Why Is the Old Testament So Different Than the New? Did God change?

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Keeping the Law was the unattainable “key to heaven” in the Old Testament, while the grace and peace of Christ, facilitated by the authentic Church, is the “key” in the New Testament.

Grace was not available in Old Testament times … simply because Satan, sin, and death ruled the earth throughout those difficult days, and Jesus (Messiah) had not yet come.

Under the rules of the New Covenant, God’s abundant grace, obtained for us by Jesus Christ, freely and charitably dispensed by his authentic Church, makes heaven (at least theoretically) attainable for all.

The moral principles that God outlined for his “Chosen People” in the Old Testament, via the Ten Commandments, are everlasting, while the Commandments themselves, along with all the related statutes and ordinances, legally expired with the advent of the New Covenant.

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Knowing this, the authentic New Covenant Christian Church … the Catholic Church … shortly readopted and readapted the old Commandments to the grace-filled realities of the New Covenant.

The Church was given the power by God, for the benefit of all, to make moral laws … according to the natural law, according to the “spirit” of the old commandments, and according to the authentic teachings of Jesus Christ, his apostles, and their duly ordained successors.

So while the state of the world, and the world’s relationship with God, has been radically and permanently improved by the abundant grace of the New Covenant, God has never changed, the purpose for which he created mankind has never changed, and the basic rules that God laid down for the benefit of mankind have never changed.

The Church knows this, the Church teaches this, and the Church has been given the difficult and awesome responsibility of somehow reconciling with God … those who do not or will not accept all that the Church authoratatively teaches in God’s name … for the purpose of their salvation (to “save” their souls) … because the Church knows that “nothing sinful can enter heaven”.

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Abraham and Isaac, the sacrifice, and the prophetic word

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 Holy Week is fast approaching.

Someone recently asked: “Does Genesis 22 make any sense to anyone who isn’t Christian?

Gen 22:2 He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision; and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.
Gen 22:3 So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass, and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.
Gen 22:4 And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off.
Gen 22:5 And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass; I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you.
Gen 22:6 And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together,
Gen 22:7 Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust?
Gen 22:8 And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together.
Gen 22:9 And they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it; and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.
Gen 22:10 And he put forth his hand, and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.
Gen 22:11 And behold, an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.
Gen 22:12 And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.
Gen 22:13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram, amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son.

The questioner went on to wonder if non-Christians, particularly Jews and Muslims, saw any deeper meaning in this passage, and then he went on to describe what he could see in it.

This was my reply:

A-a-a-h, but to a discerning Christian, it is the story of the lamb, and the story of Calvary, as revealed in Old Testament types and symbols.

Isaac was the son of promise … not Ishmael. And since Ishmael was banished, along with his mom … Isaac alone remains … so truly is the “only” son.

The story of the faithful and obedient son, who carries on his back, the wood for the sacrifice.

A 3-day journey.

The wood signifies the cross.

The mountain is Moriah … later known as Golgotha and Calvary.

The lamb is Christ.

The brier thicket is the crown of thorns.

Abraham and Isaac are a people saved by faith, faith that is signified and memorialized by the blood of the lamb.

And why should God sacrifice his own son for a people who wouldn’t do the same for him, anyway?

Christians, how do you love God when you’ve never met him in a literal sense?

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This was the basis of a recent question, posted on the Yahoo Answers website:

Christians, how do you love God when you’ve never met him in a literal sense?

My reply: 

Catholics have a definite edge in that regard, since we “know” Jesus … in the biblical sense … body, blood, soul, and divinity … from about the age of 8 … through the blessed sacrament that Jesus instituted for that express purpose.

In one aspect, this works as a supernatural “souvenir” testifying to the reality of the earlier, original events (in this case, the Passover Meal, the Last Supper, the subsequent Crucifixion of Christ)  permitting one to participate in them personally, and much more completely.

