Do we need to keep the commands and instructions of God that are found throughout the entire Bible, can we pick and choose the ones we want to obey, or perhaps are they done away with all together? Letís think about this for a moment.
The Eternal, the Creator of the universe, [Gen 1:1] [John 1:3] Who created us in His image, [Gen 1:26] does not change. [Heb 13:8] He is not bound by time as we are, in fact, He created the laws of time and physics. To Him a thousand years is as a day [Psalm 90:4] [2 Peter 3:8] and He exists throughout eternity. [Rev 1:8] Our frail human minds can not even grasp that. Why would He create laws only to change His mind later and do away with them? That is not in His character.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.(Matt 5:18) (KJV throughout unless noted)
To further illustrate this God says His feasts are to be kept for ever: [Ex 12:14, 17] [Lev 23:41]
We should keep in mind that our thoughts are not His thoughts. [Isa 55:8] . We do not measure up to God [1 Cor 1:25] and our natural-carnal mind is enmity (hatred) toward God. [Rom 8:7] Be aware that Satan deceives the WHOLE world. [Rev 12:9]
With this in mind, we should realize that we do not have all the answers. Much of what we know and think is not the TRUTH of our Heavenly Father and we are to worship Him in truth and spirit. [John 4:24] It is easy for us to say, as we have been taught, that we donít need to keep the instructions of the Lord. In essence, we do not need to obey our Creator. The commands were all done away with or that they only apply to those Jews. We Gentiles can get away with murder, (so to speak) so long as we believe in Him, we will be saved. We must realize that our Creator is not a respecter of people. [Acts 10:34] So the thought that God demands more of one group of people over another is foolishness.
Be forewarned about what the Bible says in regards to keeping His commands.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.(Matt 5:19)
Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?(Heb 10:28-29) (NKJV)
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.(Mark 7:7)
We will be judged for all our actions. [Rom 2:12] We need to learn to start taking responsibility for our actions.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.(1 John 2:3-7)
But still we say that keeping all the laws is just legalism, bondage, old law, and not for us, or done away with by the death of our Lord and Savior who died for our sins on the cross. We should keep in mind that back in Yeshuaís (Jesus) time, there was no "new" testament, and hence the foundation of His scriptural teachings was the "old" testament. As I study more I am amazed to see how the whole Bible is tied together in one complete book. It was man who separated it into two testaments. Many statements in one testament are based and expounded upon by passages and principles in the other!
It is helpful to know that is was Yeshua who gave the commands on mount Sinai.Yeshua said He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill. [Matt 5:17] We need to understand that the law was given to show us our sin [1 John 3:4] [Rom 7:8-9] thus showing what is right and wrong. [Rom 6:23] Yeshua did not sin and thus obeyed the law. [1 Peter 2:21-22] He came to fulfill the law and make it full of meaning, actually He further expounded upon and magnified the laws and gave us spiritual applications. [Matt 5:22, 28] [Matt 12:12]
We should not think that Godís laws are bondage. [See: Bond Servant] Or to think we can please Him and live peacefully with one another without them. We hold in high regard manís laws and expect them to be upheld. For a simplistic example we know that our traffic laws are for our protection. If many people didnít think they had to obey them, it would be dangerous to drive anywhere. We do expect the law to be on our side and want justice if we are wronged by our fellow man. Why do we think that the Creator of the universe, with wisdom surpassing our understanding, who has incomprehensible love for His creation [John 3:16] would create laws to enslave His people shortly after He freed them from the slavery and bondage in Egypt. That doesnít make sense.
We are Godís Creation!
We must have a little humility here and realize that we humans, as the Lordís creation, are subject to Him. He has the right to demand whatever He wishes of us. We need to thank God that He is loving, longsuffering and merciful. [Psalm 86:15; 118:4] We do not have the right to tell God that we do not have to obey Him and that we can worship Him how and when we see fit. Again, thank God that we have His instruction book to show us how to obey Him. [2 Tim 3:16]
Saved by works?
