Monday, August 18, 2014

Old Covenant Vs. New Covenant: A Biblical Defense Against the Ignorant to Context

In the Bible, it’s easy to look at an issue like gay marriage, witchcraft, tattoos, and other “sins” and see the consequences being death every time and wondering,  “how can God do this?”. Well, here’s the thing about the Old Testament verses the New, the Old Testament is the Law. The reason the Lord tells Moses and all of Israel to kill people after committing almost every sin is not because He doesn't love His people (clearly He does or else He wouldn't have made a covenant with them in the first place), but it’s actually because He does. God walked with mankind in the Garden of Eden, where man and woman were equal, where everything was perfect. But that all changed when sin entered the garden and crept into the sins of mankind. After that, God couldn't have the relationship that He had once had with man, because man made his choice to disobey and rebel against his Creator. Since that time, God had been trying to re-establish that close relationship with His creation that He once had in the Garden.

The reason why in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, God generally tells the Israelites to kill those who committed those sins, was not because He actually wanted them to kill each other. The reason God was so descriptive and detailed with explaining the Law and explaining the sins and their punishment was so that they (the Israelites, as well as anyone reading the Bible in the future, aka us) would see their need for a Savior, that they would see why in fact they need Jesus to Redeem us all of our sin(s).

Were there many people that God commanded Israel to slaughter in the Old Testament? Yes, there were quite a few nations. But if you actually read the Scripture and do the research, who was it who He was telling them to kill? Not necessarily other people like themselves, but the different giant nations like the Rephaim, the Emims, and the Anakim (these are only a few of the giant nations mentioned, however there are many more, most of the ancient nations that end in “im” or “ites” are giants). The giants were commanded to be destroyed because they are NOT God’s own creation. They are the children of the Fallen Angels and the human women who fell for them. They are not of God or of creation, they are evil beings that once killed, their spirits are actually what we now call demons or devils. They do have spirits, but since they are not spirits created by God and since they are a hybrid spirit of both angel and human, they are a part of the Curse and not of His Creation. (Twice in Scripture these giants are referred to as the Nephilim, which means “fallen ones”, a direct reference to their fathers the Fallen Angels).

Now, there are even other times in Scripture where God tells the Israelites to wipe-out whole nations of people (who were in the Promised Land, given to Israel by God Himself), men, women, and children. In all honesty, I don’t completely understand why this needed to be the case. It can generally be said that God did this because those nations worshiped false gods (generally Fallen Angels or demons in disguise) and if anyone from those nations were to infiltrate Israel, they would be corrupted themselves. Now I for one am not one to condone or support genocide of any kind, it is of the Devil, but here in Scripture it’s done because had Israel been corrupted by these false gods that ruled over these nations, they would have lost their way from the Lord.

The scary truth about God that EVERYONE seems to forget is that He is a JUST and RIGHTEOUS God. Does God give second chances? Yes, absolutely! Does God tolerate sin? No, He doesn't because sin is the direct action of rebelling against God and, more or less, spitting in His face. You see, God HATES sin. He HATES it! That’s why in the Old Testament when Israel was under the Old Covenant God tells Moses that those who commit abominations against Him (SIN!) should be put to death! He wasn't necessarily telling them to do that, He was saying, “Look Moses, the punishment for sin, ANY sin, is death. Period.” But because God loves His creation, because He loved Israel, He gave them the Law. The Law didn't just tell people the punishments for sin, it also told of a way to be redeemed from sin, and that was through the sacrifices. Never in Scripture does God ever use a human sacrifice (save His Son Jesus), instead He always provides an animal. In the Garden, in order to make clothes for Adam and Eve, He kills an animal, the first death in the world.

Remember: GOD LOVES HIS CREATION!

But why does God require a sacrifice for sin? Can’t He just forgive and move on?

Yeah, He certainly could, but He doesn't because that would contradict His character. You see, if God is perfect, and by perfect I mean that there’s no sin in Him, then He has to (and He does) HATE sin, period. Because He hates sin so much, He feels anger and hate towards that sin. What? Anger and hate? God? That’s not very loving… On the contrary, it’s the most loving He could get besides dying for us (and He did that too!)! Have you ever seen something bad happen to your friend or ever seen someone hurt your friend and your first reaction to it is to get angry or be upset because you love your friend and don’t want to see them hurt? That’s exactly how God feels about us and sin. He sees that sin hurts us and He desires to do something about it. That’s why He says, “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”, because He is the only one qualified to exact judgment on sin.

But then why the sacrifice? Why can’t He just forgive sin and move on?

The sacrifice is there because in order for God to exact His judgment on sin, He needs some sort of object to exact that judgment on. In the Old Testament, the high priest would take a clean animal and would put all the sins of the people onto that animal and then offer it to God. Yes, this was ceremonial, but it represented God’s judgment on sin. And if you’re confused on why He can’t just forgive sin and move on, well He has forgiven sin, but He’ll only forgive it if you ask Him to.

