Updated: Jun 15, 2019
Search the scriptures [Old Testament]; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)
Luke 24:44-49 KJV
(44) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
(45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
(46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
(47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
(48) And ye are witnesses of these things.
(49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
A man said that he became an atheist after he read or studied the Bible for over 25 years. He became an atheist after he was left with many unanswered questions. In my case, it is the contrary as I find answers to all my questions in the Bible, which lead me to come to the conclusion that the book serves as the unique reference for all individuals who are honestly seeking God in that its rules have not changed or shifted over time (Matthew 5:17-18). The only crux of or in the Bible remains that, even though it is written in simple language, not all minds can grasp it (). The understanding of the Bible requires a good heart and divine intervention ().
What is the Bible?
The Bible contains two canons which we, in the Christian world, refer to as the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains the Torah which the New Testament calls 'the Law' , The Prophets, the Psalms, and the Historical books et cetera. The New Testament contains the Gospel writings and various epistles.
What is the difference between The Old Testament and the New Testament?
The names should be self-explanatory except that both are misleading. As stated earlier, the Old Testament is the Jewish Canon. The New Testament is the lamp to the Old Testament, a collection of writings that sheds light on the Old Testament. In other words, the New Testament narrates the fulfillment of the Old Testament and, as such, explains the Old Testament and serves as a guide to doctrines that we keep and the ones that we discard because they have been fulfilled or were to be kept only locally in the Temple in Jerusalem, Israel. The role of the New Testament does not condone the cherry-picking which Christians are famous for, that is, choosing what they like and rejecting what does not fit their theology or their culture. based on the declarations of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5:17-18, the New Testament does not supersede the Old Testament .
Matthew 5:17-18 LITV
Do not think that I came to annul the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to annul, but to fulfill. (18) Truly I say to you, Until the heaven and the earth pass away, in no way shall one iota or one point pass away from the Law[Torah] until all comes to pass.
As you have read, the Old Testament, the Torah, the Law, does not change until the end or as long as there are heavens and earth. Somewhere else, in Luke 16:17,it is written that it easier for the heavens and the earth to vanish or to disappear than a dot on an 'i' to change in the Law.
Luke 16:17 LITV
But it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass away than one point of the Law to fail.
Therefore, when you open the pages of the Old Testament, keep in mind that nothing in it has changed, that is, you can use the Old Testament to navigate through life as a sure guide, even if the culture where you live tells you to behave contrary to its teachings, doctrines, or commands.
Besides, only in the Torah (the Law),we find the record of the rules which God expects mankind to follow in order to behave in righteousness before Him and towards his fellow human beings. Again, for all the generations of the past and of the future, the rules on behavior remain the same, unless there would be a clear demarcation expressed by Jesus states otherwise. For example, Jesus abolish the 'eye for eye and tooth for tooth' ordinance in Matthew 5:38:
Deuteronomy 19:21 LITV
And your eye shall not pity; life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Matthew 5:38-48 LITV
You have heard that it was said: "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;" Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21 (39) but I say to you, Do not resist the evil; but whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also. (40) And to him desiring to sue you, and to take your tunic, allow him also to have the coat. (41) And whoever shall compel you to go one mile, go two with him. (42) He asking you to give, and he wishing to borrow from you, do not turn away. (43) You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor" and hate your enemy; Lev. 19:18 (44) but I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you; and pray for those abusing and persecuting you, (45) so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. Because He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. (46) For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? (47) And if you only greet your brothers, what exceptional thing do you do? Do not the tax-collectors do so? (48) Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
The Torah or the Old Testament was prophesied to [spread] outside of Israel in Micah 4:2 and Isaiah 2:3. Jesus fulfilled that prophecy when He commissioned the Apostles to go preach the Torah to the world. We read about the immutability of the Torah in
1 Peter 1:24-25 LITV
Because "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of men as the flower of grass; the grass was dried, and its flower fell out, (25) but the Word of the Lord remains forever." And this is the Word announced as gospel to you. Isaiah 40:6-8
Early, at the birth of the Christian movement by Jews, there was confusion about what part of the Torah (Law) the nations have to keep. Do we, former pagans, follow the whole Judaism including the ceremonial aspect of it like circumcision? The matter was settled as it is stipulated in Acts 15:19-20; 21:25.
The other ceremonial ordinances of Judaism which require the Temple building to performed, those we, obviously, are not required to keep, not only because they were fulfilled by Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:7) but also because they require that the Temple building and the priesthood be reestablished so that the priests can resume the animal sacrifices, ordinances that are mandated to be performed only in Israel, and specifically in Jerusalem.The Apostles came to the understanding that we did not have to be under that ceremonial aspect of the eternal Torah because, again, Jesus fulfilled them.
Acts 15:19-20 KJ3 For this reason I judge not to cause trouble to the ones from the nations turning to God, (20) but to write to them to hold back from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from the strangled thing, and blood.
Acts 21:25 KJ3 And as to the believing nations, we wrote, having judged them to observe no such thing, except to keep themselves from both idol sacrifice, and from the blood, and from a thing strangled, and from fornication.
What about the weird barbaric punishments we read about in the Law (Torah)? Are we still to stone those who break the Torah rules which call for death?
The death penalty recorded in the Torah have been decried by many who are seeking an excuse to reject the Torah or the Old Testament. However, we must understand that every other nation had their own barbaric means of carrying the death penalty.
Besides, Moses never commissioned the chosen people to export Judaism, to go wage wars and compel the other nations to comply with the Torah or be killed. The death penalty was to be carried only in Israel and it appears that it was not enforced equally as Jesus pointed out in John 8:10-11. The time had come for Jesus to abolish the capital punishments in John 8:10-11.
