Skip to comments.Old Testament Law (vanity)
Posted on 11/21/2011 12:43:59 PM PST by Former Fetus
I am getting ready to start a series in my Sunday school class on the Feasts of the Lord, as described in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus.
We are Southern Baptists, but there are 3 Seven Day Adventists who attend my class. I know what's coming: we are going to get tangled up with discussing whether or not Christians must follow Old Testament Law. I know the SDAs worship on Saturdays, and at least these 3 people claim to eat kosher (although it seems that to them it just means avoiding pork).
I would appreciate any suggestions as to how to get ready. How much of the Old Testament Law do SDAs follow? Why not 100%? Aren't we "free from the Law"? Why do we keep the Ten Commandments but ignore the rest of the Law? I know all these issues, and more, are going go come up so any suggestions on how to handle them will be very welcome.
I am just trying to make sure the next few weeks are better than the year we spent studying Revelation: the tension with the SDAs got to be so bad that half of my class stopped coming! I had adult students crying in class!
This is complicated, and I’ve come to blows multiple times with atheists who argue that Christians are hypocrites who don’t follow their religion’s commandments. They point out to me that Jesus said “I have not come to abolish the Law, nor the prophets.”
My interpretation is that the ritual obligations and punishments were abolished, not the rules in of themselves. Loosely put, it’s still a sin to do 100 men in a bathhouse, you just can’t stone them to death.
Old Testament is the Law, the New Testament is Grace.
Because of Jesus we are free from the Law, we are Saved by Grace not the Law.
You are the teacher, keep control of the class. When the others are the teacher then they can direct the class they way they want.
Jesus was clear about the Old Testament commandments vs New Testament commandments.
Good luck, pray before class and teach in Grace.
Rituals were ended when Jesus was Crucified. The temple curtain was torn from top to bottom to open the temple and end ritual.
That’s basically what I said, but the atheists I’ve debated seem totally unable to process this idea.
I know all these issues, and more, are going go come up so any suggestions on how to handle them will be very welcome.
The epistle to the Hebrews might be a good place to go. The Old Covenant cultic order from Moses is there said to be "obsolete and ready to pass away".
Also, the Didache, a short manual of belief and church order dating from the time of the apostles or very shortly thereafter, recommends avoiding those their fast days. (As someone I listened to last week said, there something to offend everybody in the Didache.)
Now of course Jews (who don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus) have different ways of interpreting the OT. Some rabbinical commentaries state that you ought to simply follow whatever parts of the Mosaic Law seem the most moral and ethical to you.
You could follow the Official Free Republic Religion Forum (OFRRF) approach.
Ridicule them, laugh at them, call them names.
Look at Acts Chapter 15, where the Council at Jerusalem makes a ruling under the auspices of the Holy Spirit as to whether Christians, especially Gentiles, have to also observe the Law.
In Galatians, Paul, who was a Jew’s Jew, studying under Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin, says the the purpose of the Law was to be a schoolteacher to bring us to Christ.
Man is incapable of keeping the Law. The purpose of the Law is to show our need of a Savior.The Pharisees thought they had it down, but Jesus tweaked them real good every time they looked down their santicmonious noses at Him.
Jesus did not do away with the Law—it still stands. But he overruled the Law with a New Covenant based in grace and forgiveness secured by His sacrifice on the cross. He was able to do that because God was in Him and He in God the Father. The Holy Spirit was in Him, and so He was in the Holy Spirit as well.
Jesus followed the Golden Rule—He has the gold, so He makes the rules.
Man is condemned by the Law, but can be forgiven of the burden by Christ in a personal act of faith. Upon that hinges the freedom of the believer in Jesus Christ.
My close friend is a SDA and he adheres to the dietary restrictions (all - not just pork) and the Saturday sabbath. With regard to the dietary restrictions I always point out Mk. 7:18-19 and he admits he cannot reconcille these verses with his Church’s position. He still follows the dietary restrictions regardless, just to be loyal to his Church.
Until one recognizes that the central purpose of the Law was to inform the Jew that they did not, could not, keep the Law and be driven to the shelter of Messiah (remember the "tutor to lead us to Christ"?), a person is often persuaded that they are pleasing God with these attempts. Instead of recognizing that He demanded perfection or destruction (or satisfaction by His Son), these folks often think any efforts they make toward the Law are better than nothing. This completely misses the point of the Gospel.
