Saturday, May 30, 2009

Other laws

Besides the festivals there were some other regulations that God instituted. He had already established that there was a seven day week with one of the seven days being a Sabbath. Now he creates a seven year week with the seventh year being a Sabbath with the land being allowed to lie fallow for that year. Another Sabbath was that of the Jubilee year. After seven weeks of years (49) or seven sevens as it is sometimes referred to, there was a 50th Jubilee year at which time slaves were given their freedom, debts were forgiven, and property that was mortgaged reverted back to its owner. Lev. 25:1-17

Another regulation was the law concerning redeeming property. The Bible tells us that property, if it could not be redeemed by the person who sold or forfeited it, could be redeemed by a kinsman who could pay the price. Although the Bible does not specify this, there could also be conditions associated with the payment. This was the custom of the time. From historical records, we know that when a man lost his property, the judges prepared a document stating that the land had passed from the debtor to the one owed. This was not meant to be a permanent transfer. It was returned in the Year of Jubilee, however a relative who could meet the terms of the agreement could redeem it for the debtor. Originally the terms were put on two scrolls, one sealed, one left open so that all could read the terms. Later the terms were put on the inside, the scroll sealed and the terms put on the outside, possibly on the seals themselves. For each condition that had to be fulfilled, there would be a seal. Many people are under the misconception that scrolls were rolled up a ways, then sealed with one seal, then rolled and sealed again, etc. An examination of scrolls in Mid-East museums shows this to be untrue. They were rolled all the way then all the seals were applied on the outside in a row. For the property to be redeemed, if a person could not do it themselves, a kinsman had to present himself at the temple, show his ability to meet the conditions of the law and be able to pay the mortgage price. He then was given the sealed scroll. He would break each of the seals as he filled each term of the agreement and when the last seal was broken, the mortgage was invalidated and the property reverted back to the original owner, who could then do with it as he pleased. The reason this is important has to do with what happened in Genesis. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were the “owners” of the earth, as it had been given into their stewardship. When they sinned, they forfeited that right over to Satan as the earth was now cursed and given into his control. He is now the prince and power of the air. This is his dominion now, not ours. The mortgage price that had to be paid was a perfect blood sacrifice. Why blood? Why did there have to be blood involved? Because in their sin, Adam and Eve forfeited both our spiritual life and physical life. First they had to pay the punishment that God had stated, and that was physical death. Since as the Bible says, the life is in the blood, their blood was forfeit to God. But as blood is the source of life and Satan now was the owner of our lives and souls due to the sin nature with which all men are born, by right, Satan could demand our lives - our blood and our spirits. There had to be a substitute for God to spare our lives so that we could have a chance to choose Him over Satan and be saved. That is why God immediately instituted sacrifice, even though it was not sufficient to cover people’s sins and consequently had to be repeated over and over. Non-believers see the God of the O.T. as a cruel and bloodthirsty God because of the multitudes of sacrifices. It isn’t that God is bloodthirsty, it is that we forfeited our lives by disobedience. In actuality it is a blessing that God instituted, as now we can be redeemed instead of having to live eternally in a sinful state. Satan is bloodthirsty though. He would love our immediate death and the bloodier the better. I don’t think God liked to have to kill His beloved creatures to satisfy the blood requirement for our sins. It was simply the only temporary substitution He could provide to save us from the mess we brought on ourselves. Ultimately He had to provide the blood sacrifice Himself that was perfect and sufficient - a human sacrifice (as it was a human that sinned, not an animal - which is why animal sacrifices weren't sufficient) who was not guilty of sin, (and therefore His life and soul were not forfeit to Satan) as we all are. As we will see, this information about redeeming property is important to know when we get to Revelation.

It is necessary to cover a brief history of Israel for future reference. I forgot to include one Genesis story that is pertinent to the end times, so while I know you are familiar with it, I will include it here. During the time of Abraham, he and his nephew Lot, who was living with him, came to a place where the size of their herds required that they have a parting of the ways. Abraham could have chosen whatever land he wanted, but he gave Lot the choice. Lot chose the land near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the years that follow, Lot moved into the city and became a person of importance there. In time the cities’ sin of homosexuality and no doubt other sexual perversions made God decide to destroy them. Some angels showed up to tell Abraham what they were about to do (also affirming at that time to Abraham that at the same time the next year he would have a son by Sarah - note that Ishmael was also promised 12 sons or tribes -they are the Arabs, just as there are the 12 tribes (sons) of Israel (Jacob)). Abraham tried to negotiate for the saving of the cities, as he knew Lot’s family lived there. After bargaining for a while, God said that he wouldn’t destroy the cities if ten righteous people could be found. They couldn’t. Even Lot’s family didn’t have enough people to qualify. So the angels went to the city to tell Lot to get his family and get out. The men of the city tried to get the angels for homosexual relations, but were struck blind by those angels. They had to grab Lot and his wife and two daughters by the hand and literally drag them out of the city. Lot had more daughters than the two girls, by the way. He also had sons-in-law. They all perished. On the way out of town his wife turned around to see the destruction and was turned into a pillar of salt. Many people today (pro-homosexuals) are interpreting this destruction as the result of “lack of hospitality”. While I’m sure God doesn’t appreciate it if we are inhospitable, it is ridiculous to think he would destroy the cities for it. Homosexuality is the reason they were destroyed. This is important because of what Christ has to say about the end times and Lot later on.

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