4,5).

However, that said I have always had reservations about eating foods that God had forbidden in the past. There must have been reasons for why He had done so. These health reasons did not change through the dispensational change that happened at Acts 28:28. A lot of the animals on God’s list in Leviticus to abstain from are scavenger animals which were never meant for human consumption. Almost all of the animals on the list we would not consider eating. For instance, we don’t ever hear about people eating vultures, eagles, camels, owls, etc. In my mind the only debate over animals I would eat (unless my family and I were starving) are rabbits, shellfish and pig. In my studies, I found out that many Americans saved themselves from starvation during the Great Depression because of eating rabbits. Rabbits have an amazing ability to reproduce which really helped many families during that period. I think 2 rabbits can multiply into like 800 rabbits in 9 months or some crazy number like that. I obviously have personally thought about the consumption of rabbits, especially in regard to our future economic problems facing the United States.

Anyway, since so many animals are on the list that we wouldn’t even eat, I pause when I am eating bacon or shellfish. As you know, we eat on the majority organic foods. I was reading an article from Mercola warning his readers about eating pig. He talked about how the majority of pigs that Americans would eat come from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and that “these inhumane environments are typically toxic breeding grounds for pathogens.” He talks about the majority of them being filled with parasites that could be very dangerous for human consumption. He seems to be okay eating pigs that are grown organically without antibiotics. Mercola is a huge advocate of eating raw foods and he warns about never eating pig raw even if they were organically raised, etc. As Jordan Reuben talks about in The Maker’s Diet, “Pigs or swine…never limit their diet to vegetation.  They will eat anything they can find—including their own young and sick or dead pigs from the same pen.” The pig has one stomach and cannot be compared to animals with multiple stomachs. Therefore, “four hours after the pig has eaten his polluted swill and other putrid, offensive matter, man may eat the same swill second handed off the ribs of the pig.” The question that is put in the book is “Did anything biologically happen to the swine [since Bible times], or did the digestive tract of man have some kind of miracle transformation?” Read the rest of this entry »

exhausted02I received the following question:

The sacrifices in the old testament… approximately 2 million people bringing the priests sacrifices, were the priests sacrificing every day all day long?  

There can be little doubt but that the priests were quite busy, and that many sacrifices were made. There are several mitigating factors to say that they were not overly busy. For one, the priestly family grew larger and larger as time went on. There were plenty of priests, and no shortage to keep the sacrifices going.

Then, realize that people were not necessarily bringing sacrifices constantly. There were three times in the year when every Israelite male (or every head of household?) had to appear before the Lord, and when he came, he could not come empty-handed, but had to bring a sacrifice. Yet they brought the sacrifice for their household. That means only every household had to bring a sacrifice, not every Israelite, so the number was somewhat smaller than it might have been otherwise.

Other than this, there were sacrifices that were going on constantly. There were daily sacrifices that had to be performed. Then, there were special sacrifices on the sabbath day, on feast days, and on the new moons (beginning of the month.) Besides this, there were sacrifices when a baby was born, sacrifices when one finished a Nazirite vow, and sacrifices when one committed a sin and was not aware of it. There were a considerable number of sacrifices. But remember that the high priest did not have to perform all the sacrifices, and so I think the large number of priests would have been plenty enough to perform all the sacrifices that were needed.

That said, when there were only Aaron and his two sons as priests, they probably were quite busy. No doubt they recruited Aaron’s grandsons to the task as soon as they were old enough.

I received the following question:

I would like some clarification regarding how Israel kept the festivals in relation to when their harvest was.  The festival called the Wave Sheaf Offering (Lev. 23:9-14) was to be done on the first Sunday after the beginning of the spring harvest. This in my mind creates a dilemma. During harvest time there is a great need to have many hands working in the field to collect the harvest.  At the same time every adult male had to bring an offering to the temple during the time of the festivals (Deut. 16:16-17).  I had always pictured the festivals as taking place at the time of the harvest, as the Wave Sheaf Offering suggests.  Are these actually harvest festivals?  What is the timing of the harvest in relation to the festivals?

Thanks for another great question.

Leviticus 23:9-14. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10. “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD. 13. Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. 14. You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Deuteronomy 16:16-17. “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. 17. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.

I think your difficulty is in your statement that “every adult male had to bring an offering to the temple during the time of the festivals.” This is not strictly true. As it says in the Deuteronomy passage, the festivals they were to appear before the LORD at were three: Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Tabernacles. The festivals they were not required to appear before the LORD at were Trumpets, Atonement, and…Firstfruits, or Wave Sheaf, as you like to call it. (Note: Passover, the seventh feast, was back-to-back with Unleavened Bread, so they were actually to appear before the LORD for both.) So there was no necessity for the males to appear before the LORD at the beginning of harvest when the Wave Sheaf Offering was offered. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

The word Torah and the word Logos, are they mostly interchangeable?

Well, I would think of “Torah” more as “law,” whereas “logos” means “word” or “expression.” I suppose God’s law is an expression of His mind, but I don’t know that that is enough to tie the two words together.

In the New Testament, “logos” is never used as a Greek word to translate any Hebrew word when quoting the Old Testament, though Old Testament quotations are referred to as “this word.” The word for “law” in the New Testament is nomos. That would probably be the word in Greek for “Torah.”

I received the following question:

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:3)

If “under the law” means that one was guilty of breaking the law, then how would Christ be “under the law?”  We looked up “under” and found that it was hupo, which is the Greek word for under.  Can you help clarify this verse?

Every Israelite, by reason of birth, came under the curse of a broken covenant. Their fathers had broken the covenant with God when they worshipped the golden calf, and from that point on, everyone born as a “son” of Israel was born under the penalty of that broken law. The law that had originally been given as a blessing to them was now, “because of transgressions,” (Galatians 3:19) added to them as a burden to bear. Christ was born under that burden, just as much as any other Israelite was. Though He was not a lawbreaker Himself, He was born into that situation that every Israelite had been in since the golden calf. He was made subject to the law that had been laid upon the people of Israel because of their broken covenant with God. Yet Christ, even though He was born under that law, was able at last to deal with the sin of the broken covenant by His death on the cross, and thus to redeem all Israel out from under the burden of the law. Now, once again, they were free to come into God’s blessing, this time through a new covenant.