And for another, eating the real and substantial body and blood of Christ results in a level of divine intimacy that is difficult or impossible for non-Catholics to comprehend.

The old saying, “The way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.” isn’t far from the truth.

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Why Should Someone Consider Becoming Catholic?

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You should only consider becoming Catholic if:

You understand that the Church St. Peter established in Rome around the year 42 AD is the very same Church that was born on Pentecost, in Jerusalem, and the very same Church that has been known around the world as Catholic, since at least 107 AD.

You understand that it was the Catholic Church that compiled, wrote, and certiifed ALL the authentic scriptures, translating the Bible into the common language of the people, by the end of the 4th century.

You understand that the Bible will always remain a Catholic book, written by Catholics, for Catholics, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that the NT of the Bible reflects only authentic Catholic beliefs and practices.

You want to meet Christ in the flesh, BEFORE you stand before him in Judgment.

You want to understand and appreciate ALL that God has revealed, for the purpose of our salvation.

You prefer the clear and constant guidance of the authentic Church, to the 50,000 or so various “anointed” interpretations of scripture, and to the millions of self declared “preachers” who claim to “know” widely differing versions of God’s truth.

You want to have an ongoing personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit … along with all the angels and saints.

You want to regularly participate in the very same sacrifice, and obtain the very same blessings, that flowed from Christ’s one time, once for all, eternal sacrifice for sin, on the cross at Calvary.

You appreciate the on-going, 2000 year tradition of the finest, God-inspired theological scholarship that the world has ever known … along with a complete and correct official Catechism that clearly defines all the truths of the faith.

You find crackers and grape juice to be somewhat “less filling” than the real and substantial body, blood, soul, and divinity of the risen Jesus Christ.

You appreciate the peace of mind that comes with KNOWING for sure that God has forgiven ALL your sins … right here and right now … without exception.

You like being part of the living sacred Tradition that is the authentic Christian Church … the People of God … and the Mystical Body of Christ.

You actually believe the Bible when it shows Jesus giving sweeping, unprecedented, unrestricted, and everlasting power and authority to St. Peter, to the apostles, and to their duly ordained successors, for the purpose of our salvation … and to no other persons, groups, or books.

You understand that it’s no coincidence the Catholic Church has outlasted every other world government of any kind, and that the nations still look to the Vatican for “light” and for “salt”.

You realize that the discovery of the bones of St. Peter beneath the basilica in the Vatican, during mid 20th century excavations, means that Jesus really wasn’t kidding, when he said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church.”

You realize that corruption and sin has plagued the Church since Judas, that evil will never stop attacking the Church, both from within and without, yet the Church will always remain one, holy, and without blemish, because it belongs to God.

You have faith in Christ … in ALL that he did for us, and in ALL that he promised, without exception or limitation.

What’s the Deal On Papal Infallibility?

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First of all … there’s absolutely no doubt about the fact that St. Peter was the leader of the Church,
and that he was the unanimous choice of both Jesus and his Father:

Mat 16:15 Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? 
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answering said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood
hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.

This was followed immediately by the following divine promise, which in terms of absolute power and authority, is unprecedented in power and scope … even when compared to the Old Testament promises that God made
to Abraham, Israel, Moses, and others:

Mat 16:18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this Rock I will build my church,
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven:
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

