DEAR BROTHER FAULL:
I read your article on homosexuality and how you have determined that it is indeed an abomination and thus something for the church to fight against. I would like you to comment on this well-known script from “The West Wing”. Specifically why don’t you kill people that work on the Sabbath as explained below and in Exodus 35:2?
“Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.”
“I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.”
“Yes, it does. Leviticus.”
“Leviticus 18:22 (You shall not lie with a male as with a woman: it is an abomination.)”
“Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. (When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.) She’s a Georgetown sophomore, she speaks fluent Italian, and always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?
While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath, Exodus 32:2 clearly says he should be put to death. (Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy sabbath of solemn rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death). Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?
Here’s one that’s really important, ‘cause we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean, Leviticus 11:7 (And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.) If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?
Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?”
MR. FAULL’S ANSWER:
This is not going to be easy to answer for two reasons:
1. I doubt the sincerity of the person called President Bartlet.
2. It is obvious the person is Biblically ignorant of the purpose of the Law of Moses and the Jewish nation at that time of history.
LET’S THINK TOGETHER
1. The objector ought to be a little suspicious that his questions are not the problems that he imagines because they are not often asked. I have never seen the questions asked before by any scholar because they all are aware of the intent of the Law of Moses.
No one with even an ounce of knowledge of what God was doing in the Old Testament Law would ever wonder about these questions.
2. The absence of the slave issue, the Sabbath issue and the pig question in the New Covenant Scriptures should have raised another flag of the inappropriateness of his questions. The homosexual condemnation does appear in the New Testament Scripture but these others do not appear after Jesus’ death.
3. The use of the “Reducto Absurdum” argument also proves that the objector can see the difference between the scenarios.
The desire to reduce a prohibition against Sodomy to an absurdity by showing that wearing mixed clothing was also not allowed is used to try to take away the force of the prohibition against sodomy. It does not seem to have entered Mr. Bartlet’s mind that his objection could have been used as soon as it was pronounced by Moses.
Maybe Mr. Bartlet should think, “Why didn’t someone use that argument in Moses’ day? Could it be that they understood what Moses was doing by the many ‘mixture’ laws?”
Why didn’t Mr. Bartlet quote the Laws of Leviticus 19? In that Chapter there are laws of no mixed cattle, no mixed seed, no mixed garments, no shaping of the beard and other “Laws specific to the Jewish nation.”
However, in that same Chapter we are told not to steal, lie, swear falsely, defraud our employees, curse the deaf, put a stumblingblock in a blind man’s path, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Now does Mr. Bartlet want these universal laws to have no instruction for us because of the obsolete nature in the same chapter with unique Jewish prohibitions?
4. But men saw God’s judgment on homosexuality before the Law of Moses was even given. It is not uniquely Jewish. The “No touch the pig” law, “Mixed clothing law” never existed until the Law of Moses.
It was the Law of Moses that revealed these new unique Jewish laws, but the world had already seen Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed for the perversion of homosexuality.
Can Mr. Bartlet name any cities or nations that God destroyed before the Law for “touching pigs” and “wearing linen and wool together” or “planting mixed seeds”? A little thinking might have stopped him from even using these “Reducto Absudum” arguments.
But here is the REAL answer to Mr. Bartlet’s mocking:
The Law was not given in a vacuum. The children of Israel had just left idolatrous Egypt. They were going to be a nomadic people for sometime. Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers tell their journey and the forming of the new redeemed nation.
They were going into another terrible evil and idolatrous land (Canaan) where seven wicked nations existed. They were known for their debauchery.
Deuteronomy means, ‘second law’. In it, the Law is repeated and many new laws would be given on how they should conduct themselves in that new land.
What Mr. Bartlet seems to be ignorant of is that the Law of Moses was given for several reasons:
1. The nation of Israel would be a Theocracy where God ruled as King. Moses was the spokesman. This means this was their national law, it was not given to all mankind.
2. The Law was given to a people who had been living in the darkness of Egypt and going into an even deeper darkness in Canaan. Many of the laws that seem strange to us were given to prevent idolatry among the Jews or even the appearance of idolaters.
3. This was the nation through which God would send the Messiah to bless all nations. It therefore needed to be kept distinct and pure from the idolatry of their heathen neighbors. Their superstition must be avoided so Israel’s Messiah could come.
SO HOW DID GOD DO IT?
