Friday, August 17, 2012
The following quote is taken from evilbible.com:
"Death For Blasphemy - "One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the LORD's name. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother's name was Shelomith. She was the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They put the man in custody until the LORD's will in the matter should become clear. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD's name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD's name will surely die." (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)
Let's examine the story of Shelomith's son. You can read the full chapter here:
This event took place when the Israelites were on their way to the land of Canaan, being led by God out of slavery in Egypt. God was giving the Israelites the Law. He had already warned them against blasphemy of his name (Exodus 20:7; 22:28). Dictionary.com defines blasphemy as "to speak impiously or irreverently of; to speak evil of; slander; abuse" . To blaspheme God is to speak about him with contempt, often in a slanderous way.
The text is unclear as to exactly what Shelomith's son said. What we do know is that he used the name of God in an irreverent and contemptuous manner in front of witnesses. In the Ancient Near East, a name had more power than often ascribed to names in our time period and culture. A name revealed the character of the person, or in this case, of God. Shelomith's son sought to damage the reputation of God by misusing his name.
Why was capital punishment prescribed for those who blasphemed? It showed utter contempt and disrespect for God, the Creator of the universe and all living things, and the one who delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. After all God had done for that man, the man chose to repay God by speaking of him contemptuously and rebelling against his commands. Such blatant disrespect was as serious as high treason. This is why Shelomith's son was ordered to be executed.
Again, it is important to note that capital punishment commands such as these were given specifically to the nation of Israel during the time period and culture of the Ancient Near East. All of Scripture, both Old and New Testament, condemns blasphemy; however, the capital punishments prescribed do not apply in our time period and culture (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:24-26).
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The following quotes are taken from evilbible.com:
"Kill False Prophets - "If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, 'You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.' When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through." (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)
"Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, 'Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,' do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)
"'But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.' You may wonder, 'How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?' If the prophet predicts something in the LORD's name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared." (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT)
The question asked here is: Why was capital punishment prescribed for false prophets? The severity of the punishment was because of the severity of the crime. To encourage idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) or to tell lies in God's name (Zechariah 13:3) was to show utter contempt for God, and was in essence to commit treason.
As stated before, idolatry is a very serious sin that God does not take lightly. He is the Lord and Creator of the universe, and desires that people only worship him. He warned the Israelites against idol worship on numerous occasions (see Exodus 20:3-6, 23; 23:13, 23-24; 34:17; Leviticus 19:4; 26:1; Deuteronomy 4:15-28; 5:7; 6:14-15; 8:19; 12:31; 17:2-7; 27:15; 29:17-18). In the instance described in Deuteronomy 13, someone who claimed to be a prophet would try to lead the people astray to worship idols or foreign deities. This was open rebellion against God. This is why God commanded that the person be executed; otherwise the entire nation would be persuaded to rebel against God and show contempt for the one who freed them from perpetual slavery in Egypt.
A true prophet was a person who was sent to directly communicate God's message to the people. False prophets often took advantage of people that they lied to in order to gain advancement and/or wealth for themselves. It is a very dangerous thing to presume to speak for God, or to tell lies in God's name (Jeremiah chapter 28). To do so is not only haughty, but breaks God's commandments against idolatry and lying (Exodus 20:3-6, 16; Proverbs 6:16-19). It also could lead to others straying away from God and rebelling against him. This is why false prophets were ordered to be executed.
Again, it is important to note that capital punishment commands such as these were given specifically to the nation of Israel during the time period and culture of the Ancient Near East. All of Scripture, both Old and New Testament, condemns idolatry and false prophecy; however, the capital punishments prescribed do not apply in our time period and culture (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:24-26).