Old Testament Law

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For many years the Christian faith has been criticised for ignoring the laws laid out in the teachings of the Old Testament. In recent times, however, there has been a leaning back towards the early books in the bible.[1]

Critics of Old Testament law have attested that the laws are no longer relevant in the modern world, and that under the modern Christian teaching that the laws don't apply. To support this argument they refer to only one passage in the New Testament[2], Galatians 3:23. And occasionally Galatians 5:18. And every now and then they will trot out Romans 6:14. But beyond these few rare examples, it is obvious that Old Testament law is still relevant to modern day Christians. Ignoring of course, Romans 4:15, Romans 6:6, and the entire chapter of Romans 7, of course.

Given how Old Testament law is still extremely relevant today, here is a brief study of how a true latter-day Christian lives their life.

edit Sacrifices

Baby sheep01

To the untrained eye this may appear to be a sheep, but to the observant Christian this is a "Get out of Jail Free" card. Unless it's male.

Where the teacher advises how we are to show our obedience to God by the slaughter of animals.

One of the most important aspects of this chapter is the location of the slaughter of a sheep or a goat - without defect, naturally - must be done to the north of the altar. Slaughtering animals to the South, or West is obviously a sin, and if you are to slaughter an animal in the wrong location, it will mean the Sons of Aaron - the priest - will not splash blood on the altar, or place the butchered head or fat on the wooden pyre on the altar. And of course we don't want the slaughter to be done in the East - after all, that's where we keep the ashes.

The last thing you would want is for the priests to not burn your offerings on the altar, of course. Remember what happened to CainCain?

Now if you are bringing grain instead of an animal, the last thing that you would want to do is bring your average flour to the altar. Anything less than your finest would be an insult to God. So of course you must make sure that not only is your grain the finest quality, and it must also be doused with olive oil. If you bake or fry bread from your grain, make sure there is no yeast in it, but if you don't ensure that you have added incense as well. And make sure you bring enough to share - after all, the best parts go to the priests, so they need to have enough that they can give a memorial amount to the flames. And the priests deserve it - after all, they are the ones who have to carry it to the burning pyre on the altar. And of course, do not forget the salt.

So a very important aspect of bringing your undefected lambs and goats to the altar as a sacrifice - beyond the aforementioned slaughter to the North of the altar - is to ensure that you slaughter your animals at the opening of the tent of the meeting. Now this must be done by placing your hand on the head of the animal, and then slaughter it. The priests will splash the blood of the animal on the altar - an thankless task for which all they get in return is the occasional loaf of bread - and also take up the bits of the animal to be burned. This - and this should go without saying - includes all the fat, the tail, the internal organs, and the fat connected to them, the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver.

Now we come to the sin offering. This is extremely important, because sometimes a believer will unintentionally sin. That is - without even meaning to, and with no forethought - the believer will accidentally break one of the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, or even worse, one of The Big Ten. And of course, there is no way a believer would sin intentionally. After all, a believer would never lie to protect a wicked man or woman, or repeat a false or slanderous report, or curse a politician.[3] Or at least, they would never do these things intentionally.

It is also important to remember that there are different sacrifices depending on who sins. If a priest, or the entire community, sins then they must slaughter a young bull. A leader must slaughter a male goat, and any other member of the community must slaughter a female lamb. As these are commandments, bringing the wrong sacrifice - unintentionally - is a sin. So if you are not a priest, or a leader, make sure you stock up on live female lambs.

So, if you are employed as a loans manager for a bank, and you - unintentionally - don't assist someone with a legitimate need, you will need a live female lamb to slaughter to the north of the altar, at the opening of the tent of the meeting place, and have to cut off all the fat and the innards, and drain the blood for the priest to splash over the altar. Failing to do this would be a sin, and by unintentionally sinning you'd need to bring a second live female lamb to slaughter. So it is important if you are working as a loans manager for a bank to raise and maintain a flock of sheep.

edit Food

Kangaroo

And you should never let an unclean animal touch you, so this is a sin.

Where the teacher advises how we are to show our obedience to God by what we shall eat.

Christians will, of course, follow the rules relating to kosher - or clean - food. this means that they will eat the meat of any animal that has split hooves or chews cud, but if the animal only has split hooves or only chews cud, they are off the list. So hares, rabbits, pigs and camels are off the list, but cows and sheep are okay. Kangaroo meat is definitely out.