1. He gave them the unique Sabbath law.
It was for Israel and for those who may live among them. God says: Exodus 31:13-17, “13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”
The breaking of Sabbath was therefore the breaking of the covenant itself. It would be an act of treason. It would be like an early American burning the flag. (Since nothing is held as sacred today, I realize it will be hard for some to grasp this.)
To break Sabbath would be to rebel against God’s Theocracy, the nation itself and a denial of Israel’s unique position where God was King.
So no, Mr. Bartlet, since you’re not a Jew and your Chief of staff works on Saturday you won’t have to kill him today. Besides, Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath and today we rest in Him from our works.
Hebrews 4:9-11, “9 There remaineth therefore a rest (keeping of a Sabbath) to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest (Sabbath), he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 ¶ Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
The Sabbath has been fulfilled. Colossians 2:16-17, “16 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday (annual), or of the new moon (monthly), or of the sabbath days (weekly): 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
2. He gave restrictions from the practices of the heathen around them.
The heathen made cuttings in their flesh for the dead and tried to move their god’s by doing so. Remember the 450 prophets of Baal in their contact with Elijah (I Kings 18:28) and how they cut themselves. By forbidding cutting and tattoos it stopped the idolatrous practice of worshipping the dead.
The heathen shaped their beards and made baldness on their heads (like Friar Tuck). They were sun worshippers. By forbidding them to dress like the heathen and forbidding them to make baldness on their head and other such prohibitions He curbed sun worship or even appearing as one.
In addition to not learning the heathen’s ways, consider this:
Look at Deuteronomy 22:9-11, “9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. 10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.”
What is the excellent principle that he was trying to teach in these prohibitions? Is it not that distinctions need to be made? An ox is a clean animal where an ass is an unclean animal. Paul interprets it, “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Do not mix with the heathen. This is the same lesson of mixed seeds, animals, and garments.
The law was given as a middle wall of partition to separate His people from the idolatry of the rest of the world. Let them keep themselves separate. Their dress, diet, deportment, and duties kept them separate from the other nations until the Promised seed of Abraham that would bless all nations should come.
Now about Mr. Bartlet’s “pigskin”. He wants the boys to keep handling a football. Why not touch a pig? Deuteronomy 14:8
The heathen offered swine on their altars. By forbidding them to touch the pig there was no danger of them offering to other gods. They were forbidden swine flesh to eat therefore they could not eat of the sacrifices of the heathen. It is reported that Gentiles often held a pig when making a covenant so when God forbade them to touch a pig he forbade making a covenant with them.
Later, Antiochus would force Jews to offer swine as sacrifices to God and eat the pork. This was the greatest of insult to the Jews because the world knew of their abhorrence of swine.
The Prodigal son feeding the pigs is the ultimate horror to the Jewish mind. Again, this was a national law to the Jews. It would be treason to offer a swine on God’s altar. However, in the New Testament whenever the law, the middle wall of partition, was broken down the Christian were told they may eat what God had cleansed. It was no longer unclean. I Timothy 4:3-5, Ephesians 2:14-16 So now that Jesus has fulfilled the Law, Mr. Bartlet may go play football.
As for selling his daughter, Mr. Bartlet needs to understand that in that day Jews sold themselves and
families into slavery for 7 year periods. The girls were not returned at the end of 7 years as they were often made wives. As I said earlier, the Law of Moses was not given in a vacuum. This kind of slavery was practiced. It is not that God approves of it, He just regulated a practice that was common in that day.
Now he did more than regulate slavery that came from kidnapping. The penalty was death. Deuteronomy 24:7, “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.”
There is nothing immoral in agreeing to be a bond servant to another in a bartering world. Jacob did so for his wives and his cattle. To steal another man and sell him into slavery is another matter.
Women, however, could be sold for wives and did not come back to the father at the end of the 7 years, as she and her children would belong to the man who purchased her.
So Mr. Bartlet might have gotten a good price for the girl he described in his attempt at “Reducto Absurdum”.
I realize this may be difficult to understand for an unbeliever, or a mocker who is naïve of the times in which these laws were given, being ignorant of the scope of God’s purposes in keeping Israel a distinct or Holy nation. However, to the thinking believer we marvel at God’s Wisdom in the Law. The self-wise will stumble over these things of old specific Jewish laws.
Laws against homosexuality, lesbianism, and bestiality on the other hand, are not uniquely Jewish. Every nation, every race and every religion has considered them abominations. Sodomy is against nature as well as against God. Sodom shows God’s judgment on it.