Leviticus 13 and 14 give God’s commands concerning leprosy. Leviticus 13:1-44 tells how it was diagnosed. A priest examined the skin of the person suspected of having leprosy and declared him clean or unclean on the basis of that examination. The next two verses describe how a person declared unclean was to live.
The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:45,46)
He was isolated and forbidden to have contact with those without leprosy.
Today the term “leprosy” is given to a disease called Hansen’s disease. A comparison of Hansen’s disease and biblical leprosy shows that they are not the same. Here is how the National Institute of Health describes Hansen’s disease.
Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is a rare bacterial infection that affects the skin, nerves and mucous membranes. After exposure, it may take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to develop features of the condition. Once present, common signs and symptoms include skin lesions; muscle weakness or paralysis; eye problems that may lead to blindness; nosebleeds; severe pain; and/or numbness in the hands, feet, arms and legs.
The Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman and that in God’s eyes a same sex “marriage” is not a marriage at all. This is simple and is something that anyone can easily understand. At least it would be simple if it weren’t for the current transgender movement. A transgender person is one who perceives himself to be of the opposite to his biological sex. Some transgenders go far as to have sex change surgery which makes them appear to be of the opposite sex. When one of these people decides to marry the question of what is a same sex marriage becomes unclear.
Suppose a man and a woman decide to marry. If one of them was born as a member of the opposite sex and had a sex change operation is their marriage legitimate or is it a same sex union?
Suppose two members of the same sex want to marry but one of them was born as a member of the opposite sex. Is their marriage a same sex marriage or do they have a right to get married according to God’s laws?
Each cell in the human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. One pair determines the sex of the individual. Each chromosome is either an x or a y chromosome. A person with two x chromosomes is female, while one with an x and a y is male. Sex change operations have no effect on a person’s chromosomes. If a same sex couple marries and one of them is transgender, they are technically of different genders, so the marriage is permissible, but the cisgender member of the marriage is engaging in sexual activity with a person who is outwardly of the same gender, so he is violating the prohibition against sexual involvement between members of the same sex.
The transgender movement has raised a lot of questions about sex and marriage that we didn’t need to think about in the past. I don’t know the answers to these questions but I believe Christians should be aware of them so we can find answers and be prepared when we encounter these situations in real life.
It is generally accepted that the earth’s climate is changing and that the greenhouse gases produced by the use of fossil fuels are responsible for much of this change. In 2015 a group of nations signed an agreement known as the Paris Accord in which they agreed to take steps to ease climate change. Earlier this year President Trump was criticized when the withdrew the United States from this agreement.
President Trump’s action was not as irresponsible as most people seem to think. There are many scientists who think that human actions aren’t responsible for climate change. You can read the arguments for both sides of this issue here: Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?
Both sides are based on the opinions of scientists who have studied the data extensively. For those who believe the Bible there is a third option. The Bible teaches that humans do affect the climate but not by burning fossil fuels. Read the rest of this entry
Every year around Christmas we see nativity scenes. The details of the scenes differ but all of them show the baby Jesus in a manger with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wise Men either standing or kneeling around him. These scenes serve a useful purpose by reminding everyone that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus. Unfortunately every nativity scene I have ever seen promotes an error. They show the Wise Men being present at the birth of Jesus. In fact they were nowhere near Bethlehem then and didn’t arrive until much later.
Here is Matthew’s description of the birth of Jesus.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)
He doesn’t give any details about the birth except to tell us that Mary was still a virgin.
Luke 2:1-20 gives a more detailed description of Jesus’s birth. Joseph and Mary were forced to go to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar and Jesus was born there and placed in a manger. An angel revealed to a group of shepherds that the Messiah had been born and they came to see him. Read the rest of this entry
There is disagreement as to whether Jesus was God. Some who deny his deity say that he never claimed to be God. The fact is Jesus said several times in the gospels that he was God.
