Strange Elements of the Old Testament
I comment on the Ensign article on Joseph Smith's journals, the Joseph Smith Papers project and the new Priesthood / Relief Society manual for 2008.I received an email asking a question about God sending lying spirits to the prophets to deceive the king. In addressing this issue, I briefly comment on several approaches to the Old Testament.
1. Rejection of the Old Testament by many early Christians.
2. Modern approach of a majority of Christians who ignore all but a few selected passages and stories from the Old Testament.
3. Another approach is that the Old Testament is a collection of ancient religious writings but not the inspired word of God.
Acknowledging the strangeness of the Old Testament is essential to understanding it.
1 Kings 21
There are a number of passages which present seemingly strange Divine characteristics. I list a few:
1 Kings 22:9-23 (causes prophets to lie);
Ezekiel 14:9 (deceives prophets);
Amos 3:6 (the cause of evil in a city);
Ezekiel 20:25-26, 31 (gave laws and judgments which were not good, including child sacrifice);
Hosea 9:15-16 (hates and curses);
Deu 20:10-11, Lev 25:44 (commands and condones slavery);
1 Sa 16:14, 18:10 (sends evil spirits to influence men);
Ex 32:14; Deu 28:68; Am 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:9, 10; Jer 26:13; 2 Sam 24:16 (changes his mind).
I read and commented on Numbers 5:11-30 - Procedure for determining a wife's faithfulness.
Callers and Email
1. A frequent caller who paints Mormonism in the blackest fashion. He insists that the only interest of the General Authorities is in collecting money from its members.
2. This caller has written a novel which incorporates much of this author's personal doctrinal views.
3. A frequent caller strongly criticized my view of the Old Testament.
4. A frequent caller discusses the question of whether God would deceive the prophets and questioning my doubting of the literalness of parts of the Old Testament.
5. A frequent caller condemns me for not believing the flood account literally, but insists that it is appropriate for him to discard to refuse a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation.
6. This caller was applying some wording from the book of Revelation to current events in America's southern states.
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This is the 23 December 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 28th year.
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