This article is part of a sub-series: Should We Obey The Entire Law Of Moses? - What The Old And New Testaments Say, which is about Old Testament laws on morality and tithing, customs like animal sacrifice and the celebration of the Passover Festival, and what the New Testament says about them.
This is Part 4 (of 13) in Section 5: "Should We Obey The Entire Law Of Moses? - What The Old And New Testaments Say".
To read an overview of the way Christians should regard the Law of Moses, visit: Bible Quotations on Whether Christians Should Obey the Law of Moses.
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
Deuteronomy chapter 7 (NLT)
1 "When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are all more powerful than you. 2 When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them, and don't let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters. 4 They will lead your young people away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will destroy you.
Deuteronomy chapter 28 (TEV)
20 "If you do evil and reject the Lord, he will bring on you disaster, confusion, and trouble in everything you do, until you are quickly and completely destroyed. 25 "The Lord will give your enemies victory over you. You will attack them from one direction, but you will run from them in all directions, and all the people on earth will be terrified when they see what happens to you.
36 "The Lord will take you and your king away to a foreign land, where neither you nor your ancestors ever lived before; there you will serve gods made of wood and stone. 37 In the countries to which the Lord will scatter you, the people will be shocked at what has happened to you; they will make fun of you and ridicule you.
1 Chronicles chapter 29 (NIV)
26 David son of Jesse was king over all Israel. 27 He ruled over Israel forty years--seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 28 He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him as king.
1 Kings chapter 11 (TEV)
1 Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides the daughter of the king of Egypt he married Hittite women and women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Sidon. 2 He married them even though the Lord had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with these people, because they would cause the Israelites to give their loyalty to other gods. 3 Solomon married seven hundred princesses and also had three hundred concubines. They made him turn away from God, 4 and by the time he was old they had led him into the worship of foreign gods. He was not faithful to the Lord his God, as his father David had been.
Jeremiah chapter 5 (TEV)
15 People of Israel, the Lord is bringing a nation from far away to attack you. It is a strong and ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know. 16 Their archers are mighty soldiers who kill without mercy. 17 They will devour your crops and your food; they will kill your sons and your daughters. They will slaughter your flocks and your herds and destroy your vines and fig trees. The fortified cities in which you trust will be destroyed by their army. 18 The Lord says, "Yet even in those days I will not completely destroy my people. 19 When they ask why I did all these things, tell them, Jeremiah, that just as they turned away from me and served foreign gods in their own land, so they will serve strangers in a land that is not theirs."
Jeremiah chapter 7 (NLT)
1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 "Go to the entrance of the LORD's Temple, and give this message to the people: '... listen to this message from the LORD! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3 The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4 But do not be fooled by those who repeatedly promise your safety because the Temple of the LORD is here. 5 I will be merciful only if you stop your wicked thoughts and deeds and are fair to others; 6 and if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; and if you stop your murdering; and if you stop worshiping idols as you now do to your own harm. 7 Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever. 8 "'Do you think that because the Temple is here you will never suffer? Don't fool yourselves! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and worship Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, "We are safe!" - only to go right back to all those evils again?
2 Chronicles chapter 36 (TEV)
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, had continued to send prophets to warn his people, because he wanted to spare them and the Temple. 16 But they made fun of God's messengers, ignoring his words and laughing at his prophets, until at last the Lord's anger against his people was so great that there was no escape. 17 So the Lord brought the king of Babylonia to attack them. The king killed the young men of Judah even in the Temple. He had no mercy on anyone, young or old, man or woman, sick or healthy. God handed them all over to him. 18 The king of Babylonia looted the Temple, the Temple treasury, and the wealth of the king and his officials, and took everything back to Babylon. 19 He burned down the Temple and the city, with all its palaces and its wealth, and broke down the city wall. 20 He took all the survivors to Babylonia, where they served him and his descendants as slaves until the rise of the Persian Empire. 21 And so what the Lord had foretold through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "The land will lie desolate for seventy years, ...."
22 In the first year that Cyrus of Persia was emperor, the Lord made what he had said through the prophet Jeremiah come true. He prompted Cyrus to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his empire:
23 "This is the command of Cyrus, Emperor of Persia. The Lord, the God of Heaven, has made me ruler over the whole world and has given me the responsibility of building a temple for him in Jerusalem in Judah. Now, all of you who are God's people, go there, and may the Lord your God be with you."
Ezra chapter 9 (TEV)
1 After all this had been done, some of the leaders of the people of Israel came and told me that the people, the priests, and the Levites had not kept themselves separate from the people in the neighboring countries of Ammon, Moab, and Egypt or from the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Amorites. They were doing the same disgusting things which these people did. 2 Jewish men were marrying foreign women, and so God's holy people had become contaminated. The leaders and officials were the chief offenders. 3 When I heard this, I tore my clothes in despair, tore my hair and my beard, and sat down crushed with grief. 4 I sat there grieving until the time for the evening sacrifice to be offered, and people began to gather around me-all those who were frightened because of what the God of Israel had said about the sins of those who had returned from exile.