This brings us to the New Testament and the New Covenant. When Jesus came to Earth in human form and saw the brokenness of the world first hand, He knew that He would have to pay for the World’s sin. You see, the reason why they would have to offer up and animal after every certain amount of time was because, like humanity, ALL of creation was cursed after the fall, including animals. So while the sacrifice may have cleared the people of their sins for a time, new sin would creep into their hearts which would require another sacrifice. After Adam and Eve fell, God promised that He would send a Messiah to Earth to redeem the whole world from sin. That promise that He made at the beginning was fulfilled 2,000 years ago with Jesus Christ. Jesus was conceived of a virgin, He was human from His mother, but His Father was the Lord. Now, God didn't just show up one day, have sex with Mary, and move on, He told Mary that she would be the doorway for the Savior of the world and that although He would be her son by birth, she would really be carrying the Lord’s Son, the Son of God.

As Jesus grew up, He lived a perfect and sinless life, because He was 100% God. So when He flipped the Law upside down (never contradicting it, mind you, but merely stating the Good News that the Messiah was here and that the sacrifices were no longer needed as He would be the ultimate sacrifice), He was sentenced to death. The reason God had to come to Earth as a man and die for us was because no human is without sin, no one is perfect enough in order to redeem the whole human race through his own sacrifice, no one but God Himself. So when Jesus died, He died as 100% God in order to redeem the world of sin and allow God’s mercy to be in effect, but He also died as 100% man so that there never needed to be another sacrifice again.

You see, in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, when God gave His people the Law, He wasn't giving it to them expecting them to follow through with it, He gave it to them to show them that it’s impossible for them to fulfill the Law! If even one person killed the other because say they were committing witchcraft, then the person who killed the other in accordance with the Law would then also have to die because he committed murder, another sin talked about in the Law, and then the cycle would be endless. God gave them the Law not with the intention of them fulfilling it, but with the intention of showing them WHY they needed the coming Messiah! You see, every “bad thing” every sin you see the Israelites commit in the Old Testament is because they’re trying to fulfill a Law that they were never supposed to fulfill. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and to testify to the Truth; that Truth is that the only one capable of fulfilling the Law 100% is the One who wrote it in the first place!

So when people show me verses in Scripture where God tells Israel to kill homosexuals or to put adulterers or liars to death, I just sigh and shake my head, because they don’t look at the CONTEXT of how, when, or why God is telling Moses this. It’s not because He wants them to kill each other or because He’s a cruel and evil God, it’s because He’s showing them time and time again, ALL throughout the Old Testament just how broken they are and WHY they need Jesus to redeem them, and here’s the saddest part of all, when Jesus DID show up, they rejected Him because He told them EXACTLY what God had told them hundreds of years prior!

There’s so much sin, so much death, so much brokenness throughout the Old Testament that people are immediately turned off to the Bible and to God because of it. But here’s the Truth, the word “Testament” just means a “testimony”. The Old Testament is a testimony of why humanity needs a Savior, why we need Jesus. Yes, the Israelites did a lot of evil and horrible things, there’s no question about that, but THEY did them, that was THEIR choice, and those were THEIR faults. If we look at our world today, and some of you are going to have to be extremely objective here, can you tell me that the United States isn't any different, or that China isn't any different, or England, or France, or Mexico, or Canada, or any other country out there? Now, I live in the United States, so although I can’t speak for the rest of those countries first-hand, I will say that the United States acts just as bad, if not sometimes worse, than Israel did back in the Old Testament! We've had slaves, we've committed horrendous acts during war, we’ve aborted babies in their mother’s womb, we've done this and that, and still people who live in America call it the “greatest nation on the face of the Earth”. I don’t but that’s just me.

SIDE NOTE: The reason that people in Israel had slaves or servants back in the Old Testament was not the same reason as America having slaves until after the Civil War (which was never about slavery by the way, it was about the increase on tariffs, aka money). Back then, people either sold themselves into slavery or were forced into slavery to pay off dept. It was not about racial prejudice or even cruelty to other human beings, it was much different. The slaves in Israel even had rights in their social system, something that none of the other countries did. In fact, Jewish slaves couldn't be held for more than six years and were then given the option to leave, although they could stay if they wished. Slavery during this time was not true slavery in the sense that we know the word, it was more of an occupation than anything else, so don't try to tell me that God allows slavery as we know it, our founding fathers did that, not THE Founding Father.

