Tuesday 9 April 2013

Why Christians may eat shellfish but may not have sex outside marriage

An argument frequently advanced by those attempting to defend homosexual practice is that Christians ‘cherry pick’ the commands in the Bible – that is, they chose to emphasise some commands while ignoring others.

The Old Testament may forbid homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:2; 20:13) but it also forbids eating seafood without fins and scales (Leviticus 11:9-12; Deuteronomy 14:9, 10).

So how can Christians then justify upholding laws on sexual morality whilst at the same time ignoring the food laws from the very same books of the Bible? Why may they eat shellfish but not be allowed to have sex outside marriage? Isn’t this inconsistent and hypocritical?

Didn’t Jesus himself say that ‘anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven’? (Matthew 5:19)

The answer to this question lies in an understanding of biblical covenants.

A covenant is a binding solemn agreement made between two parties. It generally leaves each with obligations. But it holds only between the parties involved.

There are a number of biblical covenants: Noahic, Abrahamic, Sinaitic (Old), Davidic and New.

Under the Noahic covenant, which God made with all living human beings (Genesis 9:8-17), people were able to eat anything:

‘Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything’ (Genesis 9:3).

But under the Sinaitic (Old) Covenant, which God made with the nation of Israel, people were able to eat certain foods, but not others. These are listed in detail in Leviticus 11:1-47 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21).

However these laws were applicable only to the nation of Israel and were intended to set them apart from other races.

The Old (Sinaitic) Covenant was made after Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and involved laws, priests (all of whom were members of the tribe of Levi) and a sacrificial system based on animal sacrifice. It was aimed at protecting Israel from God’s wrath and judgement.

The nation of Israel, however, was unable to keep the requirements of the Old Covenant, meaning that a New Covenant was necessary, as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah:

‘“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.“I will put my law in their mind and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”’ (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Jesus said that he had come to fulfil the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44). He would establish this new covenant with new laws, with himself as high priest based on his own sacrificial death on the cross. 

This new covenant would completely deal with sin (Hebrews 10:1-18) and protect all those who put their faith in him from God’s wrath and judgement (See more on this here).

‘In the same way, after the supper (Jesus) took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”’ (Luke 22:20). ‘…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10)

People would come under the protection of this new covenant, not by virtue of belonging to the nation of Israel, but through faith in Christ. In fact the function of the Old Testament Law (Sinaitic covenant) was to point to Christ as its fulfilment.

‘So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile…’ (Galatians 3:24-28)

The Apostle Paul makes this very clear in saying:

‘I myself am not under the law… though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law’ (1 Corinthians 9:20, 21)

So what then did Christ say about foods? He pronounced all foods clean for his followers to eat:

‘ “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?  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.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:18-23)

Jesus was making that point that under the new covenant God required purity of the heart. Internal thoughts and attitudes were as important as external actions.  Consistent with this God commanded the apostle Peter to eat food that was forbidden under the Old Covenant:

‘Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:13-15)

Similarly the apostle Paul taught that all foods were admissible under the New Covenant:

‘(hypocritical liars)… order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.’ (1 Timothy 4:2-5)

So Christians can eat anything, including shellfish.

But what about sex?

The Bible, consistently throughout, teaches that sex is only permissible within a marriage between a man and a woman. This principle is first laid down during the creation narrative:

‘a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24)

It is upheld in the Old Covenant and in great detail every sexual act outside this pattern is listed as off limits in Leviticus 18 and 20.

Jesus upholds the same principle in his teaching on marriage (Matthew 19:1-12) and its importance is emphasised to Gentile Christians (Acts 15:19,20) and repeatedly emphasised in the teaching of the apostles.

‘It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable,  not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;  and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)

In fact in the very last book of the Bible we are told that the unrepentant ‘sexually immoral’ will not enter heaven (Revelation 21:8, 22:15)

I have unpacked this teaching on sexual morality in much more detail here and here.

So Christians can eat shellfish, in fact they can eat all foods, but they cannot have sex outside marriage. And that includes homosexual sex.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to write all of this. It's a very good explanation. I plan to share it, and I hope others will, too.

  2. This is sooooooo funny!

    For all those that are out of the loop, apparently Saunders took one tiny part of my argument in the previous post and made a whole new post out of it!

