Promises and Secrets

Promises and SecretsPromises and Secrets

A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Has God Changed?

VIEWPOINT



Many today say that God has changed His expectations of us since the days of the Old Testament. They say He has done this by softening all the requirements of moral responsibility. Why did He do this? They say, "Because Jesus died for us." They say that God had Jesus die so that we wouldn't have to do anything to be saved. However, there is evidence that it is not God who has changed, but us. This discussion sheds light on why some think that the rules of the Old Testament no longer apply to modern man.

FACT



The Bible makes the following statements:

6"I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." (Malachi 3:6)

11"I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior." (Isaiah 43:11)


BLUE VIEWPOINT



According to the quote from Malachi 3:6
6"I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed."

in the Fact box above, God does not change.

And, long before Jesus came the first time, He made the statement in Isaiah 43:11
11"I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior."

. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the same "He" is also the God of Matthew, Peter, and Paul. Yet, what do you hear in the sermons of today's churches? The God of today's sermons is a kindler, gentler Jesus Who supposedly no longer expects us to follow those stifling rules set forth by His stern, judgmental Father. You know, those stuffy, clinging, stiff rules that define the conduct between us and God, as well as us and our neighbor.

In a Bible study last night, a friend asked some rather pointed questions about whether or not we still have to follow all the rules in the Old Testament. He mentioned things like keeping the Sabbath and whether God still "smites" for disobedience. He made some good points, but the thing that bothered me the most was that I could not immediately come up with an appropriate response. No, not that there isn't an appropriate response, but that I couldn't respond with one right away that would be better than, "Aww, that's silly!".

People believe what they want, but forget there are consequences

When people become so complacent in society that current beliefs and trends, whether Biblical or not, are accepted without question, they fail to thoroughly consider the consequences of their beliefs. Indeed, many refuse to believe that there even are any consequences. However, God did describe consequences, and the big question is which ones are still valid today? When we deliberately sin, these consequences are challenged, and when nothing immediate happens, people go on their merry way thinking that we don't have to worry about those things any more. They cease to worry about the immediate consequences in this life, but what about the eternal consequences?

Eternal consequences?

For some reason, people forget the many passages in the Bible that refer to what will happen down the road, after we die. Some Christians go through life performing the "detestable" actions of the pagans and think nothing of it. They are not murdering, stealing, or committing adultery. They are merely ignoring the commandments of God or just mixing their Christian beliefs with those of the pagans. This is just another way of saying that they are participating in idolatry - putting their own wishes before those of God. In fact, the vast majority of people in the world are doing it.

Oh, if you ask them, they will deny it immediately. But, when you compare their actions to the word of God, pointing out appropriate passages, they will immediately make excuses and give reasons why that particular passage doesn't apply to them or anyone in their church. Mind you, they have no Biblical reasons for their defense, but they will quote a lot of passages that have nothing to do with the issue.

When God says something, it should matter to us

Jesus said it best in Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

. Have you ever stopped to think about what that means? He didn't say, "Love Me and follow me and you don't have to worry about Dad's tough old laws." Obviously, right on the surface, it means that you must do what the Father wants you to do in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He also said "only the one who does the will of my Father". Just calling Jesus the Lord of your life doesn't mean you have a "get out of jail free" card if you then turn around and disobey the Father. You must demonstrate that you understand the nature of salvation, not just desire it with all your heart and ignore the rest of what God expects.

And how do you know the "will of the Father"? It's in the Book. Some of those rules still apply to us and have some pretty serious consequences. Jesus' forgiveness does not stop the consequences of sin in this life. Oh, you can go to Jesus for forgiveness, if you then repent and "leave your life of sin" (John 8:11
11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you,"Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

). But, if you think a rule doesn't apply to you because you believe in Jesus, and you do not genuinely ask for forgiveness, how are you going to feel when you find out that it still does apply after it is too late to do anything about it?

The 1 Corinthians 5 example shows some rules still apply

Right off the bat, without becoming scholarly, we know that some of God's old rules still apply, even to us miserable Gentiles. But what if all the rules still apply, and we have ignored the rules for the consequences that are to be applied for the correction of disobedience?