The simple fact is … when God himself promises you the “Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven”
and he backs it up with the his personal assurance that he will back whatever decisions
you make, even so far as translating your earthly decisions into heavenly laws …
that’s about as INFALLIBLE as ANYONE can ever get!
This doesn’t mean everything the Pope says is without error,
or that the Pope is incapable of error, or sin.
It does mean that when the Pope sees a need, as the leader of the whole Church,
to make a definitive statement regarding faith and/or morals,
he can invoke this divine mandate, and speak his mind,
knowing that even if he is WRONG, God will keep up his end of the deal,
and somehow make it right! 
In actual practice, throughout the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church,
the Pope has invoked this power of infallibility twice … or only about once every thousand years.And for the die hard critics out there … this power is nothing new.
Even the corrupt high priest Caiphus,
who convicted Jesus of blasphemy and sent him to Pilate, to be sentenced to death,
had the official power and the absolute right to speak infallibly … and he did.
Infallibility … the divine power to prophesy, if you will … has been with us for a long, long time.
Virtually all the Old Testament prophets and priests had it, 
so why shouldn’t the God-appointed leader
 of the grace empowered New Covenant Christian Church have it … even more? 
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The third time Jesus appeared to the apostles after the resurrection,
Jesus personally presided at St. Peter’s official “swearing-in” ceremony.
Note the triple scrutiny (3rd appearance of Christ, 3 affirmations of Peter’s faith and love, 3 divine commands):

Joh 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead.
Joh 21:15 When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these?
He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:17 He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee.
He said to him: Feed my sheep.

And just so there wouldn’t be any misconceptions about “power and glory” this time, Jesus immediately explained to St. Peter that the only earthly reward Peter would ultimately receive
would be imprisonment and death: 
  
Joh 21:18 Amen, amen, I say to thee, When thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself and didst walk where thou wouldst.
But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands,
and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.
Joh 21:19 And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God.
And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.

All of this was done in light of the eternal nature
of the one, holy, apostolic, and Catholic Church that Jesus founded,
for the express purpose of our salvation, that would endure until the end of time:

Mat 28:16 And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
Mat 28:17 And seeing him they adored: but some doubted.
Mat 28:18 And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

A Church that would last until the end of time would no doubt need to have
an enduring structure, along with Spirit anointed leadership and government.
The hierarchical government of the Catholic Church
is based on what we know of the hierarchical structure of Heaven:

Act 20:28 Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops,
to rule the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 I know that after my departure ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

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How Does Jesus’ Death, at the hands of men, pay a debt men owe to God?

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The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross at Calvary forms the basis for what I like to call “The Peculiar Theology of Redemption”.

And there’s no doubt that the theology behind our redemption IS peculiar, because it had to be … in order to give Satan the devil just enough “rope” to hang himself. 

Here’s how it works:

The first sin had to be a very serious matter, Adam also had to fully understand that it was indeed very serious, and the sin also had to be committed with the full consent of Adam’s will.

Finally, the consequences of that first sin had to be such that a simple apology, a pledge of repentance, and God’s subsequent forgiveness, would still not be sufficient to make all things whole again.

Based on all of the above, we know that the first sin resulted in Adam’s total rejection of God, and his “throwing in” with Satan, against God.

Adam even went so far as to transfer dominion of the whole earth, which God had earlier given him, over to Satan.

And since Adam enjoyed free will, God permitted him to make these choices, and to suffer the eternal consequences.

Once all this was done, Satan turned on Adam, and made a slave of him and his descendents, because, as everyone knows, all the offspring of a slave automatically belong to the master.

This presented a serious problem, because man had no ability to overcome the supernatural dominion that Satan now exercised over him.

Furthermore, God was under no obligation to provide his supernatural graces to his enemies.

Deprived of God’s grace, Eden soon disappeared, Adam and Eve began to age, suffer, and die, and the world became an increasingly more hostile and forbidding place.

Mankind lived under constant threat from Satan, who was given the power of death over them, according to their free will choice, and according to God’s perfect justice.

But this is not what God had in mind when he created man, so God promised to eventually send a redeemer to destroy Satan’s evil dominion, forgive sins, defeat death, and restore all things.

That is exactly what Jesus did.

And the only reason Jesus could do it, when no other human ever could, was because Jesus was never “stained” by sin … and Satan had no power at all, over one without sin.

Under God’s most basic law, one without sin is not liable to die. (This was the flip-side of the same law that Adam broke, when he sinned.)