The interesting thing is that Israel was never supposed to have a government or a king at all! They were supposed to follow the Lord and live in the Promised Land and He would have provided and taken care of them and defeated/destroyed all of their enemies. But, Israel looked around and wanted what all the other nations had, a king. And right there, Israel said “screw you” to God and did their own thing. You can’t blame the actions of a nation of people on God any more than you can blame a parent for the actions of their child. God showed them time and time again that He would be there for them and deliver them and protect them, yet almost every time they turned away. That wasn't on Him, He did His job, Israel was who turned away, Israel was who raped, pillaged, and plundered different nations. Israel was who was corrupt and God punished them for it! He left them in the dessert for 40 years because they didn't want anything to do with Him, He split their kingdom into two after Solomon because they were wicked, He allowed them to be taken into captivity time and time again, and He even allowed something as terrible as the Holocaust to happen because they continually tried to live by the Law on their own and continually tried to govern themselves instead of letting go and handing the throne over to the One who gave it to them in the first place and trusting Him to do the job, perfectly. This being said, not all the kings of Israel were like this and not all the people were like this, there were always those who wanted to worship and follow the Lord, but they always seemed to be the minority.

Even 2,000 years after Jesus came and went (with His promise to return), the Jews still continue to deny that He is the Messiah and they still try and live by the Law. Not all of them mind you, certainly not (I know quite a few Jews who DO in fact believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and they are wonderful and beautiful people who truly love the Lord), but many of them still don’t believe.

Look, this entire little “thesis” (if you can call it that) is just to remind people this: God is good, all the time. Bad things happen, yes, to believers and non-believers alike, and God allows them to happen, yes, but here’s why. If we’re faithful, if we trust in Him, if we allow Him to work in our lives, He will use everything that happens to us for good (Romans 8:28), so long as we believe and trust in Him. Not to mention that He would rather us CHOOSE Him, choose good, rather than follow evil. We're not robots, that's not how we were created, we do have free will. I originally wrote this article as a response to multiple, hundreds actually, Internet memes that took Old and New Testament Scripture about gay marriage, slavery, rape, etc. out of the context of which it was written. That truly, and excuse my language, but that truly pisses me off. I can’t tell you anything I hate more (well, I could tell you a few sins I hate just about as much actually… But that’s for another time) than when people use Scripture to try and convince Christians that it’s not true and that it contradicts itself. And do you know what the saddest part is? Is that a lot of Christians BELIEVE the lies because they DON’T KNOW THEIR BIBLE!

There’s one meme I saw out there that was a picture of a man reading a Bible and laughing. The text above him says, “GENESIS 32:30 – I HAVE SEEN THE FACE OF GOD” and the text below him says “JOHN 1:18 & 1 JOHN 4:12 – NOBODY HAS SEEN THE FACE OF GOD”. Now this ticks me off because from what you read in the meme it seems like Scripture contradicts. That’s simply not true. Genesis 32:30 says this, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just before this verse, Jacob wrestled with a mysterious figure in the middle of the night (night by the way, where he could not see His face…) all the way until the sun began to rise. When the sun was about to rise, the Man began to leave and Jacob grabbed his thigh and told Him that before He left he wanted to be blessed. So the Man blessed him and re-named Jacob “Israel” for he was to be the father of the nation. In verse 30, Jacob named the place Peniel because he saw God face to face and lived. Up until that point, nobody, most likely not even Adam and Eve, had physically seen God, let alone touched Him. Here’s why this isn't a contradiction with the verses in the New Testament: because in the New Testament Jesus, and John, is talking about God the Father. Most biblical scholars believe that the man who Jacob wrestled with was not the Father, but the Son. This means that Jacob was face to face with Jesus Christ, not the Father who is the one being referenced in the New Testament. Yes, that’s a tricky Trinity thing that quite honestly we don’t understand, and we’re not supposed to, and it may seem like a cop-out answer, but the Truth is that although the Father and the Son ARE One (as is the Spirit with those two as well), they are also separate entities. For one, Jesus and the Spirit don’t know the time of Jesus’s return as prophesied by both Jesus in the Gospels and John in Revelation, whereas the Father already knows. Like I said, it’s a tricky Trinity thing, but the point still stands.


I don’t mean to continue to ramble so I’m going to wrap it up here. First of all, I apologize for not using a whole lot of exact Scripture references (though let it be known that everything I've said is based on Scripture itself). The reason I chose NOT to go back and add specific Scriptures is because I don’t want to hand everything out to you. I want YOU to dig into the Word, to really research what I’m saying to see if it holds up to His Word. For all you know, I could just be testing you to see if you go back to check what I’m saying. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING THAT I HAVE SAID AS TRUTH! Go back to Scripture, dust off your Bible’s, and check what I’m saying to see if I am indeed right. If I’m not, please let me know and please send me your evidence as to why I’m not because if I’m wrong on anything here I NEED to know and I WANT to be corrected so that I can change that information to line up with the Truth. Thank you all for reading this, I know it’s quite a bit of information to digest, and please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions on any of this. Love you all!