Daily Archives: September 16, 2015

The Ox Goad and the Cattle Prod

The Pharisee Rabbis of the New Testament era thought of their position in regard to the Law as being between the ox-goad and the cattle-prod. They said that the Law was like a yoke to restrain you from doing what you wanted to do, and the cattle prod was to prod you into doing what you didn’t want to do. Unfortunately, that is the way some people see it today.

Jesus said: “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no case enter the Kingdom of God,” Matthew 5:20.

Misery of Keeping the “Law”

You see, their concept of the Law was so miserable that they devised ways to legitimize their own interpretations of it. They began to teach that God had given Moses two Laws on Sinai, one was written and the other oral. Now it was the written Law that caused the problems for them, so they decreed that the so-called Oral Law took precedence over the written Law. This “Oral Law,” so they say, had been handed down to them through the Rabbis to them, and so they were the custodians of the “law.”

Jesus Refuted Their “Oral Law”

Note that the passage that follows Matthew 5:20 Jesus begins to teach about these things that they claimed had been passed down from “them of old time,” Matthew 5:21-48. He refutes their teachings by His own interpretation: “But I say unto you…,” verses 22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44.

Matthew chapter 6 continues with His teachings against those of the Pharisees, the hypocrites, verses 2, 5, 16. These hypocritical “Laws” of the Pharisees were also called the “traditions” and/or “the traditions of the elders.”

He also confronts their hypocrisy in Matthew 15:7; 16:3; 22:18; 23:13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29; 24:51; Mark 7:5-13. Luke 11:39-52; 12:1.

The Law as seen by the Pharisees was truly bondage.

However, Jesus attested to and confirmed the written Law even in disputing with the devil saying: “It is written…,” Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.

I Timothy 1:8: “But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully.”

Romans 7:12: “The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”

So what is the problem? Carnality.

Verse 14: “For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”

So what is the cure? The Law of the Spirit/Breath of Life in Christ Jesus.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit,” Romans 8:1-4.

The Curse of the Law?

Does this give us a free pass to sin? Not at all. Jesus came to condemn sin in the flesh. We can be rid of sin in the flesh by crucifixion, mortifying the deeds of the body; read the rest of Romans chapter 8. There is victory over sin in the Holy Spirit of Christ. This does not do away with the Law, but fulfills it without the yoke and the ox goad. It is true freedom.

Warning: Dangerous Buddhism Doctrine

Christianity in the USA was once so strong that there was no room for other religions. However, within the last generation, various and sundry Eastern religions have invaded our nation and our children are now being inundated with their teachings. Some call it the “New Age” and others just use it to ridicule and contradict Christianity. We can no longer be ignorant of what these religions teach.

Hinduism and Buddhism both teach that animals are equal to humans and humans are no better than animals.

This becomes a veritable worship of animals. Some aspects of this is evident in the so-called “Animal Rights Movement” and also in some aspects of environmental issues. As Christians, we do not abuse animals, neither do we worship them, but rather take responsibility for them and the proper care of the environment.

In Hinduism Yoga emphasizes vegetarian diets. which may be good for our health if adequate nutrition can be supplied in other ways. However, to go vegan on the basis of the worship of animals is idolatry.  Vegetarian diets may be good for our health, but they are not more moral than diets which include meats, that is, as specified in the Bible, in moderation.

Yoga also stresses meditation. Meditation on the Holy Scriptures and prayer are good and necessary for Christian life and spiritual health. However, meditation otherwise can be merely a waste of time, or at worst worship of idols.

“In Buddhist doctrine*

“Animals have always been regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient** beings. Furthermore, animals possess Buddha*** nature (according to the Mahāyāna school) and therefore potential for enlightenment. Moreover, the doctrine of rebirth held that any human could be reborn as animal, and any animal could be reborn as a human. An animal might be a reborn dead relative, and anybody who looked far enough back through their series of lives might come to believe every animal to be a distant relative. The Buddha expounded that sentient** beings currently living in the animal realm have been our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, friends in past rebirths. One could not, therefore, make a hard distinction between moral rules applicable to animals and those applicable to humans; ultimately humans and animals were part of a single family. They are all interconnected.”

*[From websitehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animals_in_Buddhism]

**Webster’s Dictionary: “sentient: Capable of sensation and consciousness; experiencing sensation and feeling… the mind.”

***”Buddha nature” in this context  means “god-nature.”

Making Animals Equal to Mankind is Idolatry

This doctrine, along with Hinduism and other religions, is also idolatry in that it worships the creation rather than the Creator, Romans 1:20-23. Making animals on the same level as humans is denying that God created Man in His image and gave him dominion over all Flesh, Genesis 1:28. Making animals and humans as interchangeable through reincarnation is blasphemy against the image of God, which is unique to Mankind.

Man’s dominion was to be that of a shepherd, not a tyrant, as taking Father God, the Great Shepherd, for an example. Mankind does not own this world, but rather is given stewardship over it. Therefore, Mankind is accountable and responsible. But under these false religions, Mankind feels he can act like an animal and not be accountable to God for it.

“It is appointed unto Man once to die, and after this, the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27. We will have to give account of our stewardship. There is no such thing as re-incarnation into some kind of animal form.