    I focused solely on eating shellfish vs. homosexuality so that my argument is concise and focused, but that doesn't mean my ONLY beef is with shellfish! It was an example, not the gist of the argument.

    Besides, this whole "covenant" thing that's you're talking about is a bunch of horse doodoo. You're well versed in the "history" of the Bible and the "intricacies" of it which is why you can "justify" your inconsistency and cherry-picking. If I ask a regular Christian person why he eats shellfish but hates homosexuality, he'll tell me precisely jack diddly squat, proving that they're not "disobeying" these laws because they know they're allowed to disobey, but that they're just a bunch of cherry-picking hypocrites. It's all about the intention, you see.

    So Mr. Author, as I wrote in my reply comment in the previous post, here are the other laws I'm expecting excuses for. Go ahead, prove that you don't cherry pick (Even then, other people can point out their own beef with Bible laws and you can start making excuses for those as well!).

    1. Children who talk bad about their parents or are rebellious should be put to death (usually by their parents themselves).
    2. Eating fat or blood is prohibited.
    3. Planting two (or more) kinds of crops in one field is prohibited.
    4. Wearing clothes made out of two (or more) kinds of material is prohibited.
    5. A man who beats his slave will not be punished if the slave does not die (pro-slavery?).
    6. Girls who are not virgins on their wedding day should be killed.
    7. Women on their menstrual periods should live outside the home in a tent.
    8. Rapists must pay the father and marry the girls they rape (funnily (or not. Not really) the girls have no choice in the matter).
    9. Men with flaws (e.g. blind, disabled, short, scarred, etc.) cannot approach the altar.
    10. Anybody who works on the Sabbath day should be put to death.
    11. After menstruation, women should offer the lord a burnt and a sin offering for the "sin of having menstruation."
    12. Women, after childbirth, will be unclean for 7 days after giving birth to a baby boy and 2 weeks after giving birth to a baby girl (sexist much?) and after 33 and 66 days respectively, she must offer a burnt and sin offering to be purified from the "sin of giving birth."
    13. Men should not cut off the hair on the sides of their head or trim their beards.
    14. People of other faiths should be killed.
    15. And after all God's instructions to kill sinners? Thou shalt not kill (Except of course if God "instructed" it through the Bible laws because of course God wouldn't want to do his own dirty work).

    And just to avoid any accusations of fallacies, let me reiterate my point on why I (and many other people) am calling you out on your cherry-picking:

    If you believe and enforce one thing in this "divinely inspired" and "infallible" text, then you should believe and enforce all of it. Otherwise, concede that it may not be "divinely inspired" and "infallible" and quit using it to justify your bigotry.

    1. All of these 15 laws you have quoted are included in the 613 laws of the Sinaitic (Old) Covenant which God made with the nation of Israel after the Exodus (Exodus 19:3-6)and which was fulfilled in Christ when he died on the cross and established the New Covenant. Israel broke the Old Covenant.

      Christians (both of Jewish and Gentile origin) are not under Old Covenant Law but are under Christ's law. Read the article above more carefully.

    2. Christians do not "Cherry Pick" laws and commandments from the Bible.
      They follow the teachings of Christ, that's why they are called CHRISTIANS!

      The New Testament specifically teaches against "enforcing" the commandments of the Biblical law on other people, which really would be bigotry.

    3. "If a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die." But unto the damsel you shall do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death" Deut 22:25-26
      Renai you are cherry-picking verses to make out God allows rape when the preceding verse from the one you mis-quote shows that is totally untrue.
      Every society has laws. The laws on the people of Israel were very harsh, but these people chose to follow Moses because they saw the power of God. You can't understand the bible because you don't believe parts like the miraculous plagues that forced Pharoah to release the Israelites or the parting of the Red Sea. Or that when the Israelites left Egypt no-one was sick or disabled.
      However the old covenant includes dietary laws which are no longer relevant to New Testament Christians.
      But the biblical model of one man and one woman marrying precedes the Israelite law and is for all mankind.
      The very nature of homosexual acts (which I myself got involved in) are against God's design and anyone can see that from the way our bodies work.
      But God is not wanting to condemn anyone past or present and sent Jesus to pay the price of all sin. Showing Himself just and loving. You need to look at Jesus.
      Peter M.