From the Bible we do know that our works can not save us. [Isa 64:6] So we need to understand that obeying our creator is not because we think it will save us, only the shed blood of our most High Priest saves us, [Matt 26:28] [John 6:53-54] but we need to obey our creator because:
We fear Him.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.(Psalms 111:10)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.(Prov 1:7)
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.(Prov 8:13)
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.(Psalms 25:14)
We love Him:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.(John 14:15)
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.(John 14:21)
We are promised blessings for obeying Him. We must not forget though the promised curses and punishment for disobeying.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this dayÖ(Deut 11:26-28)
What did Solomon, one of the wisest man who ever lived [1 Kings 4:29-31] say in regards to this matter.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.(Eccl 12:13-14)
We should follow God's laws in faith even if we don't always understand them. God's laws are for our own good, they are part of a teaching process. They are also as a test to see if we will obey Him. [Ex 16:4] There are many symbols in the law as well and some commands are symbolic of past, present, and / or future events.
The lawless will not go unpunished.
We now see many disobeying the Lord. Why arenít they punished? The Lord is slow to anger. [Psalms 103:8] This does not mean that He will not punish the disobedient. [Mal 4:1-3] His great wrath is coming upon us at His return.
Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.(Zeph 3:8)
The Lord is merciful; hallelujah.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;(Psalms 103:17)
Does this make us free to sin?
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?(Rom 6:1-2)
He will send His messenger to warn us just before the coming judgement
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:(Mal 4:5)
We find Elijahís message back just one verse:
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.(Mal 4:4)
His law will be kept in the future.
The scriptures foretell to us that when the Messiah returns and sets up His kingdom the law will go out from Jerusalem
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.(Isaiah 2:3)
Those nations that disobey the keeping of Gods laws will be punished when the Messiah returns. He well set things straight again, for we have strayed so far from His truth.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.(Zech 14:16-19)
The Lordís Sabbaths will still be kept under the future new heavens and new earth. [Isa 66:22-23]
Two Houses and Grafting of Gentiles
Okay then, what about the Gentiles. Ever since Moses, the Gentiles (people of the nations) were joined to Israel and commanded to keep Godís law. [Ex 12:48-49] [Lev 19:34; 24:22] Godís people Israel were later divided into 2 kingdoms [1 kings 11:31-32] The Northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive for their sins and eventually spread throughout the nations. (2 kings 17:7-23) Men have devoted their entire lives to the study of where these people spread to over the years. The English speaking nations are a part of this migration. When the Messiah returns He will gather His people from among the nations. [Jer 29:14; 31:10] So we may be descendants of the house of Israel and not even know it!! None the less, what is important is that we believe in Messiah. Then we are grafted in to His spiritual Israel. [Rom 9:23-26; 11:13, 17-19, 24, 26] [Eph 2:11-13, 18-19]
Recommended further study: Restoring the Two Houses of Israel by Eddie Chumney
What about all those scriptures saying the law is done away with? When Paul states that in the Messiah we are no longer under the law, what he is saying is that we are no longer under the penalty of the law as long as we are in the Messiah for the Messiah paid the penalty of death.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.(Romans 8:2) (NKJV)
Paul also wrote many scriptures upholding the law, this apparent conflict can be resolved if we simply study more deeply into the scriptures, sometimes getting some background information about Paulís time is helpful. Paul taught that we need to have faith in Messiah, far above keeping the law. That faith must come first, not that the law was done away with as some think. Some Pharisees at the time were teaching the Gentiles that they needed to become like them to be saved, keeping the law, and extra laws that were added by man. This was one of the issues that Paul was addressing in his writings, though this is not always apparent as in the following verses:
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?(Col 2:20-22)
Here we see another example of the issue with manís laws in Titus.