But, where to start? Three weeks of background.
 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
No, that’s only for Mormons. I’m not the guy claiming that black people are cursed and can never go to Heaven.
A simple answer is that the Old Testament was only for the Jews. The New Testament is for everyone.
In fact, I’m not certain that non-Hebrews are able to fully understand what is written in the Torah. It was written in the Hebrew tongue for the Hebrew heart, and does not translate well into Roman languages.
The New Testament makes clear which of the Old Testament law should continue to be adhered to. 1 Corinthians 10 speaks to the matter of eating.
We required a Savior because The Law was insufficient. We are instructed to “Go and sin no more”.
1) God is a God of order not chaos. What is sin yesterday is sin today. The definition of sin that I uses is doing anything outside of God's will.
2) God's grace an mercy does free us from the Law of Sin (which a just God must punish) and it's consequence Death (as in Death eternal)
3) God provided to his people laws to guide them and educate them because of their spiritual immaturity.
4) God's laws provide a foundation of understanding of right and wrong. They should be used to teach us what God considers sin.
5) Man in the form of the Jewish church leaders (Pharisees and Sadducee's) went beyond God's laws and created an additional burden on the people. For example, a tailor with a forgotten pin in his cloak is carrying a burden and thus working on the Sabbath.
6) Those of us who are under God's Grace are held to a higher standard and God expects greater maturity from us. He expects us to be GOOD and RIGHT - not just LEGAL.
The situation I present is one of the beggar asking for food. Our Laws say that we as citizens of the US are under no obligation to feed the poor. But God calls us to be mercifully and have compassion on the beggar and feed him.
We as Christians should be seeking the heart of God and working to remove sin from our lives. We can never achieve a state where we are free of sin on our own, and we need the sacrifice of Jesus to cover our sins. But we also should be trying to live as Jesus showed us.
“It was written in the Hebrew tongue for the Hebrew heart, and does not translate well into Roman languages.”
Pretty much. Hebrew is totally alien to the Indo-European languages and an exact translation often can’t be done.
Just point out right back to them that the very next thing Jesus said was "...not an iota, not a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." Jesus' incarnation and crucifixion accomplished all that the dietary, cleanliness and ceremonial aspects of the law were intended to do - point the way to Jesus. This accomplishment was confirmed by Jesus on the cross when he said, "It is finished".
I agree with you.
I believe Christ IS the Sabbath.
Matthew 10:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29...and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Don’t you find it amazing they are so angry about a being they say isn’t real?
About a millions years ago there was a fellow in our church who was a street preacher.
Every Friday he would go down town and preach up a storm.
Every Friday a guy claiming to be an atheist would come and hassle him.
It went on for months, so the guy from our church stepped off the platform he was standing on and said “ok, you don’t believe God is real so here is what will we do. I’ll kneel here in the street and ask God to prove to you He is real. I’ll ask for something dramatic. I am going to ask Him to strike you blind.”
The guy started screaming “why would you want me to be blind”. Our friend said, “now we are at a starting point. Lets talk”.
“Dont you find it amazing they are so angry about a being they say isnt real?”
Well...the argument they always give me is “We’re not mad at God, only his followers.” They sure seem p*ssed at him to me.
Plus, some of the stuff in The Torah doesn't make any sense. Just being honest.
That is why I believe The Torah is God's covenant with His original people, and not really for us to understand.
Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.
2 John 1:9-11
New King James Version (NKJV)
9 Whoever transgresses[a] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
Indeed. The atheist websites I’ve seen are a scream. One of their favorite passages is where Elisha calls on a pack of bears to kill some taunting boys. “Oh, God is a scumbag! He had little kids mauled by bears!”
But no. If you read it in the original Hebrew (keeping in mind as well that it’s an archaic language with numerous differences from modern Hebrew), the boys are actually teenagers or young men, not children.
