Posts Tagged ‘israelite nation’

Wow, I’ve never been this inactive before. Many things have happened since the mission trip to Philippines, in my spiritual life as well as ministry. It hasn’t been totally good, but it has been a good experience.

Now about the OT law; this is one issue that I’ve been thinking about for a few months, and have discussed with many people about it. Two of them were spiritual mentors whose Biblical views I trust, and another two of them were lawyers I knew. Who could be better to ask than that! 🙂 While I have come to a conclusion on this matter, there will be many who disagree. But to each his own faith! So if you find yourself among that group of people, then go according to your own conviction- do not be affected by my views.

Note: This post will be written over a few parts

A while ago, I was discussing with an atheist on the Law of the OT, and we started talking about some of the extreme punishments that the Mosiac law distributed for seemingly less harmful transgressions. For example,

“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife —with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.”
Leviticus 20:10

In Singapore, we have no laws against adultery- a vast difference compared to the Israelite nation at that time. So this question came into mind- does this mean that we’re doing it wrong? And then, to be living Biblically, should every society follow the law exactly as it pronounces judgement?

Now before I carry on, I understand that there are now a lot of implications between the faith and politics, governance, orderliness and so on.. I am however, not qualified enough to touch on all that. For this post, the issue I am really addressing is- Did God mean for the OT law to be applied to all communities and nations, throughout generations?

Different kinds of laws
When God made His covenant with Abraham, he had in mind a Holy nation, set apart for Him. This nation was to be like no other in the world. Not that God loved them more than others, but He wanted to use this nation to bring His standards of holiness, and the knowledge and experience of Him into the world. This was the nation of Israel.

Thus, when God brought them out of Egypt, He decided to put into place different kinds of laws. Some would reflect His ultimate holiness, while some others would be a foretelling of what was to come in the future. And some, well, came out of the Israelites’ way of life.

Below is a list of three different categories. I have enjoyed reading Dan Juster’s “Jewish Roots”, and these names are from there.

a. Temple Laws
These were very specific instructions on carrying out the sacrificial procedures in the temple, as well as for the priests. An example:

The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire.
Leviticus 23:27

We do not carry out the sacrifices mentioned in the OT because we understand that the ultimate sacrifice has already been made for us!

But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Hebrews 10:12

However, this does not mean that these verses are no longer relevant to us. Many of the laws on the temple and sacrifices were a foreshadow of Christ, who was to come to take away our sins. They bring us into a deeper understanding of the atonement Jesus made for us. Also, the OT sacrifices were meant to remind the Israelites of their sin! As much as they have their reminders, we have ours- communion that we partake as a body of Christ leads us into remembrance of His love and sacrifice for us.

Back to the issue, I believe that God does not require us to follow the temples laws because:
1. They were meant for the Jewish nation, who had a calling to be set apart for God, during that period of time.
2. Christ has made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Therefore we do not remind ourselves of sin, but of grace, through communion.

b. Jewish Laws
Some of the laws were set because of the culture and heritage of the Israelite nation. One example was that God told them never to go back to Egypt, but to move on to the promised land that He had for them. The intention of this law was for the Israelites to trust in God’s promised providence, and not to return to slavery which God had brought them out of.

If you have the time to read through all the laws, you would be able to spot a few more, the laws for Nazirites in Numbers 6.

c. Universal Moral
These laws are a reflection of God’s holy nature, and His standards of righteousness. Do not murder, do not bear false witness, etc.. They are extremely easy to spot because they bear a lot of similarity with the conscience that we hold. 

“Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law..  ..since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness..”
Romans 2:14-15

I believe that when God creates all men in His image, His holy standards are also written on our hearts, so that we can look at an action as define it as “wrong” or “right”. Thus, these laws in the Mosiac law are for everyone. God meant for everyone, of every generation to follow them.

Now we then be wondering- should we then also carry out the consequences that God defined for these laws?

I’ll be answering it in part 2, when I have the time again to write 🙂


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