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Follow-up on keeping Torah?

Submitted: 3/6/2010
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Question: Thanks you for your expedient reply. In response to your last point could you explain to me where the Scriptures divide God's commandments into ceremonial, moral, compartment? If any thing these are man-made conventions implemented for the sake of study and application. In my opinion all of God's commandments are moral, perfect, and true regardless of it is pertains to the temple worship, community life, diet, etc. (Psalm 19:8-12). Of course, certain aspects of the Torah cannot be practiced because there is no Temple and Israel is no longer a theocracy, but those teachings that could be observed should be. In addition, in Hebrews 7( (v.19) the author is not referring to the Torah (Law), but the Levitical priesthood. The Lord's priesthood is greater than that of the Levitical priesthood, because he is the perfect, sinless sacrifice. He intercedes eternally for us, and his sacrifice is once for all. I do not believe that the writer of Hebrews was teaching that the Torah has been abolished by the work of Jesus on the Calvary (see Matthew 5:17-20).

Answer: A moral law is one which can be observed at anytime regardless of external circumstances. For example, there is never a time or circumstance that would prohibit a person from observing the law against murder or stealing or lying or honoring their parents. There are, however, circumstances that would prohibit a person from observing the commandments on animal sacrifice (as you have rightly pointed out). Any commandment that requires a particular place or person or materials, such as Shabbat or Passover, cannot be called a moral law.

You have correctly stated that the levitical priesthood (which was the shadow) has been replaced by the priesthood of Jesus Christ (who is the substance). This is also true of many other things, such as the temple being replaced by the body of Christ, circumcision replaced by water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the Sabbath by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Replaced is probably not quite the right word, since all of these New Testament things are more than replacements, they are fulfillments. The point is, now that the substance is here, the shadows must be allowed to pass away. This is the whole point of the book of Hebrews. This is what Paul meant when he told the Galatians, 'Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?' Again, we do not judge anyone who wants to observe any of these Old Testament practices, because the Bible tells us not to in Romans 14. But we do believe that anyone who ascribes moral value to them is in error and is in danger of being entangled again with a yoke of bondage and falling from grace (Galatians 5:1-5).