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Human Sacrifice And The Bible


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#1 Without_Excuse

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:39 PM

I was reading through the Old Testament on my last deployment and I came across something that was puzzling to me. When God is explaining to the Israelites what they must do when they enter the promised land, one of the instructions is to not worship him as the people worship their pagan gods. A specific reason was because they sacrifice their sons and daughters as burnt sacrfices and that is an abomination and detestable to God. We can also find other references in the Bible that shows that human sacrfice has never entered the mind of our Lord. (except of course Jesus)

When I was reading through Judges, Jephthah made a vow to God that if he allows him to deliver Israel from the Amorites he will sacrifice the first thing he sees as a burnt offering when he returns home. After his success he returns home to find his daughter outside. He then allows her to leave for a month to mourn and then sacrfices her.

I understand that the Bible never mentions the fact that God was pleased with what had happened, but it seems to me that God was in control of what Jephthah first saw when he came home. Was this to teach Jephthah not to make foolish vows to the Lord? If that is the case why would he choose to make Jephthah sacrfice his daughter to teach him that lesson when that type of thing was so detestable to him?

Some insight would be greatly appreciated.

#2 JayShel

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:23 PM

What passage is that? I would like to look at the context further.

#3 Ron

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:57 AM

God doesn't "Controll" us, He gave us "Free Will".

Jephthah made a rash vow that "he" followed through on (if you re-read the verses you'll mose likely be able to see this in the context). Further, God didn't force Jephthah's daughter to come when she did.

I would also remind you that God is a forgiving God, and had Jephthah asked forgiveness for such a rash vow, it is hard to argue against Jephthah's being forgiven, and his daughter living.

But, I must also reiterate; it was Jephthah that took his daughter's life. not God.

#4 Without_Excuse

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:27 AM

I understand that God doesn't control us, otherwise we wouldn't have sinned ever. But God is IN control, that is why I am curious about thise passage. I do see in those verses that jephthah made a rash vow, he was not confident in his ability to lead Israel out of opression. That is why I understand that his vow was foolish. I also understand that God didn't force his daughter to come out of the house at that time, but like I said, God is IN control, so he allowed this to happen.

I believe that everything in the Bible is the infallbile word of God, and everything that is written in there is for us and there for a reason. So my question is, did God allow this to happen in order to teach jephthah not to make rash and foolish vows?

JayShel read Judges chapter 11

#5 Teejay

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:05 AM

[quote] name='Without_Excuse' timestamp='1338320397' post='84123']
I was reading through the Old Testament on my last deployment and I came across something that was puzzling to me. When God is explaining to the Israelites what they must do when they enter the promised land, one of the instructions is to not worship him as the people worship their pagan gods. A specific reason was because they sacrifice their sons and daughters as burnt sacrfices and that is an abomination and detestable to God. We can also find other references in the Bible that shows that human sacrfice has never entered the mind of our Lord. (except of course Jesus)

When I was reading through Judges, Jephthah made a vow to God that if he allows him to deliver Israel from the Amorites he will sacrifice the first thing he sees as a burnt offering when he returns home. After his success he returns home to find his daughter outside. He then allows her to leave for a month to mourn and then sacrfices her.

I understand that the Bible never mentions the fact that God was pleased with what had happened, but it seems to me that God was in control of what Jephthah first saw when he came home. Was this to teach Jephthah not to make foolish vows to the Lord? If that is the case why would he choose to make Jephthah sacrfice his daughter to teach him that lesson when that type of thing was so detestable to him?

Some insight would be greatly appreciated.
[/quote]

The following is material I use to teach Bible classes. I pray that it is helpful. Concerning Jephthah, I lean towards agreeing with Ron, but not totally. Hebrews 11:32 makes me wonder, for Jephthah is listed as a hero of faith. Not everything we read in the OT points to Jesus Christ. After all, Job's wife advised him to "curse God and die." At this point in my walk with the Lord, I find Jephthah a dilemma. But no where in the Bible does God grant authority to any man to take the life of another innocent man. Perhaps we will not know for sure until we get to heaven????????????


Firstborn Inheritance Law

Consider how the law of the firstborn’s inheritance, which would be given through Moses five centuries later, would have forbidden such a practice, if it had been in effect at the time. See Deut. 21:15-17. God Himself supported and documented a violation of this principle. Abraham and Sarah seemingly violated this “right” and with God’s consent, for God agreed with Sarah to take away that right from Ishmael (see Gen. 21:10). And while this displeased Ishmael’s father (Abraham), the Lord instructed Abraham to comply with Sarah’s wish (see Gen. 21:12).

Thus, rather than giving Ishmael “a double portion,” just before his death “Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac” (Gen. 25:5).

How do we explain the tension between what God approved of in Genesis, and what He later commanded in Deuteronomy? Often times God purposely creates tension such as this to make us attend to this (as we are now doing on this thread). But realize that the Mosaic Law consisted of three tiers—spiritual laws toward God, moral laws toward man, and symbolic laws (which were for Israel only, were not moral or immoral, and pointed to Jesus Christ). While God can alter or change symbolic law to get our attention, God would never violate the first two tiers of His law. Actually, He could never do so and remain righteous.

