Perhaps One Reason God's People Couldn't Eat Pork

  Part III of a series on the Old Testament.



Bethany Laird



Did you know I write a monthly article just for email subscribers? It's true!

This month we're discussing how we Christians should apply the Old Testament to our lives. And yes, this includes a discussion about pork.

Here's how it starts:

 

If you, dear reader, have been with me from the beginning then you know I'm passionate about the Old Testament and the ways in which the New Covenant believer should apply it to his or her life. My first book, Do No Work, revolved around the Sabbath and the 4th commandment, but the subtext protruding from every page was this very issue of how a Christian should apply the Jewish Scriptures. Must we rest on the Sabbath? Must we observe the Sabbath on the seventh day?

Is it okay if we get tattoos? (Lev. 19:28)
Is it kosher to wear clothing made from mixed materials? (Deut. 20:11)
Would it be all right if I trimmed my beard? (Lev. 19:27) It's getting kind of scraggly.

You get the point.

The Ten Commandments, originating in the Old Testament, elicit little controversy among Christians, and yet pretty much every Jesus freak I know trims his beard and eats bacon too. So why is it okay to eat pork but not to covet my neighbor's house (i.e. the 10th commandment)? Are we just picking and choosing which OT dictates to follow? Or is there some sort of rhyme or reason to Christianity's application of the Old Testament?

 

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Did Isaiah Really Predict a Virgin Birth? Some Interesting Backstory to the Bible’s Most Famous Prophecy

As I seem to be doing more and more these days, I have taken on an utterly too ambitious topic for this article.

Maybe you could chalk it up to the inner masochist in me, but I don’t think such an explanation tells the (entire) story. Truth is, this subject has been in the back of mind for over three years, rattling around in there and surfacing every once in a while to see if I was ready for the task of tackling the issue of the virgin birth prophecy.


Mick Haupt


After learning that the word virgin in Isaiah 7:14 does not strictly mean virgin, I began wondering if skeptics' claims that early followers of Jesus mistranslated or misconstrued the Scriptures to suit their purposes are legitimate.

In truth, although I have done quite a bit of homework on this, I am in no way an authority on the subject. Furthermore, the web article format simply cannot do the issue the justice it merits. To say this issue could fill an entire book is no exaggeration as many authors have already undertaken and fulfilled the task.

Nevertheless, I think the issue is worth addressing and revisiting because it is important we know of deficiencies (or perceptions thereof) regarding the Bible.

Should Christians Read the Old Testament?

 Part II of a series on the Old Testament.


Siora Photography


Did you know I write a monthly article just for email subscribers? It's true!

This month we're discussing the merits of the Old Testament for the modern day Jesus-follower. Should we even read the OT?

Here's a snippet:

 

If it seems like I'm playing both sides of the argument it's only because this debate is much more complex and nuanced than extremists on either side would like you to believe.

I think the best approach is first to answer the question, Why Read the Old Testament? And then proceed on to, How Can We Apply it to Our Lives? Or, to put it another way, first we will establish the value of the OT on its own merit, and then talk about how we can use and understand it.

As I see it there are three reasons why Christians should read the Old Testament:

 

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Is This Why Jesus Wrote in the Dirt?

 The Word of God stands forever, but your sins don't have to.

The Creation of Adam, detail, Michelangelo

If you've never had your vehicle impounded after getting pulled over by a police trooper, let me say I wouldn't recommend it.

One summer in the not too distant past I was driving home on the interstate when a police car approached my vehicle from behind. Needing to exit soon anyway, I slid over to the right lane to let the cruiser pass. He seemed eager to get on with his business.

To my dismay he followed suit and changed lanes along with me, still riding my bumper. We drove along for another mile or so playing this fun game of Get the Heck Away from Me/I Don't Have to I'm a Cop when at last he illuminated his emergency lights, flagging me to pull off the road and onto the shoulder.

There's no good way to answer "No" to the inevitable question the patrolman asks. He always thinks you're lying. But I wasn't going to conjure up a vehicular sin just to make myself appear more honest.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

I had no idea.

What Use Is the Old Testament?

Should we unhitch the Old Testament from Christianity?



Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law, Gustave Doré


Did you know I write a monthly article just for email subscribers? It's true!

This month we're discussing the merits of the Old Testament for the modern day Jesus-follower. Is it of any use? Or are we free to discard it?

Here's how the article begins:

In 2018, North Point Community Church pastor Andy Stanley drew attention and criticism for suggesting Christians "unhitch" their faith from the Old Testament. Here's what he said:

"[New Testament] Church leaders unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures. . . Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well."

In response critics came out of the woodwork like termites decrying the preacher as a heretic, among other things.

But if Stanley is on one end of the extreme, then an acquaintance of mine is on the other. He believes Christians should live according to the Torah, placing special emphasis on the Sabbath, circumcision, eating only kosher foods, and religious festivals. (Note: this person is not of Jewish heritage.)

So is Andy Stanley right about the Old Testament? Or is my gentile friend in the right? Should we Christians toss out the OT or study and try to obey all 613 commandments in the Torah?

 

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Don't Believe Everything You Hear: The Privilege (and Burden) of Reading

What Jesus expects of those who can read.

Johannes Krupinski


If you were a Jewish person living in the first century, there's a good chance you wouldn't know how to read.

Or at least not know how to read well.

It's hard to say for sure, but literacy estimates I've encountered range from 3 to 30 percent. Catherine Hezser, professor of Jewish studies at the University of London, concludes that only 10 percent of Jewish people in first century Israel could do more than write his or her own name.[1] Jewish culture valued reading and writing, perhaps more than any ancient culture, but it reserved such tasks for the scribes and other elites like the Sanhedrin.

With this context in mind, it is interesting to examine some of Jesus's own words when teaching or rebuking his fellow countrymen.

Why Isn't the Book of Enoch in the Bible?

If Jude quoted from it, shouldn't it be included?



Did you know I write a monthly article just for email subscribers? It's true!

This month we're discussing the mythical Book of Enoch and its exclusion from the canon of Scripture. Is said exclusion valid or unwarranted?

Here's how the article begins:

You may have heard some scuttlebutt regarding a certain Book of Enoch and its exclusion from the Bible. 

Enoch apologists claim the work should be included in the canon of Scripture for various reasons, most notably because the apostle Jude quotes the work in his eponymous book of the New Testament. If Jude the brother of Jesus quotes from the work, then why shouldn't it be a part of Bible?

There's lots to unpack here, but the central question is actually quite easy to answer.

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