Hey... Been through this in my Bible study class also, but my memory is a little hazy. Comprehensive answer is complex: A good place to start is Acts 15; the council at Jerusalem was faced with a similar question, and their definitive, scriptural answer was that new believers were bound only by three rituals from the Old Testament: abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from ingestion of blood/meat of strangled animals and from all forms of sexual immorality. Most believers would also agree that any direct teachings of Jesus or the apostles affirming OT rules mean they are still valid. Of course, there would seem to be things missing (murder) so how do we get these? I would say (Paul’s writings, esp. Romans), we are free from the letter of the law, but bound by the transformation in ourselves by the Holy Spirit which through our concscience guides us in accordance with God’s eternal moral law... Thus, we do not attempt to codify every little situation as in the OT, but instead recognize God’s timeless moral precepts (e.g. Jesus two key commandments). Various theological arguments over the centuries, use variations of this... This means we must separate moral precepts from ritual (cermonial), and civil obligations... scriptural basis exists, for example, based on Paul’s teachings (e.g. Hebrews 9 & 10) cermonial law is temporary, but God’s guidance on morality does not change... Sorry, no time for more right now.
That being said, we as Christians do fall short, in that we have adopted practices that are not biblical. Early Christians observed the Sabbath on Saturday, but also celebrated the resurrection of Yeshua on Sunday. At no time, and in no place have we been specifically told to worship on Sunday. Early Christians celebrated the Jewish feasts, but stopped when told to do so by Rome. The resurrection was celebrated along with passover, until that point in time.
Easter, another name for the celebration of Ishtar, replaced the resurrection celebration with its exchanging of colored eggs, fertility celebration (rabbits)etc. If Christ was conceived in the sixth month at the time of the angels visitation to Mary, shortly before she left to see her cousin Elizabeth, then we should be celebrating the advent in June or July (I also believe this is the time of year when shepherds abide in their fields by night). Since god seems to fulfill prophecy according to his festivals, it might be possible that Yeshua was born on Pentecost (first fruits), and the Holy Spirit given 30 some odd years later. Once any Christian puts himself under the law, it is hard to get them to realize that only the shed blood of Yeshua saves, not the shed blood plus something in addition. I had a great uncle who knew nothing about the sacrifice of Christ for salvation. He was SDA and believed that going to church on Sunday was the mark of the beast, and he was saved because he observed the Sabbath on Saturday. Yet I also have another uncle who is SDA, but knows the Lord, he just observed the Sabbath on Saturday.
All Protestant denominations are theologically rooted in the Reformation which was aimed at truthful interpretation of Scripture.
I would read up on the theologies of the Reformers to learn about the issues and the differences.
Matthew Henry wrote commentaries in the early 18th century that were well-regarded that would be valuable, I happen to just have researched Numbers 7 in his commentary. I highly recommend reading his commentaries on Numbers 7. Numbers 7 is a very good example of the perfectly elegant relationship between the Old and New Testaments that God established in His Word.
If you read his commentaries on Leviticus, I’m sure you’ll find them as helpful.
While the reformers differed with Roman Catholicism on many issues, there are many chapters and verses throughout Scripture that were interpreted very consistently all the way back to the early Church fathers. Most Christians would have agreed on many topics up until the 18th century when Arminianism and related theologies really started taking hold and going in theological directions completely contrary to what was always held to be true. Too often modern Christians have never been taught what was the generally accepted Christian theology regarding Old Testament doctrine throughout the history of the Church. Not having the benefit of correct exegesis, they can be taught all sorts of heresies by pastors who are very misguided themselves.
To see the Matthew Henry commentary side-by-side with the KJV, I look at in here:
On the right side of the page you’ll see a link - Show resources.
Click on that and Matthew Henry’s commentaries will be at the top of the list.
Even SDA scholars don't agree with this anymore, and admit that Sunday worship started at or just before the end of the Apostolic age. Ignatius of Antioch (+ AD 107), who knew some of the Apostles personally, congratulates his readers for "no longer Sabbathing".
****The Ten Commandments, written by God, with his finger, in STONE, placed IN the ark, and so holy, if touched, it meant instant death.****
The 10 commandments were destroyed when the people rose up to play. Thrown down and shattered. This was after the people had promised “All that the LORD commands we will do.”
Moses had to carve a new set which were placed in a coffin to show the law was dead even then. The word Ark is the same word as coffin. Check Strongs for proof. You might say the LAW was stillborn.
From that day on the people just went through the motions of obedience.
Jesus in Mark's Gospel Chapter 7, explicitly dismisses the old dietary laws: "Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile."