    4. Others here have observed where Renai Chan goes wrong, and I will not repeat their efforts. However, it's worth noting how ignorant and mean-spirited this Chan must be.

      Like all hecklers who use the Old Testament as the basis for their vicious noise, Chan knows the Old Testament at a depth of perhaps 1 inch, if that. He has done precisely what he accuses others of doing -- he's cherry-picked examples of OT rules that can be made to sound absurd or overbearing out of context. Then he utterly misrepresents the doctrine of inerrancy. But what does he care? Accuracy is the last thing on the planet that a person like this actually wants.

      When he meets a Christian believer whose depth of understanding is no greater than is own, he asserts that they are cherry-picking. But "cherry-picking" is not by any means the most likely explanation. Most of those people don't know enough Old Testament to cherry-pick it; they simply believe what they are taught in church.

      Their confidence in their teachers is fully justified by the fact that well-informed Christians can explain the different treatments of different passages easily. This explanation, however, Chan ignores. This is the real difference between Chan and an uneducated Christian; the uneducated Christian learns from better-educated Christians, while Chan chants his (her?) ignorance at the top of his voice, in the face of wisdom. He simply dismisses their explanation as an excuse (without giving a single reason why "excuse" fits better than "sound explanation,") then repeats the lie he told about the less-informed believers.

      Wow. What an intellectual giant.

      What can we say about a person who uses something about which he knows nothing to criticize others who know just as little about that thing -- but deliberately ignores those who are expert on the subject? "Hypocrite" barely scratches the surface of the evil we're looking at here. It's deliberate ignorance, driven by the intent to smear and discredit.

      He's got a point about one thing, though: it's all about the intention. Maybe, Mr. (Ms?) Chan, you should re-examine your own.

    5. Why do so many Active Homosexuals try and put forward the Bible as a legitimate case for them committing acts of un-natural Abomination .You dont need the to look at the Bible to know your doing wrong . Young or so called young people come on our T.V. screens and preach of so called Homosexual love . Have a good look at their face when they talk of this.Most of them have aged far beyond their years because of the lifestyle they follow . The new program on Channel 4 called the Sex Clinic highlights this although not intentionally .Its just the nature of the beast .

    6. So let me get this straight... the god who created every human being, every animal, all of the mountains, forests, jungles, deserts, oceans, rivers, seas, the entire Earth, the moon, the sun, all of the planets in our solar system with their moons, the asteroid belt, all of the comets, the Oort cloud outside the solar system, the 100,000 light year in diameter Milky Way galaxy with it's 400 billion stars and all of their planets, all of the other 200 billion galaxies in the universe and their billions of stars with billions of planets.............REALLY, REALLY cares about what people do with their pee-pees?

      Please tell me more about this super all-mighty and loving god of yours and why I should give a shit!

    7. If Christians follow Christ, then note that he did not say anything bad about homosexuality. So don't quote the old testament and then claim you only follow the new

    8. While Jesus doesn't explicitly state that homosexuality is negative, he reaffirms the Father's original design for marriage between a man and a woman as illustrated in Genesis when he teaches about divorce in Matthew 19:5.

      A number of the apostles also discussed the immorality of homosexuality as well, and we consider these writings as inspired by the Holy Spirit, which given the triune nature of God, means the words reflect Jesus' disagreement with homosexuality as well.

