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Letters January 2017

Directives On Treating Foreigners

If we read the Old Testament promises to Israel in the way Don Plett has encouraged us to in the last issue [Oct. 2016] of The Messenger, we also need to read the Old Testament passages where God gave very specific directives as to how the people of Israel were to treat the foreigners in their land.

The taking of Palestinian land for Israeli settlements is one example of what has been happening in recent years that does not fit well with the Old Testament’s focus on how to treat the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner with love, mercy, and justice. We know God had strong words for the His people about failing on that.

Another question I have is can we apply what the Old Testament says about the people of Israel in the Old Testament to the secular state of Israel today? Maybe some Bible scholar can help clarify that for us.

– Irma Janzen, Winnipeg, Man.

A Great Article!

I have just read Paul Walker’s article titled: Resurrecting Our Belief in the Resurrection of the Body [Nov.-Dec. 2016]. How encouraging to find an article like this in The Messenger! He hit it right on when he says that the point is not “going to heaven when we die,” but the resurrection of the body after heaven, when Jesus comes back.

This is the promise of the Father to all who believe in his Son, Jesus. I think that for a long time we’ve largely missed it when we thought he meant eternal life in heaven. That was, at least, what I was taught growing up, and what I also taught our children.

From the very beginning in the garden, Adam was not told that he would go to hell if he ate of the fruit of the tree, but that he would die! His physical body would die. And we’ve been dying ever since.

Eating of the fruit was, I believe, when he took into himself—or fell into the doctrine of—the serpent, the belief that he could have life by his own works, knowing good from evil, and choosing the good, instead of continuing in the life freely given by God, lived in innocence of both good and evil!

Jesus repeatedly said that he came to bring life. Could it be that that life is best lived with the knowledge of our innocence restored, in the death of Jesus, where all sin and death died with him! That that life is not by the law, which is the platform from which knowledge of good and evil operates.

Glory! Thanks for a great article, Pastor Walker.

– Helen Teichroeb, Grande Prairie, Alta.

What To Do With Our Dead Bodies?

I enjoyed the article in the November/December issue [Resurrecting Our Belief…]. I secretly hoped that the author would comment on what to do with our dead bodies. As I anticipate my own demise I wonder if I should opt for economy (very Mennonite) by cremation, or burial without preservation (not pretty or suitable for viewing), which is what a large portion of the world does by necessity and Jews do by custom/faith.  The most expensive form is the embalming and casket route.

Does the disposition of my body affect my resurrection?  I hope not.  The skeletal remains of those in the catacombs I suspect would echo my query.

Great questions to discuss and explore. My first job was at a cemetery, which led me to want to avoid what I saw as excess (cement vaults, carved walnut caskets, large headstones, etc.).

I have yet to decide on options for myself. My family reminds me that my preferences may have no impact on what happens to my body anyway. The topic remains intriguing.

– Gordon Dyck, Steinbach, Man.

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