5 When the time came for the evening sacrifice, I got up from where I had been grieving, and still wearing my torn clothes, I knelt in prayer and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God. 6 I said, "O God, I am too ashamed to raise my head in your presence. Our sins pile up higher than our heads; they reach as high as the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, we, your people, have sinned greatly. Because of our sins we, our kings, and our priests have fallen into the hands of foreign kings, and we have been slaughtered, robbed, and carried away as prisoners. We have been totally disgraced, as we still are today. 8 Now for a short time, O Lord our God, you have been gracious to us and have let some of us escape from slavery and live in safety in this holy place. You have let us escape from slavery and have given us new life. 9 We were slaves, but you did not leave us in slavery. You made the emperors of Persia favor us and permit us to go on living and to rebuild your Temple, which was in ruins, and to find safety here in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 "But now, O God, what can we say after all that has happened? We have again disobeyed the commands 11 that you gave us through your servants, the prophets. They told us that the land we were going to occupy was an impure land because the people who lived in it filled it from one end to the other with disgusting, filthy actions. 12 They told us that we were never to intermarry with those people and never to help them prosper or succeed if we wanted to enjoy the land and pass it on to our descendants forever. 13 Even after everything that has happened to us in punishment for our sins and wrongs, we know that you, our God, have punished us less than we deserve and have allowed us to survive. 14 Then how can we ignore your commandments again and intermarry with these wicked people? If we do, you will be so angry that you will destroy us completely and let no one survive. 15 Lord God of Israel, you are just, but you have let us survive. We confess our guilt to you; we have no right to come into your presence."
Ezra chapter 10 (TEV)
1 While Ezra was bowing in prayer in front of the Temple, weeping and confessing these sins, a large group of Israelites-men, women, and children-gathered around him, weeping bitterly. 2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, of the clan of Elam, said to Ezra, "We have broken faith with God by marrying foreign women, but even so there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now we must make a solemn promise to our God that we will send these women and their children away. We will do what you and the others who honor God's commands advise us to do. We will do what God's Law demands. 4 It is your responsibility to act. We are behind you, so go ahead and get it done."
5 So Ezra began by making the leaders of the priests, of the Levites, and of the rest of the people take an oath that they would do what Shecaniah had proposed. 6 Then he went from in front of the Temple into the living quarters of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, and spent the night there grieving over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. He did not eat or drink anything. 7 A message was sent throughout Jerusalem and Judah that all those who had returned from exile were to meet in Jerusalem 8 by order of the leaders of the people. If any failed to come within three days, all their property would be confiscated, and they would lose their right to be members of the community. 9 Within the three days, on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the men living in the territory of Judah and Benjamin came to Jerusalem and assembled in the Temple square. It was raining hard, and because of the weather and the importance of the meeting everyone was trembling. 10 Ezra the priest stood up and spoke to them. He said, "You have been faithless and have brought guilt on Israel by marrying foreign women. 11 Now then, confess your sins to the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do what pleases him. Separate yourselves from the foreigners living in our land and get rid of your foreign wives."
12 The people shouted in answer, "We will do whatever you say." 13 But they added, "The crowd is too big, and it's raining hard. We can't stand here in the open like this. This isn't something that can be done in one or two days, because so many of us are involved in this sin. 14 Let our officials stay in Jerusalem and take charge of the matter. Then let anyone who has a foreign wife come at a set time, together with the leaders and the judges of his city. In this way God's anger over this situation will be turned away."
15 No one was opposed to the plan except Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, who had the support of Meshullam and of Shabbethai, a Levite. 16 The returned exiles accepted the plan, so Ezra the priest appointed men from among the heads of the clans and recorded their names. On the first day of the tenth month they began their investigation, 17 and within the next three months they investigated all the cases of men with foreign wives.
Nehemiah chapter 13 (TEV)
1 When the Law of Moses was being read aloud to the people, they came to the passage that said that no Ammonite or Moabite was ever to be permitted to join God's people. 2 This was because the people of Ammon and Moab did not give food and water to the Israelites on their way out of Egypt. Instead, they paid money to Balaam to curse Israel, but our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 When the people of Israel heard this law read, they excluded all foreigners from the community.
23 At that time I also discovered that many of the Jewish men had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or some other language and didn't know how to speak our language. 25 I reprimanded the men, called down curses on them, beat them, and pulled out their hair. Then I made them take an oath in God's name that never again would they or their children intermarry with foreigners. 26 I told them, "It was foreign women that made King Solomon sin. Here was a man who was greater than any of the kings of other nations. God loved him and made him king over all of Israel, and yet he fell into this sin. 27 Are we then to follow your example and disobey our God by marrying foreign women?"