In the New Testament

Let's look at this rather extreme, but still very relevant, Biblical example. Many of today's pastors say that the Old Testament laws do not apply to Gentiles now that Jesus has changed things with His "new" gentler, kinder interpretation of those laws. However, take the episode in 1 Corinthians 5. Without even being there, Paul made his case in a letter to the congregation denouncing the actions of the man in question. Notice that he did not tell the man, or the congregation, to ask Jesus for forgiveness and just contnue the sinful actions.

A man is sleeping with his father's wife. Some think it was the man's own mother, but most honest Bible translations recognize that the woman was more likely his stepmother (See notes on 1 Cor. 5:1 in NIV study Bibles). While many will look at this episode and immediately accept it as an example of an activity that no one should do, there is an Old Testament justification for Paul's position. Take a look at Leviticus 18:7-8
7" 'Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8" 'Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father.' "

.

These passages describe acts of disobedience that God does not want His people to perform - whether then or now. And notice that this reference, followed by Paul in his advice to the Corithian Gentiles, is from the Old Testament.

"Is that all you've got?"

While it shouldn't surprise me, people still fail to take responsibility for their actions. The consequences will apply whether they believe it or not. Remember Isaiah 55:11
11so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

. God says things to accomplish a purpose by telling people His will. That's what we are told in Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

, and according to Malachi 3:6
6"I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed."

, God does not change.

If you really need more

Many people use another incident to indicate that the laws are different now. In Leviticus 20:10
10If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

, God said that both participants in adultery must die. Yet, in John 8:7
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

, Jesus seems to have changed the rules. What happened?

Well, the first thing to notice is that, in all the examples, these rules did not change. They were quoting the law of Moses. Jesus never told them that anything in the law had changed. Second, the group of accusers were not even trying to follow the law as they did not bring the other participant in the adultery for the punishment. So, to begin with, this episode was not in accordance with the law. They were using a selective portion of the law to "prove a point" or get their own way. Third, especially with regard to the Corinthian event, what were the appropriate consequences for the actions of the offenders?

Reading further in Leviticus 18, we see the reasons why God wanted the people to follow His precepts and rules, going from verse 24 to the end of the chapter.

24" 'Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
29" 'Everyone who does any of these detestable things - such persons must be cut off from their people. 30Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.' "

"That's only for the Israelites, jerk."

If God thinks something is detestable for the Israelites, do we want to be doing it? No, really. Think about it.

Even chapter 19 continues with more rules that most Gentiles say pertain "only to the Israelites". Just like in the case of Adam, God only spoke to the one who was to tell others. If you were in the Garden of Eden, created after Adam, would you think it was OK to eat from the Tree because God didn't speak directly to you? Adam wasn't even an Israelite! Well, let's look at a few of these ridiculous rules that "apply only to the Israelites". (skip to the end of the box if you already know what they are and think they are not for you).

1The Lord said to Moses, 2"Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3" 'Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.
4" 'Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
5" 'When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 6It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up.7If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. 8Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.
9" 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
11" 'Do not steal.
" 'Do not lie.
" 'Do not deceive one another.
12" 'Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13" 'Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
" 'Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
14" 'Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15" 'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16" 'Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
" 'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord.
17" 'Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
18" 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
19" 'Keep my decrees.
" 'Do not mate different kinds of animals.
" 'Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
" 'Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
20" 'If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. 22With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.
23" 'When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. 24In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.
26" 'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.
" 'Do not practice divination or seek omens.
27" 'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
28" 'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
29" 'Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.
30" 'Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
31" 'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
32" 'Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
33" 'When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
35" 'Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
37" 'Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.' "

Now, looking at these "regulations" or "rules" or "laws", whatever you want to call them, and lumping them all together as rules only given to the Israelites, does that mean we can ignore any of them? No, really, answer the question for yourself, not anyone else. Not for your pastor, or your neighbor, or even the church down the street. If these are given only for the Israelites to follow, then what about the incest rules of chapter 18? What about 19:3, 11, 12, 13, 19, 26, 28, 29, 33, or any of the others? How many people do you know that violate the second half of 19:28? How about 19:37? Can we ignore that one?

"Yep, they are not for us Gentiles."

Now, I'll bet that most of you who will say that we can do exactly that. "These are only for the Israelites!", you say. "He didn't bring me out of Egypt! God has changed the rules for us!" Well, if you say that, contradicting Malachi 3:6, then you feel you can steal, lie, and deceive (19:11) with no issue before God. That logic would mean that the Jews of today don't have to obey them either because He didn't bring them out of Egypt - only their ancestors. If you feel that you can break some of these rules and not others, how do you pick and choose the ones you don't have to follow and those you do?

"No one follows that any more."