Jesus permitted Satan and his minions, the Jews and the Romans, to unjustly put him to death, knowing full well that this was the only way Satan’s evil dominion could be legally destroyed, as no one, not even the devil, had the authority to take the life of a sinless man, let alone the only son of God.

Once Jesus died, Satan was judged for his great sin, stripped of all that he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall, and left destitute.

Jesus was raised from the dead and appointed the new head of all mankind. God was now more than willing to forgive man’s sins, and our redemption was truly at hand.

Now, anyone who rejects Satan and swears faithful allegiance to Jesus (typically through baptism) is able to have their sins forgiven, become a living temple of the Holy Spirit, and among other things, also become a member of God’s own family.

The Church carries on Christ’s great work of redemption in the world today, and it will continue to do so, until the end of time.

We have Christ’s word on it.

Hello world!

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Welcome to my new Blog.

I currently spend a lot of time defending the Catholic faith in cyber space, fielding about 6,000 questions per year, on various faith “issues”.

To reach me, email your faith question(s) or comments to: Questions@AskMeAboutGod.Org

My personal background is in research, sales, marketing, and training … with specialties in the marine, aviation, manufacturing, and publishing fields.

When it was time for me to “shop around” for a life-long affiliation with an authentic and truly practical “faith-based organization” I began an extensive personal  research project in order to verify the claims and/or practical benefits of most every known religion on planet Earth.

While my preferences probably leaned towards some sort of Christianity, I no longer had any real allegiance to any particular group, tradition, or confession. Nothing was ruled out. Nothing “off limits”. 

Several years and a couple of computers later, I came to the irrovocable conclusion that the Catholic Church was precisely what it claimed to be, that it was was complete in all respects, with regard to source, authenticity, mission, scope, leadership, history, personal services and benefits (both temporal and spiritual), and that the Church backed it all up with a complete, logical, and correct “sacred deposit of faith” that was illuminated by a 2000 year tradition of some of the world’s finest theological scholarship, culminating in the current day “Catechism of the Catholic Church” … which isn’t perfect … but very close to it.

At the same time, I realized that the Catholic Church was suffering from some of the worst management that the world had likely ever seen … at least in the field of religion … as evidenced by the recent abuse scandals, the dearth of new priestly vocations, and by the wide variation in the quality and fidelity of Catholic catechesis and practices, throughout the United States.

The state of the traditional “Catholic” universities also appeared particularly dismal, with few if any of the well known schools providing what would pass for a truly Catholic curriculum anymore … while the numbers of Catholic primary and secondary schools … which were always known for high quality, efficiently priced education … were also fading fast.

Getting back to basics, what attracted me to Catholicism was the ability to trace virtually every existing practice or teaching back to the original source … and the hope that God would eventually be able to overcome whatever problems there were.

And while there have been lots of Catholics, over lots of generations, in lots and lots of different countries, all over the world, the simple fact is, EVERYTHING CATHOLIC regarding faith, morals, and dogma (at least, in concept) can be faithfully traced back to the New Testament of the Bible, to the original apostles, directly back to Jesus Christ, and/or to some highly significant Old Testament practice or principle.

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 All of which makes practical … rather than blind … FAITH the only necessity, for Catholics.

And speaking about practicality … the Catholic faith has a sacrament or a prayer for just about everyone, at any stage in life, for defeat, for triumph, for sickness, for health, for children or adults, family or friends, single or married, for life, and for death … with a particular emphasis on preparation for the imminent end of life. 

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During the course of my initial research, I amassed a huge volume (about 1 gigabyte) of carefully catalogued and organized Catholic resource materials … the best of the last 2000 years of Catholic scholarship and theology, plus some current day presentations that pull it all together into a “point and click simple” and ready to run package.

 If you would like a copy of my Catholic Resource CD, send me an email with a postal shipping address, and I’ll get one out to you right away. A limited supply of the CD’s are presently available for free.

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Blessings and Peace, to you and yours.

Doug Lawrence