Paul comments on this in 2nd Colossians: "Therefore, let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."
Go to khouse.org
They have some freeware, but it would be worth your while to go to the online store, click on the “Basic Bible Studies” and scroll down to “The Feasts of Israel”.
They have several different formats. If you have time, the DVD would be easiest. You would need to pause frequently for questions.
Missler really has the subject nailed and will make your study go much easier.
If you don’t have Law, how can you define sin?
The Didache (14) instructs: "On the Lord's Day come together and break bread. And give thanks (offer the Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure".
***Dont insult my intelligence and include the ten commandments, all ten, with the other ceremonial Mosaic laws.***
St Paul considered the five books of Moses to be THE LAW.
Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
Rom 2:18 And knowest [his] will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
Rom 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
Rom 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
Rom 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Rom 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2Cr 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:
2Cr 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
God’s Holy Day Plan
The annual cycle of the celebration of the festivals and Holy Days reminds Christ’s disciples that He is working out His plan of extending salvation from sin and death and offering the gift of eternal life in the family of God to all humanitypast, present and future.
Holy Day Calendar
The seven annual Holy Days are annual Sabbaths. They are holy convocations, or commanded assemblies, of God’s people. These days are holy because they are sanctified (set apart) by God. He commands His people to assemble for worship and to learn about Him and His plan. His command goes further than worship only; it includes fellowshipping and rejoicing together (Leviticus:23:1-4; Deuteronomy:14:23-26; Nehemiah:8:1-12).
The New Testament record shows the continuity of observance of these days by Jesus Christ and the Church. Jesus observed these festivals, and we as His followers are told to walk as He walked (John:7:8-14; 1 John:2:6). The New Testament Church began on an annual festivalthe Day of Pentecost (Acts:2:1-4). The apostles and disciples of the early Church continued to observe these festivals long after Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts:18:21; 20:16; 27:9; 1 Corinthians:5:8). Paul upholds their observance and presents them as continuing “shadows” or outlines of the great events in God’s plan of salvation that are yet to be fulfilled (Colossians:2:16-17). He also instructed the congregation in Corinth, “Let us keep the feast” (1 Corinthians:5:8).
Through the observance of these feasts, God’s people focus on and are reminded throughout the year of the work of Jesus the Messiah. It is through preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God and the divine calling to a new way of life (John:6:44) that we see the building up of the Church as the family of God. Through Christ as our focal point, we begin to understand the special meaning behind the annual feasts.
During the course of the seven annual festivals are seven Holy Days, which are annual Sabbaths. These Holy Days are the first and last days of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Although the Passover is a festival, it is not an annual Sabbath.
The plan of salvation as revealed in the Holy Scriptures is pictured in the meaning of these seven annual festivals....
or: The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan
First you need to decide if these people are willing to hear the truth. If not, keep them out of your class or at least get them to agree to be quiet and if they don’t then get them out.
If they are open to the truth, ask them why GOd asked them to celebrate the Sabbath and any other feast. The cycle primarily reminds the people of God of what GOd has done. His mighty acts. They are also an instruction for us and potentially in some cases show forth mighty acts God will do (Feast of trumpets pre-figuring second coming.)
So if Jesus rested in the tomb on Holy Saturday was He keeping the sabbath? If so, can any future sabbath keeping possibly be celebrated without specific reference to that? he rested from all His work of salvation.
Per Orthodox theology the Sabbath IS still on the seventh day but it is the Lord’s death that is celebrated because that was His greatest accomplishment. While His resurrection is celebrated the next day. You decide which is a bigger deal. The old creation or the new?
No one said you didn't have the Law. But the Law is not supreme--it is subordinate to Jesus's atonement for ALL sin on the cross. Sin exists whether man believes in it or defines it or chooses to believe it does not exist, becasue sin is the judgment of God on a fallen race.
The issue is that every human being has the freedom to accept or to reject that atonement. Without that atonement,there is no forgiveness of sin, no matter how good you are or how well you follow the Law. Since a human being is a sinful being, a human being cannot fulfill all of the Law at all times.
See Romans Chapter 1 for the reason why no one born of woman has an excuse not to know about this atonement.
You are God's authority in the class... released to serve under your pastor's care and oversight...
...Not submitted to the whims and opinions of the "doctrine cops" from other streams of faith...