John 8:10-11 LITV
And Jesus bending back up, and having seen no one but the woman, He said to her, Woman, where are those, the accusers of you? Did not one give judgment against you? (11) And she said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I judge you. Go, and sin no more.
No matter what the argument may be to reject the Bible, the book remains the book that is still in force today, albeit without the capital punishments, which were a mean of punishment for the Jewish government to deter certain behaviors.
For example, capturing a fellow Israelite to sell him into slavery carries the death penalty as we read in
Exodus 21:16 LEB
And whoever kidnaps someone and sells him, or he is found in his possession, he will surely be put to death.
Deuteronomy 24:7 KJ3
If a man is found stealing a person of his brothers of the sons of Israel, and has dealt with him as a slave, and sold him, then that thief shall die. And you shall put away the evil from among you
1 Timothy 1:10 KJ3
for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and if any other thing is opposed to sound doctrine,
By the way, does the Bible condone slavery?
If we argue that slavery was prohibited only in Israel, we cannot argue for the suitability of any of the other forbiddances in the Bible, on the ground that the forbiddance was intended only for the Israelite.
If God delivered the Israelites from bondage and always remind them to be kind to others because they were aliens, slaves, how can it make sense to say that God condones slavery or that the Israelites were permitted to put others in bondage? To wit, consider the following biblical passages:
(Exodus 22:21 LEB) "'You will not mistreat an alien, and you will not oppress him, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
(Exodus 23:9 LEB) And you will not oppress an alien; you yourselves know the feelings of the alien, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus (19:33-34 LEB) And when an alien dwells with you in your land, you shall not oppress him. (34) The alien who is dwelling with you shall be like a native among you, and you shall love him like yourself, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.
(Leviticus 25:14 LEB) And when you sell something to your fellow citizen or you buy from your neighbor's hand, you must not oppress one another.
(Leviticus 25:17 LEB) And you must not oppress one another, but you shall revere your God, because I am Yahweh, your God.
(Deuteronomy 23:16 LEB) He shall reside with you in your midst in the place that he chooses in one of your towns wherever he pleases; you shall not oppress him.
(Jeremiah 7:6 LEB) you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, you do not shed innocent blood in this place, and you do not go after other gods to your harm,
(Jeremiah 22:3 LEB) Thus says Yahweh, "Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been seized from the hand of the oppressor. And you must not oppress the immigrant, the orphan, and the widow. And you must not shed innocent blood in this place.
(Ezekiel 22:29 LEB) They severely oppress the people of the land, and they committed robbery, and they mistreated the needy and the poor, and they oppressed the alien without justice.
(Zechariah 7:10 LEB) You must not oppress the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, and the needy. You must not devise evil in your heart against one another.'
So, even though some do claim that the Bible condones and promotes slavery, the stance of the Bible against capturing and selling into slavery and oppressing the aliens speaks volume against that claim. The meaning of the word translated into servant, bondage, slave is, thus, function of the mindset of the one discoursing upon the topic.
Every single universal rule of the Bible is intended for mankind as Moses is eternal. We cannot say that Moses prohibits slavery, adultery, bestiality, et cetera only in Israel but does not also condemn the practice of slavery, adultery, bestiality outside of Israel. The God of Moses did not intend His word to be applicable only to the Israelites (Isaiah 56, Micah 4:2, Isaiah 2:3, et cetera).
As we can be mislead in reading the holy texts, what should we be aware of, in exploring the holy texts?
Addition of words
Let us consider, the powerful misleading result of the addition of the word 'day' in Luke 24:1.
Whenever a word is added to a translation of the Bible, it is represented in italics or  parenthesis, most of the time, depending on the optics of the translators or publishers. The problem with that habit is that the added word can give a totally different meaning to the verse. Most people are not aware of that or do not care for that. Case and point, upon reading about the timing when the women went to the tomb of Jesus, when was Jesus risen? To the readers of the KJV (King James Version) Jesus was risen on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. to the readers of the Modern King James Version (MKJV), of the Literal Version (LITV), of the King James Literal Version (KJ3), Jesus was risen the first of the Sabbaths, which is a Saturday. Which one the day of resurrection would you agree with is function of your mindset. However, the correct and faithful translation to the Greek language is the Saturday resurrection that is correct. Depending on your mindset, if you are a fan of the KJV and if you stick to her theology, your Jesus resurrected on a Sunday. in the contrary, if you are seeking nothing but the truth in the Bible, you are compelled to come to realize that there was no Easter Sunday. Can you see the rift that the addition of the word 'day' causes between Judaism and Christianity? The addition of the word pits Judaism against Christianism. Some dismiss the importance of the actual day of the resurrection contending that the actual day does not matter but it is the actual resurrection that matters. However, the actual day of resurrection matters to Jesus because it is the culmination of the bet to prove that He is YHWH God to the faction of the Jews who did not believe in Him. Jesus betted that, as it was for the Prophet Jonah who spent 3 days and 3 nights inside the belly of the fish, so He will be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. Furthermore, Easter Sunday and Sunday worship instead of the Jesus's Saturday worship had been instituted on the basis of the Sunday resurrection day. The actual day of the resurrection cannot be a dismissive matter when it is the core foundation of Catholicism and the Protestantism of the Christians who follow Catholicism.
Jesus declared in Matthew 15:17-18 that the Old Testament doctrines can never change. How do we reconcile the Sunday worship with that declaration, as the Old Testament for millennia before Sunday worship was instituted teaches a Saturday worship or holy convocation? Where do you stand in that belief rift? The choice should not be difficult if you know that Sunday worship is supported by an erroneous translation with the addition of the word 'day' to the verse. Then, again, your mindset dictates your repentance grade.
TO BE CONTINUED.... beware of added words in the translations and its dire consequences, twisting the words