2 Corinthians chapter 6 (NLT)
14 Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: "I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17 Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
Galatians chapter 3 (NLT)
28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians - you are one in Christ Jesus.
Acts chapter 10 (GWT)
1 A man named Cornelius lived in the city of Caesarea. He was a Roman army officer in the Italian Regiment. 2 He and everyone in his home were devout and respected God. Cornelius gave many gifts to poor Jewish people and always prayed to God.
3 One day, about three in the afternoon, he had a vision. He clearly saw an angel from God come to him and say, "Cornelius!"
4 He stared at the angel and was terrified.
Cornelius asked the angel, "What do you want, sir?"
The angel answered him, "God is aware of your prayers and your gifts to the poor, and he has remembered you.
5 Send messengers now to the city of Joppa, and summon a man whose name is Simon Peter. 6 He is a guest of Simon, a leatherworker, whose house is by the sea."
7 After saying this, the angel left. Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of those who served him regularly. 8 Cornelius explained everything to them and sent them to Joppa.
9 Around noon the next day, while Cornelius' men were on their way and coming close to Joppa, Peter went on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat. While the food was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw the sky open and something like a large linen sheet being lowered by its four corners to the ground. 12 In the sheet were all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles, and birds. 13 A voice told him, "Get up, Peter! Kill these animals, and eat them." 14 Peter answered, "I can't do that, Lord! I've never eaten anything that is impure or unclean." 15 A voice spoke to him a second time, "Don't say that the things which God has made clean are impure." 16 This happened three times. Then the sheet was quickly taken into the sky.
17 While Peter was puzzled by the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found Simon's house and went to the gate. 18 They asked if Simon Peter was staying there.
19 Peter was still thinking about the vision when the Spirit said to him, "Three men are looking for you. 20 Get up, and go downstairs. Don't hesitate to go with these men. I have sent them." 21 So Peter went to the men. He said, "I'm the man you're looking for. Why are you here?" 22 The men replied, "Cornelius, a Roman army officer, sent us. He's a man who has God's approval and who respects God. Also, the Jewish people respect him. A holy angel told him to summon you to his home to hear what you have to say."
23 Peter asked the men to come into the house and had them stay overnight. The next day Peter left with them. Some disciples from Joppa went along.
24 The following day they arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called his relatives and close friends together. 25 When Peter was about to enter Cornelius' house, Cornelius met him, bowed down, and worshiped Peter. 26 But Peter made him get up. He told him, "Stand up! I'm only a man."
27 As Peter talked, he entered Cornelius' house and found that many people had gathered. 28 He said to them, "You understand how wrong it is for a Jewish man to associate or visit with anyone of another race. But God has shown me that I should no longer call anyone impure or unclean. 29 That is why I didn't object to coming here when you sent for me. I want to know why you sent for me."
30 Cornelius answered, "Four days ago I was praying at home. It was at this same time, three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, a man dressed in radiant clothes stood in front of me. 31 He said to me, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and has remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 So send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man whose name is Simon Peter. He's a guest in the home of Simon, a leatherworker who lives by the sea.' 33 So I sent for you immediately. Thank you for coming. All of us are here now in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has ordered you to say."
34 Then Peter said, "Now I understand that God doesn't play favorites. 35 Rather, whoever respects God and does what is right is acceptable to him in any nation.
36 God sent his word to the people of Israel and brought them the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ. This Jesus Christ is everyone's Lord. 37 You know what happened throughout Judea. Everything began in Galilee after John spread the news about baptism. 38 You know that God anointed Jesus from Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus went everywhere and did good things, such as healing everyone who was under the devil's power. Jesus did these things because God was with him. 39 We can testify to everything Jesus did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. People hung him on a cross and killed him, 40 but God brought him back to life on the third day. God didn't show him 41 to all the people. He showed Jesus to witnesses, apostles he had already chosen. We apostles are those men who ate and drank with Jesus after he came back to life. 42 He ordered us to warn the people, 'God has appointed Jesus to judge the living and the dead.'
43 In addition, all the prophets testify that people who believe in the one named Jesus receive forgiveness for their sins through him."
44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came to everyone who heard his message. 45 All the believers who were circumcised and who had come with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured on people who were not Jewish. 46 They heard these non-Jewish people speaking in other languages and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 "No one can refuse to baptize these people with water. They have received the Holy Spirit in the same way that we did." 48 So Peter ordered that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for several days.
Ephesians chapter 2 (NLT)
11 Don't forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders by birth. You were called "the uncircumcised ones" by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from God's people, Israel, and you did not know the promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ.
14 For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us. 15 By his death he ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new person from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. 17 He has brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and to us Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. 20 We are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also joined together as part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
The next file in this section (Part 5), is entitled: "More Of What The Bible Says About Male Circumcision And The Sabbath, And Eating Food Offered To Idols".
If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials: