30 August 2014

EJ&T: Numbers 15 - Animal sacrifice, sinning on purpose, and putting fringes on your garments so you won't go a whoring

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Everyone must sacrifice animals to God.
  2. All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD ; as ye do, so he shall do. One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Numbers 15:13-16

  3. If you sin on purpose, you'll be cut off.
  4. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. Numbers 15:30-31

    But if one of you does wrong on purpose, whether Israelite or foreigner, you have sinned against me by disobeying my laws. You will be sent away and will no longer live among the people of Israel. Numbers 15:30-31 (Contemporary English Version)

  5. Put fringes on your garments to remind you not to go a whoring.
  6. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. Numbers 15:37-40

27 August 2014

The Elijah Challenge - Which god is greater, Allah or the god of the Bible?

Finally a Bible-believing Christian has issued the Elijah challenge to the Bible-god's only major rival -- Allah!

The Reverend Bill Keller has challenged the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to a prayer/animal sacrifice contest, modeled after Isaiah's challenge to the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18.

Here is Mr. Keller's youtube challenge. (You can skip the preaching by going to 7:50, where the challenge begins.)

Mr. al-Baghdadi, ... I have a challenge for you. If you read in the Bible in the book of First Kings, chapter 18, verse 16 through 39, you'll read about the God of the Bible's prophet Elijah, who challenged the prophets of Baal to see whose god would answer by fire. Like the prophets of Baal, you also follow an imaginary, false god you call Allah. I serve the god of the Bible, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the great "I am", the creator of the universe and all that is in it.

I will come to Iraq, Syria, any location you desire. We will each take an unblemished animal, cut that animal into pieces, put those pieces on wood, but not set fire to the wood. Once prepared, you have one hour's time to call on Allah to rain down fire on your offering. If at the end of that hour, Allah has still not answered your pleas, I will call upon the one true god of the Bible, Jehovah-jireh; not to just bring down fire on my offering, but yours as well.

Mr. al-Baghdadi, if your god Allah does not answer you and my god answers my pleas, you will resign as the leader of ISIS. You will retire from your life of terror. You will encourage your followers to live in peace and I will be free to return to the United States. If your god Allah answers your pleas by fire and my god does not, I will renounce the Christian faith and you're free to kill me or do whatever your like. ...

The world will be watching with great anticipation to see whose god is truly god, the god of Islam or the god of the Bible....

Well that would be fun to watch, now wouldn't it?

Still, I think al-Baghdadi has the advantage here. Christians are a bit out of practice on animal sacrifice, whereas Muslims sacrifice hundreds of millions each year at Eid al-Adha.

But did you notice that Mr. Keller changed the 1 Kings 18 contest rules? If al-Baghdadi wins, he can kill Mr. Keller; if Mr. Keller wins, al-Baghdadi gets to go free (after renouncing his life of terror). That's not what happened in the Bible. Here's what Elijah told his followers to do after he won the prayer/animal sacrifice contest:

Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. 1 Kings 18:40

Mr. Keller ended his reference to 1 Kings 18 with verse 39 because he is embarrassed by the next verse, in which Elijah slaughters the 450 prophets of Baal without giving them the option of converting, as even al-Baghdadi probably would do. Because neither contestants is as cruel as Elijah or the god of the Bible.

Still, the whole thing would be fun to watch! I'm betting that neither god could spontaneously combust the bloody mess of animal parts. What would happen then?

Maybe they could settle it all by arm wrestling. Or maybe they'd admit to themselves and their followers that neither of their gods exists.

In any case, I'm hoping al-Baghdadi takes him up on it, and the whole thing is shown on youtube. Wouldn't that be great?

23 August 2014

EJ&T: Numbers 10 - Two silver trumpets

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Make two silver trumpets to call people to meetings.
  2. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly. Numbers 10:1-2

  3. Only the descendants of Aaron can blow the trumpets.
  4. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. Numbers 10:8

  5. When you go to war, blow the trumpets to remind God to save you from your enemies.
  6. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Numbers 10:9

  7. Blow the trumpets on solemn days, at the beginning of every month, and when you make burnt and peace offerings to remind you who God is.
  8. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. Numbers 10:10

EJ&T: Numbers 9 - Passover rules for travelers and unclean people

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Celebrate Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month.
  2. And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it. Numbers 9:1-3

  3. Rules for those who have recently touched a dead body or are traveling during the Passover
  4. If you are unclean at the time of Passover because you have recently touched a dead body, then you are not allowed to celebrate Passover with the clean people. Unclean people must wait a month to observe Passover. Unclean Passover is observed on the fourteenth day of the second month. Those who are traveling during the Passover are to observe Passover with the unclean people.

    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD. The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it. Numbers 9:9-11

  5. If are clean and not traveling and refuse to celebrate Passover, you will be "cut off" from your people.
  6. But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin. Numbers 9:13

  7. God changes his mind about whether or not strangers can keep the Passover.
  8. In Commandment 21, God said that strangers can't observe the Passover, but here he changes his mind.
    And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land. Numbers 9:14

22 August 2014

EJ&T: Numbers 8: Rules for Levites (Shaving "all their flesh" and mandatory retirement at fifty)

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. How to become a Levite
  2. First you must get clean. Here's how to do that:
    • Get sprinkled with water
    • Shave off every hair on your body
    • Wash your clothes
    And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. Numbers 8:5-7
    Next, find a young bull for a meat offering, along with some flour mixed with oil; and another young bull for a sin offering.
    Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering. Numbers 8:8
    Then go to the tabernacle and ask everyone to put their hands on you, while they offer you to the Lord.
    And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord. Numbers 8:9-11
    Next, you and your fellow Levites put your hands on the heads of the young bulls and kill them; one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.
    And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites. Numbers 8:12
    This ceremony will show everyone that you and the other Levites belong to the Lord. [After God killed every Egyptian firstborn, he decided to make every firstborn Israelite his own, but he changed his mind about that a while back (See Commandment #330) when he replaced every firstborn Israelite with the Levites. That way God won't have to kill all the Israelites when they come to the sanctuary.]
    And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary. Numbers 8:13-19

  3. The working age for Levites is 25 to 50.
  4. God set a mandatory retirement system for Levites. They must retire when they are fifty years old.
    And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge. Numbers 8:23-26