At the same time that there are limits on the meat, the by-products of these animals also comes into question. So milk from a cow, sheep or goat is fine to eat, but fox milk is definitely off the menu - which comes a a relief to the fox population. Part of the problem here is that an animal is declared un-kosher if it is discovered to be diseased, so before consuming any milk you need to ensure that the animal has had a health check. Of course, with industrialised milking facilities, the milk of one cow gets combined with the milk of several thousand other cows, and is then processed, and re-processed, so that it is impossible to determine if any milk from a dairy is going to be kosher. So if you intend on drinking milk, it is important that you source from a cow that you know to be well. For this reason many modern Christians have started raising their own cattle, and have taken up qualifications in veterinary science, just to ensure they avoid unintentional sin.

Cheese is complicated, as many hard cheeses also involve rennet, which comes from an animals stomach lining. Now rennet is fine as long as it comes from the stomach lining of an animal slaughtered according to kosher laws, and the animal itself is kosher, and not discovered to be sick when slaughtered. So as long as the modern Christian slaughters their own animals for the rennet, and combines it with the milk, and follows the processes for slaughter under Old Testament law, and makes sure none of the work involved in creating the cheese is done on the Sabbath,[4] then they are okay to eat cheese. As long as it includes no gelatin, of course.

And then of course there is Pareve food products, which covers almost everything else, including eggs, honey, fish, things that swarm in water, grains, fruit, things that crawl on many feet, chocolate, insects, larvae, things that crawl on their belly, wine, caviar, and so on. While many of these rules are located in Leviticus, there are also rules in Exodus, Deuteronomy, Kings, Numbers, Acts of the Apostles, Romans, and a bunch of other books within the Bible. And of course there are rules around what time of the year or time of the week that something is or isn't kosher. As these laws are what define sin, any Christian will be able to give you a complete run down on what the laws are surrounding what they can and can't eat. Or touch.

Water is fine, as Christians don't follow the Yoreh De'ah, given that it is obviously not scripture, as it was written 1300 years after Christ.

And of course, Lev 3:17 does advise us that you must not eat any fat, or any blood. This is an extremely important observation in Christian life, which is why you never, ever, see any overweight Christians.

edit Sex

Lost in bed

The only sex should be kosher sex.

Where the teacher advises how we are to show our obedience to God by how we treat our genitalia.

Many non-Christians are aware that homosexuality is a sin, and that God hates homosexuals, as it is clearly indicated in scripture, there are many other laws that involve the way we treat others.[5]

Some of the biggest restrictions on immoral sexual practices relate to how you relate with those to whom you are related. Generally you shouldn't have relations with anyone who is a close relative, but thankfully we have a list of who is considered a close relative to not sleep with. For instance, committing sodomy with your father or incest with your mother is definitely off the table. But it should also be off any other types of household furniture as well. Other limitations include your father's wife, your sister, your father's sister, your mother's sister, or your father's brother. For those who are keeping count, your father's sister or your mother's brother is still fine.[6]

Going a touch further afield, there are also restrictions on your father's wife's daughter, your son's daughter, your daughter's daughter, your father's brothers wife, your son's wife, your brother's wife, your wife's daughter, the daughter of your wife's son, the daughter of your wife's daughter, or your wife's sister.[7]

And again, for those keeping score, sleeping with your daughter is not restricted, as long as her mother is not your wife, or she happens to be your grand-daughter as well as your daughter.

Of course there are limitations on having intercourse with another man's wife in Leviticus, but this also extends to coveting your neighbours wife in The Big Ten.

Beyond this there are a few other restrictions that need to be mentioned for the sake of completeness. Now while there is no issue in having multiple wives, it is important that your rival wives are not closely related to each other. So when seeking out another wife, make sure that you check their lineage as well. Cousins are okay. Sisters are okay if one of them has died. [8]

One of these is not to have sex with a woman during that special time of the month where she needs candles and chocolates. At this point they are unclean, and anything they touch is also unclean. And the last thing you want to do is make your third wife unclean as you touched your first wife earlier in the day while she was bleeding. This of course lead to the popular children's mnemonic couplet:

When it's time for Aunt Flo, it's no-go.

Of equal importance is for men to not have sex with animals, and for women to not let animals have sex with them, leading to the other popular mnemonic couplet:

When it comes to Rover, don't bend over.

And while we're on the same chapter, remember you must not allow your children to be sacrificed to Moloch. This would be a profanity to the name of God. Sacrificing your children to Jehovah is fine though, as Jephthah showed when he sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering to the Lord due to a slip of the tongue.