Matthew 5:17 ... passage context
Romans 14:17.. in chapter context
1 Timothy 4:4-5
atheists will always be hostile....
And will never get it...
...until the Holy Spirit enables them to see... (2 Cor 4:4)
Stand meekly--but firm
The abolition of Lord's holy days and sabbath by traditional Christianity are not provable through scripture.
Tradition is the ONLY justification for not observing the days that the Lord God created.
There are three types of law: ceremonial, civil and moral law. After Christ, the only one left enforced was moral law. The 10 Commandments are still applicable. The civil and ceremonial laws may or may not be observed. Israel may still enforce some civil law from OT times, that’s fine. Ceremonial law, such as the dietary ones, may be observed but don’t need to be. Christ has allowed whoever wants to observe those laws as well as those who do not. The point was not to judge or persecute those who want to observe laws against milk or pork, etc. If the SDAs want to restrict their diets, that is fine, but they are not to condem those who do not follow those restrictions. If you are leading the class, i recommend that you broach this topic at the start, lay down how much time you will address that topic, be done with it and move on. It sounds like it could derail an otherwise fascinating discussion. God be with you. : )
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
But then he adds in verse 31:
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Not sure where this all fits. Seems like Paul didn't feel right discarding the law, but felt it wasn't required for justification.
|Seventh-day Adventists - Wikipedia|
|Seventh-day Adventists - Catholic Answers|
the question FF poses will never be solved as long as people feel free to reject the teaching authority of the Church.
in Matthew 28, Jesus is recorded as giving the Church AUTHORITY to teach and baptize.
man feels free to reject the teaching authority of the Church and decide that they can come to truth by reading the Scriptures alone.
of course, this approach denies the role the Holy Spirit plays in leading the Church to all truth and it also denies our responsibility to learn from the Church what truth is.
so, where are we left with this approach? The Sabbath is a great example, one person tells us we don’t have to keep the Sabbath and quotes the Bible to support their position. Then a SDA comes along and says we MUST keep the Sabbath and accuses the Church of being pagan, quoting the same Bible to support their position.
neither has any AUTHORITY to teach, both are merely giving their opinion and both can’t be correct.
the only way we can KNOW we have truth is by keeping the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith that has been taught and believed by Christians for 2,000 years.
heretics such as the SDA that attack the Church are false prophets leading many astray that Jesus told us would arise.
that Christians never kept the Sabbath and always worshipped on the first day of the week means nothing to these lost souls. that some who seperated from the Church in the 16th century retain the worship on the first day is wonderful.
but the bottom line is one of AUTHORITY.
The Church is the pillar of truth given to us to teach us truth, all those who have ears listen.
As a Jewish person, I would state that they are not Jewish and thus not bound by the Covenant of Mt. Sinai, but rather the 7 laws of Noah that binds all people.
This does include some dietary restrictions.
I understand some Christians deem themselves honorary Jewish people of some sort; logically dietary restrictions would follow.
“Plus, some of the stuff in The Torah doesn’t make any sense. Just being honest.”
Well, that’s because the written Torah (”written law”) is only part of the story. Parts are essentially an index.
It has to be read with the Talmud (”oral law”).
The 10 Commandments are what we called "timeless truths"...general principles that will never change. They were spoken to all Israel.
The rest of the law given in Exodus was given afterwards, only to Moses because the people were afraid to hear it. This further detail was given about how to specifically walk out those timeless truths in the 10 Commandments for their particular culture and time period.
Example: "Love the Lord your God" (from the 10 Commandments) would involve at that time building a Tabernacle and being led by the priests.
However, during David's time 400 years later the worship was changed and added to. The Temple replaced the Tabernacle, expanded musical worship was introduced and a King now would lead.
The forms of the law changed...however, the timeless truth...the 10 Commandments... did not.
Today the forms of the law continue to change even as believers adapt their law to their culture. But still those timeless truths remain and will remain as long as the earth remains.
I was taught that Christian Sunday worship dated to immediately after Christ's death. That some early Christians were Hebrew and some were not. The Hebrews still kept their Shabbat but the non-Hebrew Christians did not, so they scheduled worship services for the morning after the end of the Shabbat so the Hebrew Christians could attend.
So, law is optional for Christians?