Question & Answer Forum

Why did the Lord forbid seething a kid in its mother’s milk?

This is stated three times in the Law (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21). Twice this ritual is contrasted with giving their first fruits to the Lord (Exodus 23:19; 34:26). The other time, this prohibition precedes the statement of their responsibility to bring their tithes to the Lord and to eat before Him at their three harvest festivals. Their tithes, their festivals, and their first fruits all expressed their indebtedness to the Lord. Their fruitfulness in the land depended solely on His power.

This lends credence to the suggestion that seething a young goat in its mother’s milk was a heathen practice. The heathen attributed the prosperity of their flocks to this superstitious ritual, which had no evidence to support its effectiveness.

Believers in the business world are wise to utilize every proven means of success in their work, but never to depend on them, no matter how effective. The Lord wants us to learn dependence on Him in all our endeavors.

D. Oliver


What is the significance of “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Psalm 110:4)?

Aaronic priests served in an earthly sanctuary with repeated sacrifices under an old covenant. By comparison and contrast, Christ’s priesthood is linked with a heavenly sanctuary, a final sacrifice, and an eternal covenant (Hebrews 7-10). Israel’s high priest transferred his office to his son. Our Great High Priest (4:14) is unique. Melchisedec, like the Son of God, did not derive His office from ancestors nor delivered it to successors, since his genealogy and posterity are not recorded (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:3). The Bible’s first priest, Melchisedec, is from a mold into which no one else fits. The original (the mold), in God’s purpose, is His Son.

Melchisedec was both a priest and king. The meaning of his name and title, King of Righteousness, King of Peace (7:2) is significant (Psalm 72:3; Isaiah 60:17). He appears after the Bible’s first war and battle, involving a confederacy of kings (Genesis 14; Psalm 2:2). He assures Abram of God’s ability to give him the land of promise. All of this reminds us of a coming day when our Lord will be a priest on His throne (Zechariah 6:13). Until then, we enjoy the benefit of His priesthood.

The single, defining act of Melchisedec’s priesthood was blessing Abram (Hebrews 7:1). By lifting Abram’s vision to “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth,” he strengthened the pilgrim’s faith to withstand the coming trial.

Assured by an oath of the immutable God (Hebrews 7:21), our Lord’s priesthood “after the order of Melchisedec” is non-transferable, eternal, millennial, and spiritual, strengthening faith in the Unseen.

D. Oliver

Are believers today “priests after the order of Melchisedec”?

We are kings and priests, and we will reign with Christ in His kingdom (Revelation 1:6; 5:10). Like the Lord’s, our priesthood is eternal (Revelation 22:3); however, unlike His, our priesthood is derived. The Lord Jesus, then, is uniquely designated as “a priest after the order of Melchisedec.” We have no record of Melchisedec’s offering sacrifices. No one shared in his priesthood, either to function with him or to assist him. Solely, Melchisedec stood between the invisible and the visible world to meet the need of Abram, the man of faith.

In assembly gatherings (Hebrews 13:15), we offer the sacrifice of praise. Our offerings are spiritual (1 Peter 2:5). We are holy priests, offering sacrifices to God, and royal priests, making known God’s praises (verses 5, 9). These are not two different kinds of priesthood, one after the pattern of Aaron and the other after the order of Melchisedec. It is one priesthood which takes its character from our Priest. He offered Himself once for all; we offer our praise continually. He blesses His people, bringing God into view; we bless others by showing forth God’s praises. We derive the character, dignity, and value of our priesthood from our Great High Priest, but the Scriptures reserve the title, “a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec” for the Lord Jesus alone.

D. Oliver

What is “the gift of God” in Ephesians 2:8?

This has often been discussed. Philippians 1:29 states that it “was given” to the Philippians to believe on Christ. That is not the teaching of Ephesians 2:8, however. The grammar doesn’t seem to support this. If the antecedent of “that” (“that not of yourselves”) were faith (Greek: “pistis,” feminine), it would be feminine. Faith is not the theme of the passage, so the context would not point to that, either.

The passage deals with grace, but saying that grace is not of ourselves is redundant. It is evidently of God and, by definition, undeserved.

The gracious provisions of salvation (verses 4-6) will be unfolded eternally (verse 7). Being saved, resulting from grace and received by faith, is not accomplished by works, but by God Himself. This is further supported by verse 10, because they were God’s workmanship. What grace made them – as a result of their being saved – had the imprint of God’s hand. He did the work.

Simply put, their being saved was the gift of God.

D. Oliver