Somewhat related to this but in a different chapter, you should never, ever castrate a man. Or any male animal, and this includes bulls, stallions, rams, other livestock, fowl and other birds, other wild beasts - any species. This is a deformity and a defect, and will be rejected as impure in the eyes of God. Castrating women though, feel free.

edit People

WBC

And one of the signs of a true Christian is how they treat others.

Where the teacher advises how we are to show our obedience to God by how we treat people.

In much the same way that food can be kosher, people can also be kosher or un-kosher.

In the Old Testament we learn that God has separated the children of Israel - ie White Christians - from other people, and throughout the Bible there are exhortations that we should never mix. In many places it refers to strange flesh when referring to other races. For instance, Proverbs 23:27 states "for a whore is a deep ditch: and a strange woman is a narrow pit". In here it obviously means that a strange - non-white - woman should not be touched. Apparently because she is a narrow ditch.[9]

This restriction on race doesn't cover slaves though. In fact, you can never own a slave who is a child of Israel, but you are allowed to own a slave from a country around you, or whose antecedents came from another country. So by all means, feel free to own a black or Asian slave - this is right in the eyes of the Lord - but definitely don't touch them - they're unclean. And don't worry about what will happen to your slaves when you die - they will be passed on to your children to own.

When beating slaves with a rod, as prescribed, be careful to not destroy one of their eyes or their teeth, as in doing so you then need to set them free. And and be careful to not kill them, because you'll be punished yourself if they die. If they are able to get back up after a day or two though, that's fine. So be careful to ensure that you beat slaves enough that they'll be able to get up again. Eventually.

And the laws give sound financial advice as well. When lending to a fellow Israelite, you should never charge interest to them, regardless if you are lending money, food, or your lawn-mower. But if you're lending to a foreigner, you definitely should charge interest, as this makes it easier for you to eventually take away their land.

And there are many other things that will make someone clean or unclean, apart from their race. As mentioned earlier during a lady's special time, she is definitely unclean. But after childbirth she is also unclean, but as to how long depends upon the gender of the child. If it's a boy, the woman remains unclean for 40 days, and for a girl the woman remains unclean for 80 days. And until the woman is ceremonially cleansed by having the priests burn a year old lamb for yer at the tent. If she can't afford a lamb, then she can bring a couple of doves or pigeons in its place.

You can also be made unclean by your fashion. As Bowie may have sung, "Fashion, turn to the right. Fashion, turn to the far right". Nazirites[10] must never cut their hair, otherwise they become weak. Lepers should shave off all their hair - they'll skin be unclean, but at least they'll have shiny scalps so everyone else knows to avoid them. Men should never wear women's clothing, and women should never wear men's clothing, and you should never wear clothing made of two different materials. So of course a woman wearing a pant suit with a woollen outer and silk lining during that time of the month is worse than a leper with messy hair.

And speaking of dirty, dirty women, be careful with nocturnal emissions while camping. If a man has a nocturnal emission while camping, he must leave the camp and wait for the day until he can clean himself up. In the late afternoon he is then allowed to peel or scrape the sheets off and clean himself, and then he'll be allowed back in the camp.

And of course, make sure you keep away from people with skin diseases, or cripples. They're definitely unclean.

edit Summary

While there are many other commandments in the Old Testament - and indeed throughout the Bible - this does give a brief example of a true Christian way of life. And it goes without saying that nobody would take only a small portion of these laws and start spouting "God hates fags", or burning crosses on black peoples lawns, without following the whole of the law.

That would just be hypocritical.

edit See also

edit References

  1. Otherwise known as Scripture: Escape from Egypt
  2. Otherwise known as Scripture II: The return of the Son
  3. Exodus 22:28, 23:1-2. For more information on what a sin actually is, and why it's bad, read the entire bible.
  4. While historically the Sabbath was on the seventh day of the week - Saturday, for those not mathematically minded - due to the Resurrection of Christ being on a Sunday, many Christians believe the Sabbath is a Sunday. As Paul states in Romans 14, a good Christian does what he must to ensure that what he eats does not offend a fellow Christian, and as such a good Christian would not eat food prepared on a Saturday or a Sunday, as they are both the Sabbath. So while Jews have one day as the Sabbath, for a Christian the Sabbath covers the entire weekend.
  5. Leviticus 18.
  6. Leviticus 18, still.
  7. Leviticus 18. Seriously they needed to make laws for all of this? What were these randy Israelites doing while crossing the desert other than jumping the nearest family member they could find?
  8. The living sister is okay. The dead one is out of limits.
  9. To date there has been no scientific study that has disproved the relationship between a woman's ethnicity and the depth of her ditch.
  10. Not to be confused with Nazi rites
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