Struggling with the Old Testament

Discussions about the Bible, and any issues raised by Scripture.
hooleyhoopty
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Struggling with the Old Testament

#1

Post by hooleyhoopty » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:58 pm

Hello all. I am new to the forum and very, very glad I found it with it's wealth of information.

This past year I went through a personal crisis that pushed me to evaluate my relationship with God, or lack thereof. I have leaned heavily on my Christian faith to see me through. However, in the last couple of months there have been things that I have seen and discussions that I have had with agnostics that I have challenged my faith to the core. It's all the more discomforting because I want to believe that all that has happened to me (by me) has some purpose....that God is trying to draw me closer. More so I always believed that life had a purpose, that God was there, but now, as a result of this crisis, I'm challenging whether or not that is even the case.

One of my most pressing questions concerns the Old Testament. Repeatedly, God refers to the Israelites of the Old Testament as "his people". They refer to him as "their God". Why didn't God in the OT refer to the other inhabitants of the earth as his people? I know that all civilizations of the time had their own creation stories and their own bibles if you will. Why is the creation story of the Jews the correct one? Is it possible that the OT is made up just as these other creation stories/religions were at the time. That is was particularly created to give hope to an oppressed people (the Israelites). Also, why do you often hear the expressions "Lord of Lords and King of Kings". Does that mean that God lords over even the mightiest of men or that he is the God of other Gods.

I'm stronger in my belief in Jesus and the NT but if the OT isn't legitimate then neither is the NT. Ugh, my head is going in circles but hopefully I articulated where I am having trouble. I'm praying for some direction. Thanks!

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#2

Post by cslewislover » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:19 pm

hooleyhoopty wrote:Hello all. I am new to the forum and very, very glad I found it with it's wealth of information.
Hello hooleyhoopty. :wave: Lol re the name. Welcome to the board! Yes, there's a ton of info here, and on the main site.
This past year I went through a personal crisis that pushed me to evaluate my relationship with God, or lack thereof. I have leaned heavily on my Christian faith to see me through. However, in the last couple of months there have been things that I have seen and discussions that I have had with agnostics that I have challenged my faith to the core. It's all the more discomforting because I want to believe that all that has happened to me (by me) has some purpose....that God is trying to draw me closer. More so I always believed that life had a purpose, that God was there, but now, as a result of this crisis, I'm challenging whether or not that is even the case.
Sometimes the trials are the only things that get our attention enough to draw us closer to God. Also, from all you wrote here, maybe He decided it was time that you learn more about Him! That never hurts.
One of my most pressing questions concerns the Old Testament. Repeatedly, God refers to the Israelites of the Old Testament as "his people". They refer to him as "their God". Why didn't God in the OT refer to the other inhabitants of the earth as his people? I know that all civilizations of the time had their own creation stories and their own bibles if you will. Why is the creation story of the Jews the correct one? Is it possible that the OT is made up just as these other creation stories/religions were at the time. That is was particularly created to give hope to an oppressed people (the Israelites). Also, why do you often hear the expressions "Lord of Lords and King of Kings". Does that mean that God lords over even the mightiest of men or that he is the God of other Gods.
For God's own reasons, he chose a group of people to be His as an example for all the others. God also took care of other people, not just the Israelites. They were His concerning His laws. And when they broke them, and did not repent, they were punished too. It wasn't just all fun and games for the Israelites just because they were "God's people." God is all powerful, and thus he is the Lord and Kinge over everything. I bet some others here will post on more of all this, if I don't post more first.

Here's a short article on God choosing the Jews: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... eople.html

Here's another article, also pretty short: http://www.rbc.org/questionsDetail.aspx ... &Topic=646

I'm stronger in my belief in Jesus and the NT but if the OT isn't legitimate then neither is the NT. Ugh, my head is going in circles but hopefully I articulated where I am having trouble. I'm praying for some direction. Thanks!
It's OK, you just need to find out more about the scriptures that your faith is based on. It would be good to get a good foundation before reading too much from agnostics and atheists, it seems to me. But, obviously, you are now seeking because of their doubts. Let me go see if I can find some good links.
Last edited by cslewislover on Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#3

Post by dayage » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:49 pm

Hi hh,

The whole thing about "His people" and "their God" had to do with the special relationship they had with God. They were to be his light to the other nations. People from other nations could enter this relationship, but they had to make GOD their God. For example King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:34-37.

I'll look up more info on this if you would like.

We as Christians are called God's children, because we have been adopted with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-16). All other people are His creations, but not His children. They can become His children also, but they must choose to do so (John 3:16).