    9. I don't recall Jesus ever talking about and condemning rape. Does that mean rape is not wrong?

  3. Peter, thanks for putting it forward so clearly. As Lisa has said above, it is an excellent reference to use.

  4. Some persons – we know not who – wrote – we know not when, but certainly long after the time at which the events which they recount are alleged to have taken place – on some authority – we know not what – various documents which were eventually collated to form what is now generally referred to as the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). This comprises a series of ancient Jewish legends and a primitive and semi-barbarous moral code, known as the “Mosaic Law” because the unknown authors claim – although they do not reveal how they came by their information – that it was dictated by the Hebrew deity Yahweh to a man named Moses. As for this Moses, we wot not that he ever existed, but even if he did exist, he certainly did not write the Pentateuch.
    Although some of the regulations in the so-called Mosaic Law can be classified under such descriptive headings as “dietary”, “ceremonial” and “civil”, they are clearly not formulated as MERELY dietary, ceremonial or civil laws AS DISTINCT FROM moral laws, any more than, for example, the prohibitions of stealing are merely “property” laws as distinct from moral laws. There is not the slightest indication anywhere in the Pentateuch that any of its numerous laws are intended to be of temporary or limited application, or are in special categories making them less morally binding than others. On the contrary, any such factitious differentiation is precluded by the text itself. ALL the laws are set forth as solemn commands of Yahweh; the Israelites are repeatedly reminded of their rigorous obligation to obey ALL of them (e.g. Lev. 19:37; Lev. 20:22; Deut. 11:8, 32; Deut.26:18); and they are threatened that Yahweh will inflict the most severe and gruesome punishments on them if they do not observe EACH ONE of his commandments (Lev. 26:14–45; Deut. 28:15–68). They are also explicitly warned against tampering with the Law by either adding to it or subtracting from it (Deut. 4:2).
    The law forbidding sex with a woman who is having her monthly period (Lev. 18:19), which even most biblical fundamentalists nowadays feel perfectly free to ignore, is in the very same section of the Levitical “Holiness Code” as the law forbidding men to have sex with men (Lev. 18:22), being sandwiched between the law against taking a woman and her sister into your harem at the same time and that against giving your marriage bed to your neighbour’s wife. The command “You must love your neighbour as yourself. I am Yahweh” (Lev. 19:18) is followed immediately by “You must keep my laws. You are not to mate your cattle with those of another kind; you are not to sow two kinds of grain in your field; you are not to wear a garment made from two kinds of fabric” (Lev. 19:19). “You are not to tattoo yourselves, I am Yahweh” (Lev. 19:28) is followed immediately by “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute” (Lev. 19:29).
    Morality does not depend on the Mosaic Law or on any other text. As the Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert wrote, “People knew about good and evil long before there was a Bible, just as they had known for a long time about carpentry and building ships.” The late Robert G. Ingersoll was undoubtedly correct when he wrote, “Many of the regulations found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are good. Many are absurd and cruel.” He asks, “Is it not far better and wiser to say that the Pentateuch – while containing some good laws, some truths, some wise and useful things – is, after all, deformed and blackened by the savagery of its time? Is it not far better and wiser to take the good and throw the bad away?” To these very reasonable questions there can surely be only one reasonable answer: “Yes, it is.”

    1. The 613 laws of the Sinaitic (Old) Covenant which God made with the nation of Israel after the Exodus (Exodus 19:3-6) through Moses I agree need to be taken as a whole.

      The main function of the Old Covenant was to point forward to Christ and the Law (the Pentateuch) and Prophets as I have argued above were fulfilled in Christ.

      Israel broke the Old Covenant which is not (and was never) binding on Christians. They are now under 'Christ's law'.

    2. Your ideas about who wrote the Pentateuch are common today, but misled. The JEPD hypothesis is full of holes and inconsistencies. They really are just arbitrary assignments of authorship, with arbitrary distinctions. There is much to recommend a single author (Moses) or small set of authors (scribes in or directly after Moses' time)for the authorship of the Pentateuch.

      I'd recommend the book "Who Really Wrote the Bible" by Eyal Rav-Noy to get a good start on dissecting the issues with the JEPD hypothesis.


    3. All I can say is, "Wow, that's some powerfully silly ignorance you're spouting, there, son."

      Let's start here: You wrote, "There is not the slightest indication anywhere in the Pentateuch that any of its numerous laws are intended to be of temporary or limited application,"

      I have to ask: have you even read the Pentateuch ONCE???

      You have this exactly backwards: there is not the slightest indication from the beginning of Exodus forward that any of its numerous laws are intended to be applied anywhere but to the nation of Israel. If you have any doubt about this, ask some Jewish theologian or Rabbi whether the laws of Moses apply to gentiles or not.

      As to the distinction between ceremony and morality, do you really think that the later writings of the prophets' about these things are irrelevant? It's not just modern interpreters who draw those distinctions, you know; it's the Hebrew prophets themselves who do so, and then the Christian apostles after them.

      And of course, it's these same prophets and apostles whose writings make it appropriate to extend the laws directed only at the nation of Israel, to apply their moral core to the rest of mankind. So you can't dismiss them without refuting your own argument. Oops.

