Why don’t we give Old Testament punishments today?

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A non-believer asked this question:  If the Bible is infallible, and God never changes, should we stone people today for violating Old Testament law as directed in the 15th chapter of Numbers?

The simple answer is No, this is an oversimplification and it ignores context of who is speaking to whom and under what circumstances.

At times, God gave specific instructions to specific groups of people because of what they were doing and the situation man created at that time; and these situations are spelled out. The book of Numbers records specifically Israel’s exodus from Egypt and God’s directives to Israel.

God is giving detailed instructions to the Israelites. It’s clear they are going into the wilderness of Sinai. Nowhere does it say everyone now and in the future should go wander in the wilderness; it is clear the directive is to this group only.

To be clear, it is God’s people and their situation that is changing, not God.

Think of it this way. If I’m teaching one of my kids to drive and we come up to a traffic signal and the light is red, I’m going to say stop or you’ll get a ticket. If I give my child a driving lesson the next day and we approach the traffic signal and it is green, I would tell my child to drive through the intersection. Would it be odd for him to ask me why I changed? I didn’t change, the situation in which my child was changed.

What are your thoughts?

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