If you begin reading the gospels, beginning with Matthew, you will come to a section known as the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7. He stated three times in this sermon that he was God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
He equated being persecuted for the sake of righteousness with being persecuted for his sake. Only God, the source of all righteousness, could make such a claim. Read the rest of this entry
Congress could end abortion without overturning Roe vs.Wade simply by passing a law stating that life begins at conception. The authority to do this is contained within the decision itself.
Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion by using the Constitution instead of amending it.
A simple majority vote in both houses of Congress is all that is needed to pass a Life at Conception Act as opposed to the two-thirds required to add a Constitutional amendment.
When the Supreme Court handed down its now-infamous Roe v. Wade decision, it did so based on a new, previously undefined “right of privacy” which it “discovered” in so-called “emanations” of “penumbrae” of the Constitution.
Of course, as constitutional law it was a disaster. But never once did the Supreme Court declare abortion itself to be a Constitutional right.
Instead the Supreme Court said:
“We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins . . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”
Then the High Court made a key admission:
“If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [i.e. “Roe” who sought the abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”
That’s exactly what a Life at Conception Act would do.
When Barack Obama was president it would have done no good to pass such an act because it would almost certainly have been vetoed. Now we have a president who is pro life and would probably sign it. The passage of this act would be a pro life victory. Read the rest of this entry
Some people get offended when Christians tell them what the Bible says about something and they sometimes they demand that we apologize. When someone responds in this way we should apologize.
Before you get mad at me and accuse me of selling out to the opposition I think you should look at what the word “apology” means. Here are two definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology
something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize :The book is an apology for capitalism.
When people demand that Christians apologize they generally have the first definition in mind. We should never apologize for the truth in this way. If we do this we are denying Jesus. Read the rest of this entry
While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the commands that God gave, the people became worried about whether or not he would return and they demanded that Aaron make gods to lead them.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf.
And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it.
And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. (Exodus 32:1-6)
There are a lot of people who claim to be prophets who speak for God. The Bible warns us that many of them are not true prophets and we are not to listen to them. But how can you tell who really is a prophet and who isn’t? The Bible answers this question.
And if you say in your heart, “How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?”— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)
God sent Jonah to prophesy to the people of Nineveh.
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4)
This is how the Ninevites responded.
And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3:5-10)
Jonah said Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days and it didn’t happen. Does this mean that Jonah was a false prophet? Read the rest of this entry
Jeremiah 39-43 describes Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem and the events that followed it. Most of the inhabitants of the land were taken to Babylon but some were left.
Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. (Jeremiah 39:10)
A man named Gedaliah was appointed governor. He was assassinated and, fearing reprisals by Nebuchadnezzar, the Jews planned to flee to Egypt. They first asked Jeremiah to find out what God wanted them to do.
And they went and stayed at Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.
Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us—that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.”
Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.”
Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 41:17 – 42:6)
We are commanded not to avenge ourselves but to leave all vengeance to God’s wrath.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
But just how do we leave vengeance to God? If what another person does to hurt us involves a violation of the law, there is a very easy way. Inform the police and press criminal charges against him. Here is what the Bible says about the role of government.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1-4)
Did you notice the last sentence? For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. When we ask the government to take action against someone who has hurt us we are not avenging ourselves but turning the matter over to God’s servant. Read the rest of this entry
Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles from Jerusalem who had been taken to Babylon, telling them how they were to live.
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. (Jeremiah 29:5-10)
Some people are rich and others are poor. That has always been true and always will be. Jesus himself said, “You always have the poor with you.” I wonder how many realize that even in Heaven there will be rich and poor.
Salvation is a free gift from God, not something we can earn by anything we do. But the goal of salvation isn’t just to get into Heaven.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
We are not saved by works but we are saved to do good works. Our salvation itself is a free gift but our works after salvation will be judged and rewarded. Read the rest of this entry
Psalm 115:5-7 describes some characteristics of idols, contrasting them with God.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
We all know that God sees and hears everything that happens and he has the ability to speak and act, but he has a sense of smell too. The first mention of it is found in Genesis 8:20-22. Read the rest of this entry