Some "liberated" people of today will restate God's laws in such a way as to make them appear foolish in today's "enlightened" points of view. There is a very good article at Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS) about a man who did exactly that in response to the well-known radio show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who offers advice on marriage, dating, and relationships.

Responding to a comment she made about the sin of homosexuality, he wrote her a letter in which a man listed some Old Testament rules and showed how they do not fit into today's lifestyle. The apparent point he was making is something like, "Well, no one does any of these things today, so why should we worry about following any old rules about homosexuality?"

But, why don't we follow them?

He doesn't research them, and find out why "no one does these things", but holds them up as examples of ridiculous requirements. The result is an obvious disregard for God's stated laws and a defense of the clearly defined sin of homosexuality. The WUAS site responds to the man's derogatory letter in an attempt to show the love God displayed with the giving of the law and His intent to accomplish what the author of the WUAS article called the "Elevation of Mankind".

Temporary laws?

An important point made in the article was God's use of temporary laws as well as permanent ones:

Some of God's laws (like the Ten Commandments) are everlasting and some laws (like the religious laws given to Moses) were designed from the beginning to be temporary. Temporal laws are not unusual and we commonly use them today. For example, whenever we see a reduced speed limit in a construction zone, we see a temporary law. When the purpose for the temporary law is achieved, it expires. King David, a lawmaker himself, closely studied the wisdom behind God's laws and wrote:
"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb."(Psalm 19:7-10)
Because some of God's laws are everlasting and some are temporary, there is a great deal of confusion and conflict today as to which is which. Orthodox Jews cannot accept the idea that some of God's laws were temporary and the arguments set forth in your letter may have had a profound impact on Dr. Laura since we now know she renounced Judaism in 2003.

On the other hand, many Christians, instead of taking the time to determine which laws were abolished by the death of Jesus, abolish everything written in the Old Testament. Given this "all or nothing" confusion, I would like to direct your attention to the issue of sexual behavior.

He goes on to point out statements made by the apostle Paul in his letters and John in the book of Revelation that confirm the appropriate way to look at the sin of homosexuality in the eyes of God.

How do we find out which is which?

The only way to look at this subject is to find out which of God's laws were evidently intended to be permanent and which were only temporary to achieve the intended results. Easy? With the Orthodox Jews, who know the word of God well, feeling that none of them are temporary, and the majority of American "Christians" saying that none of them are permanent, maybe it's not so easy.

But then, the Jews have the excuse of not accepting Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of those who accept and follow Him. The "Christians" feel that Jesus protects them from any requirements for obedience. So, the Jews hold on to all of them, and the "Chrisitians" abandon them all.

Who is on the side of Jesus?

Jesus has only one church, and it must "know God and obey the gospel" (2 Thessalonians 1:8
8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

). The Jews get the "know God" part and the "Christians" get at least part of the "obey the gospel" right, so what do we do? Since it cannot be that they both have the whole story, finding the truth in this matter is a much better path than to ignore them all and take the chance of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire.

Temporary or permanent?

According to Paul and others, some of the laws no longer apply, yet this same man shows that some of them still do (1 Corinthians 5
1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife.

). He is referring to Leviticus 18:8, for those of you who do not read it, this is in the Old Testament.

Where do we start? Maybe with a definition of law? How about with the intended purpose of the law in general? Do different laws have different purposes? Without getting too deep into this, maybe we can break it down into smaller bite-size chunks.

Types of laws?

Generally, in man's law there are four general categories - criminal, civil, common and statuate. In God's law there are three - civil, moral, and ceremonial. Rather than do any kind of comparison between man's law and God's law , let's stick to examining those from God. Even here, depending on who you ask, the reasons for these types and to whom they apply differs greatly. Without getting into reasons, let's just look at how different groups define the types. I found this at Biblical Gender Roles:

Moral - this is law which reflects God's character and his design of this world. Examples of this law would include but are not limited to commands regarding murder, children honoring and obeying their parents, adultery, covetousness and theft.

Ceremonial - This was a brand-new set of laws that God gave to Moses that were specifically for the nation of Israel as a theocracy. These laws dealt with the qualifications for priests, requirements for how and when to perform sacrifices, cleanliness laws, dietary laws, festival laws and tithing laws.