      Next, let's go here:

      "Morality does not depend on the Mosaic Law or on any other text. As the Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert wrote, “People knew about good and evil long before there was a Bible, just as they had known for a long time about carpentry and building ships.”"

      No kidding, Sherlock. Who EVER said that morality depends on the Mosaic law? Neither Jewish nor Christian theology makes any such claim; it's the claim of uninformed pew-sitters who barely know enough Old Testament theology to get themselves into trouble. Both Jewish and Christian theologians would say exactly what you said: that humans are born with a conscience, and know innately the laws of God. Why didn't you know this?

      Finally, we have several paragraphs of this sort of drivel:

      "Some persons – we know not who – wrote – we know not when, but certainly long after the time at which the events which they recount are alleged to have taken place – on some authority – we know not what – various documents which were eventually collated ..."

      ...blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...

      If you don't have the wit to read any of the sound analysis of the Egyptian loan-words, the ancient Hebraic forms, the use of Ancient Near East legal document forms that occurred only during the periods being discussed, the accurate descriptions of place names that later writers would not have known, and so forth, I'm certainly not going to try to recite them for you. The wealth of knowledge supporting the claims of Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is great. You may debate it if you like; but if you simply dismiss it as non-existent or definitively refuted, you discredit only yourself. The best distillation of this knowledge that is available to the public, so far as I know, is online at christianthinktank.com. I would start with his link under the title, "The Making of the OT/Tanach," which you can get to at http://www.christianthinktank.com/aecot.html.


    4. Again i say to you .No one is asking or telling you what or what not to do -Not in my part of the World anyhow -Please just keep your filthy habits and practices to yourself and to your Homosexual Community .

  5. Many thanks Peter. A very good explanation, as usual.

  6. Depends what you mean by marriage - for years people didn't marry in terms of a ceremony and formal commitment.

    1. I take a creation ordinance definition (Genesis 2:24) as upheld by Jesus Christ himself (Matthew 19:4-6) - one man, one woman, for life.

  7. Thank you Peter, this is an argument used often by atheists, it is a tired argument, put forward by people who don't want to come into the light as they may be revealed for what they are

  8. See also this helpful piece by Tim Keller - http://bit.ly/Kgb4Op

  9. There is an interesting further trail of comment on this article here - http://bit.ly/YkOK2A

  10. Great post. Very interesting.

  11. Peter, you weren't extravagant, or unfair on your enraged opponent, to simplify as you did his critique, and then to devote an entire blog post to giving what even that use of this medium only allows to be a pat answer, albeit one to be treasured.

    We need the whole bible, and more gifting besides that we aren't born with, to understand the whole counsel of God, recorded in the bible. Especially so the complicated interplay between

    (1) God's proving in history that religiosity wasn't the answer to our need at all, by (dare I say?) almost parodying "religion" in Leviticus, with an admixture of common sense and bizarre laws, which have symbolic meanings

    (2) faith in a divine saviour (known or unknown) who obeyed the whole absurd caboodle to the letter, performed miracles, and was unpopular with the religious; and

    (3) our natural, flawed, but not wholly useless, sense of justice and morality,

    takes a lot more explaining than you could possibly have fitted into my attention span, or that of Renai Chan.

    A noble effort, ignobly disdained, by a certain angry man who needs to start seeking, if he wants to find.

  12. Aren't you taking Matthew 5:17 completely out of context?

    Jesus says (quite explicitly) he did not come to replace the Sinaitic Law. In fact he goes on to say that "18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." The Pharisees were practically the Jewish hall monitors of ensuring each of the 613 laws was followed to the letter, and Jesus himself said we can't get into heaven without being as righteous as them!

    Symbolism of Acts 10 aside, you raise a pretty good argument for eating our bacon and shellfish. But aren't we still "cherrypicking" from the other 600+, as Renai Chan points out? How can we completely throw out the Old Covenant if Jesus himself asked that we follow it "until heaven and earth pass away"?

    1. It is not taking Matthew 5:17 out of context at all. It is very much in context, but you must read it with a knowledge that is deeper than just "surface" reading of what it "seems" to say. You must understand the setting, the audience, the original words and meanings. Read some commentaries and it will help you begin to grasp a little further with all of scripture. Taken from the Verse-by-Verse Commentary by Dr. Grant C. Richison....Jesus did not come to abolish Old Testament teachings but to “fulfill them.” He fulfilled them with both His person as the Messiah and His teaching about the kingdom. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial laws that typified the coming antitype. He did not offer a competitive system to the Old Testament but established it.

      There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, Ro 8:1-3

      PRINCIPLE: Jesus’ death fulfilled all the demands of the Law.

      APPLICATION: Jesus took the curse of the Law for us. His death was a fulfillment of the Law. Jesus’ death rent the veil of the temple to open the way into God’s very presence

      Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh… Heb 10:19-20

      But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Eph 2:13

      Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)… Ga 3:13

      Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) and instituted a New Covenant. He fulfilled types (the illustration) by becoming the antitype (the reality).

      For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Ro 10:4

      Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Ga 3:24-26

      The following is Dr. Richison's responses to two readers... the “law” here is the Bible, not Jewish laws. The laws of Israel were given to a national entity. Jesus offered Himself as the Messiah and offered Israel the kingdom. Israel as a nation turned from Jesus as the Messiah and attributed His works to the Devil. Jesus then set up another institution called the church, which does not operate by the laws of the nation Israel (see the book of Galatians, for example). Thus, Jesus set up a whole new economy of grace versus the law.

    2. and...

      Jesus said that He “fulfilled” both the Law and the Prophets. There were three aspects to Jewish law: 1) ceremonial (ordinances–the spiritual code which was Old Testament Christology. The Tabernacle, Holy Days, Levitical Officers are included in this. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law, for example, as the Lamb of God or the Temple itself (the place of worship). The book of Hebrews argues that since the anti-type has come, there is no more need for a type (sacrificial lamb). 2) moral (commandments such as the Ten Commandments); the moral code never changes because morality is manifestation of the character of God which never changes, Jesus lived a perfect life in His humanity fulfilling the moral law. Since we are “in Him” we have perfectly fulfilled the moral law. 3) The judgments (the social code for the nation; these are questions of diet, taxation, divorce, marriage, etc). The judgments were social standards for living in the national economy of Israel. Jesus took all judgment upon Himself for our sin. He became a “curse” for us.

      Since Jesus fulfilled the law(Mt 5:17) by living perfectly under it, the believer is not under the law; Jesus made an end to the law for believers (Ro 10:4). The law cannot provide justification (Ga 2:16; Ro 3:20, 28; Ac 13:39; Phil 3:9). The law cannot “give life” (Ga 3:21). Only Jesus can do that (see my study of the book of Galatians).

      It is very important not to confuse God’s purpose for a national entity and God’s purpose for the church. These are two very different economies.

    3. "you must read it with a knowledge that is deeper than just "surface" reading of what it "seems" to say. You must understand the setting, the audience, the original words and meanings."

      Susan, I totally agree. And if people actually did that, they would understand why homosexuality is NOT a sin.

      Spend some time and educate yourselves.

  13. Thank you Peter. My understanding is the bible is to be read with the intellect and common sence God has given us. Some laws were given for those people at that time out of Gods wisdom and forknowledge that man would misinterpret and use his own selfish motives to execute those laws. God knew he would have to send his son for us to understand the whole purpose of his law ! When questioned on the law Jesus said love God and love each other sums up the whole of the law. Jesus also referred to Gods intention of one man one woman in a lifelong relationship being Gods design from creation. In obedience to Jesus first command to love God then it follows I will want to please him and come as close to his original design as possible. In obedience to the second command to love one another the ten commandments would not be needed if we did this as everything covered by it causes damage to another including adultery! Jesus showed us love is not condoning a do whatever pleasures you attitude it means sacrificially putting the needs of others above your own as he did ! not easy for us humans ? NO ! extremely hard ! and against our selfish nature. Nonsence to those who reject his teaching.
    Cherry picking I dont think so !

  14. Very good post. I think Renai Chan is deliberately misunderstanding it.

  15. Excellent post, Peter. However, I don't envy you in the "discussion" with those posting Biblically ignorant rants.

  16. I have good verses that can help the cause :D

    Ephesians 2:15 (Christ came)to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace.

    Hebrews 8:13 When the Lord talks about a new agreement, he means that the first one is out of date. And anything that is old and useless will soon disappear(Hope people don't rush to minsunderstanding)

    Hebrews 8:7 If the first agreement with God had been all right, there would not have been any need for another one.