For example, God would never command nor approve of human sacrifice to false gods nor adultery (Jer. 7:31; 19:5; 32:3; Prov. 3:32). But symbolic ordinances, by definition, do not legislate absolute morality, but signs and symbolism. God can impose, ignore, or set aside symbols without violating His eternal standard of righteousness (Mat. 12:5; John 7:22). But God could never set aside morality or spiritual truths and remain righteous. Also realize that unlike eternal moral principles, symbolic laws have absolutely no force prior to God’s codifying them, or after God abolishes them.

God arranged sibling swaps, the second born for the firstborn (Isaac for Ishmael, Perez for Zerah, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob for Essau (which pointed to Jesus for Adam). But then He prohibited them because He likes to emphasize truth with symbolic tension. Then Jesus shocks all His followers and proclaims, “He who drinks My blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). Jesus used this shock treatment to make His followers, and Israel as a nation) realize Who was standing before them.

“I’m the Bread from heaven that your father ate in the wilderness. I’m the Lamb without spot or blemish. I’m the Passover Lamb that you’ve been sacrificing and eating. I am the True Vine. I am that I AM. Did Jesus want His followers to be cannibals? No!

Symbolically, why did Isaac not give the blessing until after he ate? Genesis 8:20 shows that God would accept the “clean animals” as a sacrifice offered by man. Then just five verses later, God permitted man to eat meat and He forbade the drinking of blood (Gen. 9:3-4). Afterward, God explained that the priests would actually eat the sacrifices (Lev. 6:26), including “every grain offering and every sin offering and… the new wine” (Num. 18:9, 12). Then God instructed not only the priests, but also the worshippers, at times, to eat of their offerings (Deut. 12:17-18). Consuming the sacrifice pointed to the time when the symbols would be fulfilled. “Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar (1 Cor. 10:1), that is, of its ministry? For eventually the Father would offer up the Son of God, and men would ceremonially eat His body and drink His blood to inherit eternal life. And Christ would dwell in His followers. For He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48), and the Water of Life (Rev. 21:6). Whoever drinks of Him shall never thirst again (John 4:13). Whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life (John 6:54). Thus, God used the symbolic sacrificial system to illustrate these spiritual truths, in that men partake of the sacrifice itself, as Christians partake of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16-17). So, God can’t bless a man until after that man partakes of the Son of God. God Himself could not eternally bless any man until after that Last Supper of meat, bread, and wine until after He accepted the offering of Christ’s body and blood. Thus, for these symbolic reasons, the Spirit led Isaac to request a meal made of a blood sacrifice, and he partook of the bread and wine before he could apply the Messianic blessing on Jacob.

Likewise, God forbid human sacrifice, but not just to raise attention to Jesus’ sacrifice. Human sacrifice is the unauthorized murder of human;--a sacrifice God has not authorized. And, the human sacrifice for the sins of the world required an infinite Sacrifice of infinite value. No human except Jesus Christ could fulfill this requirement.

God’s firstborn son in the flesh was Adam “who is a type of Him who was to come” (Rom. 5:14), typified the Father’s eternal Firstborn, the Son, who also then came in the flesh (Rom. 8:3; 1 Tim. 3:16; John 4:2). In addition to the Deuteronomy law, another law of the firstborn required the firstborn animal to live seven days and to be sacrificed on the eighth day. “The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. … on the eighth day you shall give it to Me [as a blood sacrifice]” (Ex. 22:29-30). For the death of these firstborn animals symbolically pointed to the crucifixion of God’s Firstborn and temporarily substituted for the death of sinful men.

But God condemned human sacrifices (Deut. 18:10; Jer. 32:35) such as the polygamist nations offered (2 Ki. 16:3). So when the Lord said, “The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me” (Ex. 22:29), He did not mean as a sacrifice. Rather, the parents redeemed (Ex. 13:13, 15) their sons by paying money to the priests as an acknowledgment that their firstborn sons belonged to the Lord. However, just as God commanded an “eighth day” blood sacrifice of all the firstborn animals, so too every male child on the eighth day shall be circumcised. Circumcision, the cutting off of the flesh, is itself a symbolic non-lethal blood sacrifice (Gen. 17:12). So Jesus was circumcised (had His flesh cut off) “eight days (Luke 2:21) after His birth. And eventually, Christ Himself (in the flesh) was “cut off” (Isa. 53:8; Dan. 9:26, i.e. killed, at the crucifixion—the Ultimate Substitution, the Ultimate Blood Sacrifice.

TeeJay


#6 Without_Excuse

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 01:26 PM

Teejay,

Thanks for the insight. I am perfectly ok with not fully understanding God and his ways, his ways are not like our ways. God can allow or disallow anything he likes, he is the ultimate authority and I didn't ask this question to judge, I was merely curious.

