So I wanted to ask a question as to why some of the laws that God places on the Israelites is to stone people to death for their wrong doings in specific situations (during the day of rest, if the son of an israelite woman and an egyptian man were to curse at an Israelite, etc.) Were these strict laws just a way to ensure that the Israelites acted as good representatives of God, before God realised that his people needed a change of heart in order to follow his laws?
@AlphaOmega God did not ‘realize’ that we need a new heart - He knew that all along. However, God gave us the law as a tutor to point us to Christ and to shepherd the fledgling nation of Israel. It is important to understand that the law was given to a very specific nation in a very specific location - if we ignore the cultural context it is much harder to understand these laws. Israel was surrounded by idolatrous, pagan nations and was very susceptible to spiritual compromise (as we can see from reading their history). The laws both helped them to comprehend the holiness of God and helped them to avoid assimilation into the surrounding pagan cultures.
Personally I believe there were a number of reasons there were harsh penalties for certain sins and different sins fall into different categories.
- to help Israel understand the holiness of God (death for violating day of rest)
- to help Israel’s worship of Yahweh not be polluted by the idolatry of the pagan nations (laws against intermarriage, etc)
- ultimately to point to our need for Christ and new heart / mind
Here are some additional resources:
Part of the reason the Old Testament covenantal system was so harsh is because first, the Old Testament law demonstrates the severity of righteousness and the requirement of perfection before a holy God. Galatians 3:24 says that the law is what points us to Christ. It does this by showing us that we are not able to keep the law and that the only way of obtaining righteousness before God is through the sacrifice of Jesus, who was God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).
Second, the Old Testament times were very difficult, and there were many nations that warred against Israel. Also, the devil and his demonic horde were constantly working to destroy Israel in order to invalidate the prophecies of the coming Messiah and to prevent the Messiah from being born and delivering his people. Therefore, God instituted laws, as difficult as they were, that were consistent with the culture of the times, that ensured the survival of the Jewish nation, that helped to maintain social structure, and also reflected the harshness of the law.
@AlphaOmega Glad it was helpful The Lord Jesus bless you with wisdom and understanding as you dive into the Word and study.
Thanks for this link to this fantastic bible resource