     Heb 9:16 In fact, making an agreement of this kind is like writing a will. This is because the one who makes the will must die before it is of any use.
    Heb 9:17 In other words, a will doesn't go into effect as long as the one who made it is still alive.

    And to show food related covenants have been overidden

    1Ti 4:4 Everything God created is good. And if you give thanks, you may eat anything.
    1Ti 4:2 They will also be fooled by the false claims of liars whose consciences have lost all feeling. These liars
    1Ti 4:3 will forbid people to marry or to eat certain foods. But God created these foods to be eaten with thankful hearts by his followers who know the truth.

    Mat 15:11 The food that you put into your mouth doesn't make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean."
    Mat 15:12 Then his disciples came over to him and asked, "Do you know that you insulted the Pharisees by what you said?"

    Rom 14:2 Some people believe they can eat any kind of food, but those who have doubts eat only vegetables.
    Rom 14:3 Those who KNOW they can eat any kind of food must not feel that they are better than those who eat only vegetables. And those who eat only vegetables must not decide that those who eat all foods are wrong. God has accepted them.

    Col 2:16 Don't let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don't let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival.
    (these are declarations of the old covenant)

    1Co 8:9 Don't cause problems for someone with a weak conscience, just because you have the right to eat anything.
    1Co 8:8 But food doesn't bring us any closer to God. We are no worse off if we don't eat, and we are no better off if we do.

    Rom 14:20 Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you

    Mar 7:15 There is nothing people can put in their mouth that will make them wrong. People are made wrong by what comes from inside them."

  17. This article is nice and clearly explained. Thank you for your efforts to make this. God Bless you and more power!

  18. So without trying play the devils advocate. If the newer scripture has more credibility because its a newer version of the word of god, shouldn't the quran be the truest word of god?.

  19. Sorry Raff, If the quran were really the word of God your argument might have some weight, However the god portrayed in the quran is not tHe God of Abraham,Issac and Jacob, The Holy Bible was written over a period of several thousand years. Each part of the Bible compliments and corroborates the rest. No such claim can be made for the quran.

    1. No it does not, according to modern Christians the OT is irrelevent, obviously God was badly behaved, as he killed thousands and thousands of people...but wait Jesus was God? Confusing because in the OT he was killing people and getting them to stone their daughters if they were not virgins on marriage then suddenly he becomes the forgive all God.?
      He makes loads and loads of rules which suddenly no one has to obey any more conveniently. What a weird setup.
      We are always told God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow, evidently we were incorrectly told this

  20. Hi Raff.. At many times and in many ways, God spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets. In these last days He has spoken to us through a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He created the universe. (The Letter to the Hebrews 1:1, 2 TLV).. Jesus is the last word.. Also.. Mohammed scripture contains many fundamental contradictions with the New Testament and Jesus' teachings.. Islam and Christianity are two very different faiths - Islam rejects the Christian belief that Jesus is God.. Christians believe that Islam is a false teaching about God.. Hope that is some answer to your question? Cheers

  21. Context, setting, history, original word meanings and changes, they all must be taken into consideration. Neither God, nor Jesus ever said the word "homosexuality" and they never said it was "sexually immoral". Take some time and educate yourselves.


  22. Lets keep in mind that even the concept of 'marriage' was originally a pagan one. I know this is probably a fact most fundamentalists will seek to deny - but one wonders, why would God (in regards to sexual intercourse) care so much about whether or not two consenting adults have embraced once another in a pagan union. Much like birthdays, easter, christmas, the names of the days of the week, the design of most traditionalist churches, the concept of saints (and angels, and demons, and prophecies, and sins, and prayer), etc - marriage is just another concept formulated by the pagans, repackaged in christian wrapping.

    Keep true to your faith, speak with God. A true disciple of any kind does not need a book to teach that which the divine speaks into the heart.

  23. Good article and agree with the principles but you may leave many Christians the impression that this"eating anything"part applies to health.Technically we can but this doesn't mean it's recommended to eat unhealthy and unsafe foods like a lot of seafoods,junk food ,ets.to respect our "temple".Just for the record.I don't think you intended this but eating today is very unhealthy though not as vital as our spiritual lives.


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