Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Lawful Use of the Mosaic Law *Updated*

Exodus 20 - The Ten Commandments

 1 And God spoke all these words:

 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 3 "You shall have no other gods before me.

 4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

 7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

 8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

 12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

 13 "You shall not murder.

 14 "You shall not commit adultery.

 15 "You shall not steal.

 16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

 17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

* * *

"The Reformers saw three proper uses of the moral precepts of Moses' law. Here's a summary from Article VI of the Lutheran Formula of Concord (the "Epitome," or short form):

"The Law has been given to men for three reasons: 1) to maintain external discipline against unruly and disobedient men, 2) to lead men to a knowledge of their sin, 3) after they are reborn, and although the flesh still inheres in them, to give them on that account a definite rule according to which they should pattern and regulate their entire life."

I could not have said it better myself.

More here at Pyromaniacs.

The Law of Moses, including all the ceremonial and civil commands, is summarized as follows in the Anglican service of holy communion:


Minister: "OUR Lord Jesus Christ said: Hear O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

People. "Lord, have mercy upon us, and write both these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee."

15 comments:

P@J said...

Oh, mind control. I get it.

xn--hrfn-woa said...

This is the same Mosaic Law that prescribes the death penalty for working (or gather sticks) on the Sabbath, the daughter of a priest committing prostitution, cursing striking or disobedience to parents, kidnapping, blasphemy, proselytising another religion, disobeying priests or judges, or an outsider coming near a place of worship.

This is quite apart from the mountain of lesser penalties and offences, including banishment (for both the man and woman) for having sex with a menstruating woman, and mixing fibres.

I can easily see why Martin Luther thought that this was all a really great idea. He was after all the man who called Jews "the devil's people", and called for their expulsion or elimination, and defended Geocentricity on Biblical grounds.

RkBall said...

Actually, by Moses' Law I had in mind the Ten Commandments, not the day-to-day laws which Moses prescribed to the Israelite theocracy.

Concerning them:

1. Some of the laws, like mixing fibers, were merely designed to teach the Israelites the principal of distinguishing between clean and unclean, the ability to make distinctions and keep things separate.

2. As for the death penalty -- rarely invoked in practice -- the whole premise was that Yahweh was going to dwell among the Jewish people (and did). He is extremely, acutely, holy and pure, and they were not. Hence, infractions that we might view as minor are magnified and treated as major in the presence of the Holy One. If there is one thing that becomes clear from reading through the OT, it is that "it is dangerous to be around Yahweh".

The Bible is all about figuring out a way for a holy God to mix and mingle with unholy, unworthy sinning persons like ourselves.

God figured out the way (I'm speaking figuratively here) -- and it came at infinite personal cost to Himself.

As Paul says in Romans, God is therefore both just (exacting just penalties for sin) and the justifier of those who trust in Christ.

RkBall said...

"Oh, mind control. I get it."

If my mind were completely and utterly controlled by the Law I would be a happy guy. It was my seeing the law as holy and good, and me as unable to fulfill it that lead me to realize I needed help, as in a Helper to fulfill it. No wonder the words of Jesus, "I am the way..." whispered to my soul had such a profound impact on me. The Law was a school-master that lead me to the Law-giver's Son.

RkBall said...

Xn - As for the dangerousness of Yahweh, consider what was written immediately after the giving of the Ten Commandments:

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."

xn--hrfn-woa said...

1) Pardon me for assuming that the Torah, aka "The Law" aka "The Five Books of Moses" was the "Mosaic Law". If it isn't, then that puts rather a large hole in your prohibition against homosexuality -- was this prohibition likewise "rarely invoked in practice"?

2) I would point out that, in common with most of your (often heavily disputed and/or factually-contradicted) claims on this blog and your LAD blog, your claim that it was "rarely invoked in practice" lacks any substantiation (and thus any credibility) whatsoever.

3) Even if "rarely invoked in practice", these punishments are ludicrously disproportionate to be 'on the books' at all, let alone contained in books taken as canonical. Even a single invocation of them would appear to be a travesty of justice.

"The Bible is all about figuring out a way for a holy God to mix and mingle with unholy, unworthy sinning persons like ourselves."

Actually "the Bible is about" the remnants of the Canaanites, after first being vassals of the Egyptians for centuries, then having lost much of their coastal lands to 'the Sea Peoples' when Egypt collapsed, and facing domination by the Assyrians, to feel good about themselves and create some degree of cohesion.

RkBall said...

"1) Pardon me for assuming that the Torah, aka "The Law" aka "The Five Books of Moses" was the "Mosaic Law". If it isn't, then that puts rather a large hole in your prohibition against homosexuality -- was this prohibition likewise "rarely invoked in practice"?

You were not wrong. The point of the post was the moral law, as opposed to ceremonial or merely civil regulations. So, your comments were (mostly) valid.

xn--hrfn-woa said...

So the prohibition against homosexuality is merely "ceremonial or merely civil regulations", not "moral law"?

Then why do Biblical-bigotry-believing Christians make so much of an issue out of homosexuality -- far more of an issue than about transgressions against the ten commandments?

RkBall said...

Moral.

Homosexuality would be prohibited even if there were not a single verse in the Bible about it -- because it goes against the entire weight of Scripture and not just a few "proof-texts. It starts with us being created distinctly male and female, in God's image, and goes from there. It is in keeping with my theme of there being a proper and improper function to the created order -- hearts, lungs, brains, sexes, which darwinism of course erases -- if nothing is intended there can be no intended function.

In the ten commandments, it violates the command against adultery (broadly interpreted to cover all sexual infractions and because it is an adulteration of human sexuality) and the commandment concerning children honoring their father and their mother. 21st cc. homosexual rights deny children their natural right to a mother and a father and thus run contrary to both nature (human biology concerning species) and Scripture.

Having said all this, homosexuals are no more disoriented than many or most of us in one way or another. And they are just as welcome, upon repentance, in the kingdom of God as the rest of us. Indeed, I do not believe in the us-them divide that homosexualists insist on. We are they and they are us. That is one reason why I would say that there is one marriage institution - male-female, enjoined on all.

xn--hrfn-woa said...

"It starts with us being created distinctly male and female ..."

You really are an ignorant religious bigot aren't you?

1) There are a wide range of genetic and development disorders that mean that many people ARE NOT "created distinctly male and female".

2) Assuming for the sake of argument that your God created the natural word, then:

(i) Your God created homosexuality in Black swans
(ii) Your God created homosexuality in Gulls
(iii) Your God created homosexuality in Mallards
(iv) Your God created homosexuality in Penguins
(v) Your God created homosexuality in Vultures
(vi) Your God created homosexuality in Pigeons
(vii) Your God created homosexuality in Amazon Dolphin
(viii) Your God created homosexuality in American Bison
(ix) Your God created homosexuality in Bonobo and other apes
(x) Your God created homosexuality in Bottlenose dolphins
(xi) Your God created homosexuality in Elephants
(xii) Your God created homosexuality in Giraffes
(xiii) Your God created homosexuality in Humans
(xiv) Your God created homosexuality in Japanese macaque
(xv) Your God created homosexuality in Lions
(xvi) Your God created homosexuality in Polecat
(xvii) Your God created homosexuality in Sheep
(xviii) Your God created homosexuality in Spotted Hyena
(xix) Your God created homosexuality in Lizards
(xx) Your God created homosexuality in Dragonflies
(xxi) Your God created homosexuality in Fruit flies
(xxii) Your God created homosexuality in Bed bugs

"It is in keeping with my theme of there being a proper and improper function to the created order -- hearts, lungs, brains, sexes, which darwinism of course erases -- if nothing is intended there can be no intended function."

Well I've very sorry but somebody forgot to tell the FACTS, because the FACTS blatantly contradict your delusional sense of order.

And yes the FACTS OF EVOLUTION (which the Theory of Evolution explains, as any good scientific theory should) likewise contradict your delusional sense of order.

RkBall said...

Having now been called a bigot twice, I shall no longer be responding to your posts.

xn--hrfn-woa said...

"In the ten commandments, it violates the command against adultery (broadly interpreted to cover all sexual infractions and because it is an adulteration of human sexuality)..."

Really? Because I found a source that cites Rashi (aka Shlomo Yitzhaki, the 'father' of Talmudic commentaries) as defining it as sexual intercourse between a man and a married woman who is not his wife. Admittedly, I have not tracked down the original source.

The view that the commandment against adultery does not include homosexuality (nor prostitution) is agreed to by this rabinical source:

http://www.rashiyomi.com/tf5_59a.htm

Who is your source, and is it a reliably scholarly?

xn--hrfn-woa said...

"And they are just as welcome, upon repentance, in the kingdom of God as the rest of us."

Why on earth should they 'repent' for acting the way that God made them (and made many black swans, gulls, mallards, etc, etc)? If God didn't want homosexuality to exist, then surely He could have created a world without homosexual inclinations.

xn--hrfn-woa said...

"Having now been called a bigot twice, I shall no longer be responding to your posts."

Given your pervasive, and pervasively unsubstantiated, accusations of people being "leftist" and "delusional", it is hilarious that you get all huffy about somebody calling you a "bigot" a couple of times.

This is especially true, as it it clear that your anti-gay bigotry has no basis in either scientific fact or Biblical exegesis.


Given that you routinely sidestep demands for substantiation of your (often bizarre) claims, I fail to see how your 'no longer responding' makes much material difference.

P@J said...

how to tell you have made your point, and run into Ball's cognitive dissonance:

"I shall no longer be responding to your posts."

Kudos to you, xn.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"