Civil (Judicial) - All nations must have civil laws to help deal with disputes between their citizens as well as to enforce the morals of the people. While not all of the Mosaic civil laws dealt with moral issues, a great deal of the Civil laws for Israel did in fact deal with how to punish or make restitution for violation of God's moral laws. So, when we examine the Old Testament to search for the moral law of God - we must look for moral laws that stand alone as well as civil laws which prescribe punishment and restitution for breaking God's moral laws.


Here we find that Moral and Civil laws are for everyone and Ceremonial laws are just for the Jews. Then we go to Pantagraph and find that:

First, are civil laws. These were specifically given for the culture of the Israelites, which includes everything from murder to restitution and dietary restrictions.

Second, are ceremonial laws. This literally stands for the customs of a nation. These would have included sacrifices of perfectly good animals, and rejection of food sources such as pork and rabbits. These laws were specific only toward the Jews.

Third, are God's moral laws. These relate to justice and judgment. They are based on God's own holy nature. As such, these ordinates are holy, just and unchanging.

Moral laws encompass regulations on justice, respect and sexual conduct. All people will be held accountable to these laws.

Now, in this view we find that the Civil and Ceremonial laws are just for the Jews, and only the Moral laws are for everyone. At least, these two views have the application of Moral laws in common. As the search continued, the second definition above from Pantagraph seems to be more common.

The main purpose

When you get right down to it, the common things about all the laws are that they define obedience and the methods for returning to God after any disobedience. So what does that do for our quest? Well, the only thing that changed after the death of Christ was the actions necessary to repent and obtain forgiveness for sin. When an Old Testament man had sins in his past, he was to go to the priest, perform the necessary sacrifices for his particular kind of sin, go his way, and sin no more. This sacrifice did not remove the sins, it only "covered" them (Leviticus 4:20
20and do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for the community, and they will be forgiven.

, Hebrews 10:4
4It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

).

After Christ, this man could go to Jesus in repentant prayer, ask for forgiveness, then should walk in the Spirit rather than continue in a life of sin (Romans 6:1-2
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 1By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

). Sacrifice for sin was no longer necessary. (Hebrews 10:18
18And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

) However, that does not mean that a person can no longer sin or that sin no longer matters to God. This is where today's pastors go too far.

Different actions for different reasons

One misunderstanding about sacrifices is that, contrary to popular opinion, they were not all for sin. Trespass offerings were for unintentional sins related to property. There was a clear definition describing burnt-offerings that had nothing to do with sin. Other types of non-sin offerings were grain and peace offerings. These were voluntary offerings as a tribute to God. Sin offerings were not completely burned up and were eaten in a certain manner, but the burnt offering was completely burned up in the fire.

Does God still have rules about what is and what is not considered sin? If so, those would be the permanent laws. As Paul said in Hebrews 10:18
18And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

, those laws that had to do with God's grace and forgiveness through the sacrifices are no longer necessary after they have been forgiven. However, Paul did refer to another law that still applies, even to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 5:1
1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife.

).

How can some apply and others not?

So, which ones are gone and which are left? Those that pertain to the guidance which will keep us in line with God's will, but do not have to do with forgiveness of sins, still apply. The ones that apply to sin still apply to us, but we have a direct line to Jesus if we genuinely repent. The law did not change, only the method of repentance changed. There is no way to easily go through and identify all of them, but we can tell just by looking which still apply. The ones we will discuss are addressed in other pages on this site. Let's try naming a few.

Leviticus 18, for example, is a list in the same manner as eight of the Ten Commandments - "Do not", "Do not", "Do not". Sure, this list was only given to the Israelites. Does that mean that if we Gentiles follow these restrictions that we are "legalists"? Look carefully at verses 26-27
26But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.

. People who associated with the Jews, that would be Gentiles, were not to violate these rules. Why? Because the actions outlined in the chapter were "detestable" to God. If something is detestable to God, like the actions in 1 Corinthians 5 violating Leviticus 18:8, do you want to be doing it?

Another example

Let's take another example that, for some reason, Gentile "Christians" claim does not apply to us, while it does apply to the Jews. The whole Leviticus chapter 11 is about clean and unclean foods. This means creatures we call "food" that God has declared not to be food. The wording of the regulations is different than that of Leviticus 18, but the reasoning is the same. Yes, it was given to the Israelites, but look at the wording of the reason given by God in Leviticus 11:43-47
43" 'Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

46" 'These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. 47You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.' "

for following the regulations - to remain holy. Eating anything that God has declared unclean means that it will defile you. If you are defiled, you are not holy.