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.(Titus 1:14)
Another verse looks like Paul is teaching us to do away with the holy days of God:
You are trying to find favor with God by what you do or don't do on certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. I am afraid that all my hard work for you was worth nothing.(Gal 4:10-11) (Living)
Again with a little background we learn that it was and still is a custom to celebrate a day for almost any event in the Middle East. People were thought holy by the number of holidays they kept. Paul is addressing this issue about manís days they were keeping and being pious about, not Godís.
The Messiah died for our sins, this was necessary because the law of Moses had no provision for willful sin. Here we see this brought out by Paul:
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.(Acts 13:38-39)
Let us see where Paul is definitely for Godís law.
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.(Romans 3:31)
Paul states it is to our advantage to follow Godís laws:
Then what's the use of being a Jew? Are there any special benefits for them from God? Is there any value in the Jewish circumcision ceremony? Yes, being a Jew has many advantages. First of all, God trusted them with his laws so that they could know and do his will.(Romans 3:1-2) (Living)
The scriptures refer to the Jews and Gentiles as clean and unclean, also as circumcised and uncircumcised respectively. There was division between these groups as to which was better than the other. Here Paul sets it straight that God is no respecter of persons.
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. (1 Cor 7:19)
Here again Paul teaches us from the law of Moses. If he was telling us not to keep the laws, why would he be quoting them?
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?(1 Cor 9:9-11)
Here is an interesting passage where Stephen is brought to trial.
And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.(Acts 6:13-14)
We can see that false witnesses were brought forth. So this passage is in effect saying that Stephen was for the law and that Yeshua would not change the customs (laws) of Moses.
Recommended further study:www.lionlamb.net (Monte Judahís message on the book of Galatians)
What about the new covenant Jesus writes on our hearts. [Heb 8:8] You just have to read a little father to see that the complete fulfillment of this verse is not yet [Heb 8:11] Why will there be no need to teach about God? Because He will write His law on our hearts. [Heb 8:10] This is basically the SAME LAW He wrote on stone and recorded in His word for us many years ago. It is still His law. God does not change. [see: God's Covenants with Israel]
We can see that our churches teach laws as well. Some say we need to become members. They say the Bible is all truth, yet donít keep or uphold most of it and certainly donít read certain parts of it. Ever notice how they will teach the blessings from the Bible, but skip the cursing for disobedience? They also teach tithing as a great command of God, do you know that tithing is only taught in the Old Testament? (Mainly in Malachi and in the books of Moses.)
A verse to consider:
For there is going to come a time when people won't listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear.(2 Tim 4:3) (Living)
What are we to do?
God expects us to be a holy people. [Lev 11:44] What is from God is holy. [Rom 7:12]
We must repent. [Matt 4:17] What are we to repent of? The transgression of the law! [1 John 3:4]
Okay then, if we are to keep the law, what exactly does that mean? It is not the purpose of this article to address every instruction of the Lord for us found in His word, but lets look at a few key ones.
The most important commands are to love God with our whole being, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the foundation for the rest of the law. [Matt 22:37-40]
The Sabbath was set apart by God from the beginning. [Gen 2:3] , It is a sign of Godís people. [Ex 31:13] The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week but was changed by man to keep the first day as holy.
What about sacrifices? Because the temple was destroyed in 70 AD and has not been rebuilt yet, the laws regarding the temple service can not be carried out at this time.
Clean and unclean meats (Kosher). It is interesting to note that Noah knew the difference before Moses recorded the law. [Gen 8:20] It is helpful to know that animals were not considered as food unless they were clean to begin with and were prepared according to the law, thus all foods are clean by definition. The vision of Peter in [Acts 10:11-14] was not a go ahead by God to eat unclean animals, we can see this was for a command to teach the Gentiles as Peter interprets himself in [Acts 10:28] . Also in [Acts 15:19-21] it is concluded to teach the Gentiles on the clean food laws.
Verses to ponder:
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.(Matt 15:9)
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.(Matt 19:17)
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.(1 John 3:24)
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.(John 15:10)
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.(1 John 5:2-3)
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.(Rev 14:12)
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.(Rev 22:14)
But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.(John 7:49)
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:(Prov 6:23)
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