Other creation stories are clearly myths. They have god's killing each other to form creation. Sometimes the god's come from matter that already exists.

The Biblical story is straight forward about who created and in what order. This can be tested against what we find through science. In other words God's Word and God's Creation can be put side-by-side. The creation myths do not get the order of events during creation correct.

"King of Kings and Lord of Lords" means that none is above God. He is the supreme ruler. The Bible makes it clear that the other "gods" are man's creation and are not gods at all (II Kings 29:32; Is. 43:10-12; 44:6-8, 13-20; 45:14-25)

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#4

Post by Cactus » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:49 pm

don't think of the relationship between the lord and the Israelite people as a "special relationship", think of it as children inheriting a great responsibility (and messing it up a little-well noones perfect...)

Until, someone perfect can fix everything :ewink:

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#5

Post by dayage » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:22 pm

The Israelites were God's chosen people (Genesis 17:1-11; Deuteronomy 7:6-9).

Yes, they messed up a lot. Lucky for them as a nation God is faithful (Deut. 7:9). As much as I mess up, I'm glad He is faithful (II Tim. 2:13).

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#6

Post by Cactus » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:48 am

dayage wrote:The Israelites were God's chosen people (Genesis 17:1-11; Deuteronomy 7:6-9).
were...I suppose that's everyone now...all the whole wide world.

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#7

Post by dayage » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:01 pm

No, just those who have faith in Christ (Galations 3:13-14, 28-29). Romans 3:29-30. The Old Testament believers looked forward in faith to the comming Messiah, we now look back in faith.

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#8

Post by hooleyhoopty » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:56 pm

Thank you all for weighing in on this. Your responses were very helpful and lifted my spirits. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me this past year and as I mentioned faith has really helped to see me through. Unfortunately, the type of research and questioning I'm doing now should have been done a long time ago, then I would have been better prepared for the trials I encountered. I'm sure I'll think of other questions to post to the forums but again I thank you!

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#9

Post by obsolete » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:39 pm

No, just those who have faith in Christ (Galations 3:13-14, 28-29). Romans 3:29-30. The Old Testament believers looked forward in faith to the comming Messiah, we now look back in faith.
Show me Biblically where it says that they have lost their inheritance after Jesus' ressurection.

The Isrealites are still God's chosen people. The blessing was passed to the Gentiles as well. Paul says "for the Jew first, and then for the Gentile.".
Jesus died for ALL. End of story.

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#10

Post by dayage » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:50 pm

obsolete,

I never said they lost their inheritance.

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#11

Post by Cactus » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:57 am

dayage wrote:No, just those who have faith in Christ (Galations 3:13-14, 28-29). Romans 3:29-30. The Old Testament believers looked forward in faith to the comming Messiah, we now look back in faith.
good point, just shows i barely know nothing 8-}2

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#12

Post by hooleyhoopty » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:40 am

The Isrealites are still God's chosen people. The blessing was passed to the Gentiles as well. Paul says "for the Jew first, and then for the Gentile.
This doesn't make sense from the Christian perspective since the Jews reject Christ as savior. And the only way to heaven is through Jesus. Am I correct in this line of thought?

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#13

Post by dayage » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:30 pm

Hoopty,

It is my opinion that as a nation they are still the chosen ones, but as individuals they must each come to faith in Christ.

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

#14

Post by obsolete » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:11 am

hooleyhoopty wrote:
The Isrealites are still God's chosen people. The blessing was passed to the Gentiles as well. Paul says "for the Jew first, and then for the Gentile.
This doesn't make sense from the Christian perspective since the Jews reject Christ as savior. And the only way to heaven is through Jesus. Am I correct in this line of thought?
You are correct that the only way to Heaven is thru Christ. You are correct that the Jews did reject Jesus. But that does not mean that the blessing is not offered to them still.

In Revelation it talks about the 144,000 who are sealed for God. These are 12,000 from every tribe of Israel who have accepted Christ, who will go out and preach the Gospel. I also believe that the two witnesses are Jewish.

Just because they had rejected Him does not mean that God just up and gave up on them. If He did that to everyone who rejected Him at first, there wouldn't be many saved people. The same goes for those who continually stumble in their daily walk. If that be the case, then I would be in some serious trouble.
Jesus died for ALL. End of story.

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Re: Struggling with the Old Testament

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Post by B. W. » Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:58 pm

Pauls says it like this...

Romans 11:1-27, "I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

"2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life."

"4 But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

"5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day."

"9 And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever."

"11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

"13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?

"16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.

"19 Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."

'20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

"24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

"25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; 27 "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." ESV
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