Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oddballs: Part One – No Oddballs Allowed (A Brief Description of Old Testament Rules)

The Old Testament is composed of many types of writing and various topics such as prophecy and laws (The Law). Many of the laws separate the Jews from the Gentiles (all other races) and Pagans (non Jewish). These laws include not eating certain things and determine who can sit where in church. There are many reasons that God may have given the specific laws that he did. Some of these reasons include the health benefits such as avoiding certain diseases and overall bodily health (the Jews were the healthiest people group in the world in Bible times). The laws may have also prevented people from getting mistaken for Pagans because some Pagan rituals involve eating certain animals.

In Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace there is a chapter titled “No Oddballs Allowed.” This chapter proposes that the animals that the Jewish people could not eat were the animals that are different i.e. one cant eat land animals that don’t walk on 4 legs or birds that don’t fly. In addition to not eating these animals, the Jews could not sacrifice the imperfect animals to God. God could only be surrounded by the best and the same went for his Jewish followers.

In addition, this idea seems to explain how people were treated and interacted. The ones that were not perfect were not “clean” the same as the animals. The Jewish men prayed daily, thanking God “who had not made them Gentiles, who had not made them slaves, and who had not made them women.” Even these Jewish males could not commune with God directly even though they were toward the top of the spectrum. Only the one person (a priest) a year could talk to God by entering the Holy of Holy’s, the room that God lived in.

Philip Yancey's website

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