Are you trying to be holy?

Two points are made by those who feel that obeying these regulations makes one a legalist. First, they claim that this was only for the Israelites. Think about that. If a Jew eats an unclean animal, he is defiled. However, they hold, if a Gentile eats the same animal, he is not defiled. What an arrogant display of not being one of God's chosen people, but being so special that God lets you do something He will not let His own chosen people do. Not only that, but these same "Christians" who do not follow God's regulations claim they are going to get the very rewards that God will not give the Israelites because of their actions.

Make sure you know what you are talking about

Second, Christians who feel that the laws (including Leviticus 11 and 18) have been "done away with", quote Mark 7:19
For it doesn't go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

to somehow prove that the food laws no longer apply because "Jesus declared all foods clean." I mean, it says it right there in black and white, right? However, if you look at the interlinear version from which the original translations were made, you will notice something very interesting:

What does the original word say?

Now, if you read the Greek from which the English versions were supposedly translated, and see both verses 19 and 20 that surround the inserted English parenthetical, you see no statement about Jesus declaring any foods clean. Even if we did see the parenthetical statement in the Greek, there are three huge points to be made here.

Unclean animals are not food

First, no Jew (Mark is a Jew) ever refers to any unclean animal as "food". If you read the context of the discussion, Jesus spoke of what defiled a man based on the Jews complaint of not following the traditional (Jewish) washing ritual. He made no reference to the type of meat being eaten.

Not washing does not defile you

And second, the discussion was not about clean or unclean foods, but about washing hands (a Jewish tradition) before you eat any food. Look at the context of the passage. If the Jews had been watching close enough to see that the disciples had not washed their hands, don't you think they would notice if they were about to chow down on a pork roast or some lobster? Imagine the Jews complaining about traditional washing ritual if the disciples were actually disobeying breaking a real God-given regulation.

Paul taught the same truth that he followed

And three, Paul, a devout Jew, said in Acts 25:8
Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar."

that he had not broken any rules of the Jews, the temple, or the Romans. If pork roast had become the new regular "food" of the day for believers in Christ, Paul would not have been able to say that. If you say that he may have personally followed the Jewish diet but said that it was OK for the Gentiles to ignore it, remember that he criticized Peter for telling the Gentiles one thing and then doing another when the Jews came around. God's instructions for diets did not change for those who follow Him. Jesus didn't make this statement about declaring all "foods" clean, men did, and only people who want to live with as few rules as possible will follow it. (For further information and a great explanation on this, see Beyond Today, or go to Clean and Unclean Foods?).

God has a plan

Before anything in creation, God had a plan. The only things He changed in that plan were those replaced by something that would work better for us. Jesus works better for us than regular animal sacrifices for sin. However, the way most Christians act, Jesus is used as more of an excuse for us not to follow God's rules. The history of the Israelites should give us some clues as to how He feels about the laws that still apply to us and about those who deliberately ignore them.

Guidance is still needed by people

After humans supposedly learned some lessons about themselves and about God, He showed them that He was still in control by putting them in situations that He controlled. When He stopped teaching them lessons and watched to see if they followed His instructions (Exodus 16:4
4Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions."

), they failed often. The NKJV says, "that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not." It does not say, "Let me figure out what I need to do to make it easier for them."

When they kept messing up, He put them into situations to show His displeasure. Once, this was a 400-year stint as slaves for the Egyptians. Search all you want, but you will not find a place where God says something like, "Well, that didn't work. I guess I'll just have to change the rules for them. OK, Moses, tell them they can break the ten commandments, eat lobster, and sleep with their mothers."

Who is changing here?

That is what today's "Christians" are really saying when they claim that the law of God doesn't apply to Gentiles. They forget that as forgiving as He is, He will not overlook deliberate continuous sin and disobedience forever. And, according to John
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)

, when you disobey God, who never changes, you sin.

That's because He doesn't change, we do. Most of today's "Christians" change by moving away from Him. They don't see it that way, but they listen to those who teach that God has changed for the part of the world that is not His chosen people while remaining strict for those He chose. The Bible says that God does not change. Those people who teach otherwise are liars, contradicting the Bible, setting us up to follow the antichrist when he finally comes. We need to make sure we know what He wants by learning His unchanging will - not teaching others that God bends to our constantly changing will.



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