Here’s a reply I wrote on the topic of “stoning” in the Bible and why God is still perfectly good even though He commanded the Israelites to stone people to death.
[quote author=marie glen link=topic=15379.msg215918#msg215918 date=1572716217]
Now let me get really, really what some would call negative, for that one tiny nation, Israel - which ancient ethnicity Jesus said would not fade away from the world or age - why was crime dealt with by stoning? Is it because every speck of selfishness and actually imperfection, is like a virulent contagious disease? And is a bottomless pit of potential? Being the OPPOSITE of God/Life who â€śis perfectâ€ť thus perfection? (Matthew 5:48.) By stoning, no one has to come in contact with the contagious disease.
To preface, the Lord made specific laws for the Israelites under Moses. Leviticus 10:11. As a disclaimer, since we are not under that law, there is no commandment for us to stone people in the way the nation of Israel would stone people. We are under the Law of Love now :HeartThrob:
With that said, marie glen, you make a good point about sin being disease. Was searching the forum for the topic of "stoning" since it's been on my mind. The way I see it, God is perfect. However, sometimes our own human brains, it can be tricky thinking of a justification for things that the LORD has done. Part of my own human brain thinks "Why would a loving God stone people to death", so the other part of my human brain is jumping in here to provide a justification to myself.
Numbers 15:32 talks about a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Later in the chapter
Numbers 15:35-36 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.
Since during OT times, following the Sabbath rules was the Law of God, Ezekiel 20:19.
But look how they stone him "outside of the camp". It's like if someone has an infectious disease, you have to stay away from them biologically or else you would get infected. Maybe a modern example, but it's like how people would quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the Lord were to kick him out of the camp and not kill him, then that man may starve to death in the wilderness. So the "stoning" may be mercy killing. That man would have lived with guilt for their sins, and since this was before Jesus Christ came, without a permanent way to wash away those sins through faith in Him. There was animal sacrifice, but that man by himself, it would be hard.
Also, that man may have gotten taken by other nations as a slave. (God’s ideal is a world without slavery, verses in the Bible talk about God trying to have slave owners punish their slaves less ultimately to no punishment at all, but it's a gradual process, a slave-free world is God’s ultimate goal, but He has to wait for us humans to catch up to His divine understanding). Maybe this man would have joined them to do evil, maybe as revenge against God.
Maybe God knew that the Israelites wanted to kill that man anyways and they would have thought up a more torturous painful method of killing people, like a crucifixion.
Start quote The act of putting to death by nailing or binding to a cross. Among the modes of Capital Punishment known to the Jewish penal law, crucifixion is not found End quote
What's very interesting is that crucifixion is not found anywhere in Jewish penal law! In fact, based on this site, it was from Aurelius Victor Cćsar under Roman penal law that crucifixion was used.
Yet, during OT times, God knew about crucifixion. Psalm 22:16 "they pierce my hands and my feet." https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2022&version=NIV
So, God could have commanded the Israelites to crucify people if He wanted to, yet He didn't. Why is that?
I think God chose stoning over crucifixion so people would die quickly. For the Eternal Torment crowd, stoning is hard to justify. Because if someone dies, then oops, guess that was their last chance and they're tortured forever. That's cruel.
Even with the Conditional Immortality crowd, where, if someone dies, oops, guess they're destroyed forever. That's cruel.
For the ET and CI people, they ultimately have a cruel version of stoning towards this Numbers 15:32 man.
But for us, the Universal Reconciliation crowd, we know that people who die go to Sheol in the OT. And post-moterm salvation exists. Yes. everyone in Sheol will believe in Christ to be made clean of their sins.
Psalm 16:10 You will not leave my soul in Sheol.
But this man, who went into Sheol, maybe he was sleeping until Christ died and resurrected? Beds exist in Sheol, so when people die, they may simply be asleep.
Daniel 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth
Psalm 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
As the Lord can predict many events, maybe He predicted that this man would have suffered more being alive. The Lord may keep people alive if their suffering on Earth can be useful for other people or themselves. But it seems like, for this man, the Lord had accomplished what He wanted to and thus made the command for the Israelites to stone him to death.
Surely the Lord knew that people would wonder in the future "Why was this man in Numbers 15 stoned to death?" If the Lord wanted to, He could have not written it down, yet here it is right in the Bible. So the Lord does not hide it. The Lord is confidant that what He did here was truly a good commandment.
I think, maybe the reason the Lord killed this man was to send a message? Specifically, that sin = death. For us here, that may be an obvious fact already. But for the people who lived thousands of years ago, that might have been a steep learning curve. So the Lord used this man as an example.
Maybe this man was going to die anyways. Maybe biologically he would have had a heart attack that killed him for the stress of his guilty. Maybe the Israelites would have killed him in a more brutal way. That part of my brain I mentioned above likes to think about different justifications to show that the Lord is good. Because the other part of my brain knows the truth that the Lord is indeed good.
To be honest, we won't know for sure until the Lord tells us. I look forward to that day, I certainly have a lot of questions to ask Him. But, any confusion with issues, I liken that to my own brain which is biologically flawed due to the decay of life just from sin in general.