#7 Teejay

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:47 PM

[quote] name='Without_Excuse' timestamp='1338409616' post='84137']
Teejay,

Thanks for the insight. I am perfectly ok with not fully understanding God and his ways, his ways are not like our ways. God can allow or disallow anything he likes, he is the ultimate authority and I didn't ask this question to judge, I was merely curious.
[/quote]

WE,



WE, there is a passage in Scripture that escapes me at the moment, but basically it states that there are some things He wants us to know and some matters He has not revealed to us. But please understand that what He has revealed He wants us to understand and know. Jephthah is a mystery at the moment--not only to me but to many theologians. Ron's simple explanation would suffice if it were not for Hebrews where Jephthah is placed in honor hall of faith with the likes of Abraham and Moses. But does this mean that we are not to understand this contradiction? Perhaps or perhaps not? Hence, I will continue to ponder this dilemma as it may not be unanswerable?

Now I must address what is really important. True, God's ways are higher than our ways. But they are not lower than our ways. Our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the God of Teejay, can't allow anything He likes and remain a righteous God. God can't break His promise and remain trustworthy. God can't lie and remain honest. God can't judge unjustly and remain just. This is not possible--logically or morally.

There is a proverb or psalm which says, "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne, O Lord," Just as the physical laws are a description of the physical universe, God's moral laws are a description of God. Jesus said, "I am the Truth." If God lied, He would deny Himself--his own righteous self. For example, if Jesus bowed His knee to Satan when tempted in the wilderness, sin would have entered the Godhead, and God would have come undone.

And it's okay to judge. We should not worship God because we simply believe Him; rather we should judge the God we are to bow down to to see if He is worthy of our worship. If the Mormons and Muslims did that they would find their God wanting. Paul speaks of this: "... let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: 'That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged'" (Rom. 3:4 with Ps. 51:4). The first time I read that I was stunned. I asked, "Who will have the audacity to judge or accuse God?" At the judgment seat many will argue with God: "If only you had let us live without Your law." "If only You had not given us Your oppressive law." If only You had.... But God can be judged and will fill the bill. We are not to worship blindly. Believing does not make something true. Rather we should find out if it's true and then believe it. We can't find out if something is true unless we judge. Jesus said, “Judge with righteous judgment.”


But under no circumstances should we argue that God can "do anything He wants." The pagan gods of the Greeks could be arbitrary and capricious. We do not have that kind of God. Just as a matter can't be true and not true at the same time, a behavior can't be both moral and immoral at the same time--not even for God.


TeeJay

#8 Hawkins

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:30 PM

I was reading through the Old Testament on my last deployment and I came across something that was puzzling to me. When God is explaining to the Israelites what they must do when they enter the promised land, one of the instructions is to not worship him as the people worship their pagan gods. A specific reason was because they sacrifice their sons and daughters as burnt sacrfices and that is an abomination and detestable to God. We can also find other references in the Bible that shows that human sacrfice has never entered the mind of our Lord. (except of course Jesus)

When I was reading through Judges, Jephthah made a vow to God that if he allows him to deliver Israel from the Amorites he will sacrifice the first thing he sees as a burnt offering when he returns home. After his success he returns home to find his daughter outside. He then allows her to leave for a month to mourn and then sacrfices her.

I understand that the Bible never mentions the fact that God was pleased with what had happened, but it seems to me that God was in control of what Jephthah first saw when he came home. Was this to teach Jephthah not to make foolish vows to the Lord? If that is the case why would he choose to make Jephthah sacrfice his daughter to teach him that lesson when that type of thing was so detestable to him?

Some insight would be greatly appreciated.


From my understanding, the judges are usually militery leaders. They fought very bravely and God gave them victories for the survival of Israel as a whole. On the other hand, it by no means says that they knew God well. I believe that they are not formal prophets like David is, they may be more like Saul. And for that reason, spiritually speaking they were not that close to God as the prophets were, just like how Sammuel was close to God but not Saul. There ancestor Abraham was a prophet, God already showed through Abraham that He's not pleased of human Sacrifice. Abraham did the sacrifice because at that time other religions around the Jews practiced children sacrifice. God thus tested Abraham's faith by asking the same, it is more of a message that "can you be more faithful to me than those who are faithful to the false gods", together with another even more important message of prophecy that "do you know that I will have to sacrifice my own Son". God wants those messages to be delivered instead of truly want that sacrifice.

Jephthah may well be the type of leader like Saul, he's not close enough to God to understand Him. He knew how to ask for victory though. More likely he's also under the cultural influence of the surrounding religions. That's why he and his daughter willfully made such a decision. If he insists then God allows, just like how God allows Saul to meet with Sammuel's ghost. The whole story never said that "God wanted it", it's all his own decision. God's job is make sure that their souls will be saved.

He is that "straight forward" or harsh with the people of Israel only. But it by no means says that He likes that. He allow things like that to happen because the Jews are a very much special group of people bearing a special purpose. Even for David, God allowed him to war with his own son and got him killed. Just like the judges, David for a time in his like might have walked away from God too much.




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