Skip to comments.Don’t dis the Old Testament (Just Because You Don't Think The Levitical Laws Are Applicable Today)
Posted on 01/24/2022 8:26:55 AM PST by SeekAndFind
While talking with someone about a culturally moral issue, I referred to a statement made in Scripture to back up my opinion. At that point, the other person laughed and said, “Yeah, well the Bible also says not to wear clothing made of two different materials.”
Ever had that happen to you? If so, how did you respond?
Too many believers reply by dismissing the Old Testament and saying we now only follow the New. Saying that won’t get you far for two reasons.
First, you won’t really defuse the primary objection of Christians indiscriminately picking and choosing what commands in the Bible to follow. Second, labeling 39 out of 66 books from God’s Word as now irrelevant is the living-breathing definition of theological error.
Let me admit that I was once in the dis-the-Old-Testament camp, so much so that when I entered seminary, I dreaded the Old Testament classes that I was required to take. I had no idea about the surprise awaiting me.
Today, I can tell you my Old Testament education literally awed my socks off. And years later, I still encounter new truths from those ancient books almost weekly that deeply enrich my Christian life and knowledge of God.
Let me give you a few reasons why we shouldn’t pooh-pooh the Old Testament and how it continues to speak to us in the New Testament Church.
The entire chapter of Acts 15 makes that clear as does Colossians 2:16-23, parts of Romans 14, the entire book of Galatians, much of Hebrews (esp. chapter 8), and quite a bit more of the New Testament.
That being true, what I am saying is that the New Testament is a continuation of what we find in the Old and therefore it remains a guide to salvation and godly life in general.
Just as we’re saved by faith today, so were the Old Testament saints: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the persons of old gained approval” (Heb. 11:1-12, my emphasis).
Just as God gave His moral law for people to obey back in Old Testament times, it still speaks to how we should live today. And just as God gave patterns and practical reminders for godly living to people back then, that same general wisdom benefits us today.
At the highest level, few dismiss the idea that there are objective moral laws that apply to everyone, everywhere, for all time. For example, rare is it to find a person that thinks gratuitously torturing babies for fun or raping another person is morally OK. That being the case, it’s not unreasonable to believe that universally binding moral laws would be given to Israel in Old Testament times that naturally carry forward to us today.
God distinguishes His moral laws from other commands in the Old Testament in two ways: (1) through examples of punishment being delivered to both Jewish and Gentile nations that broke His moral laws; (2) reiterating those laws in the New Testament.
For example, Leviticus 18 supplies numerous moral law commands and then ends with statements such as: “Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants…For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people.” (Lev. 18:24–30, my emphasis; cf. Deut. 9:5).
In contrast, you will search the Old Testament in vain for examples of God bringing judgment upon non-Israelites for not following the Jewish ceremonial, dietary, or other non-moral regulations. When God’s wrath came down on Gentile peoples (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah), it wasn’t for wearing a shirt made with two fabrics, but because the people were violating God’s moral laws.
Further, keep in mind the important distinction made between the moral law and the various penalties prescribed to Israel in the Old Testament for breaking those laws. Sin is still sin, but the penalties God handed down to Israel in His theocratic state were for them and them alone.
For example, what’s the deal about not wearing a garment of two different materials (Lev. 19:19)? It was a physical reminder to Israel that there is only one true God. Because of the false teachings of the polytheistic religions around them, God was keeping the concept of “one” in front of Israel: one set of cattle, one type of field, one fabric. We may not adhere to the “one fabric” principle today, but the spiritual tenet of not mixing Christianity with other religions is a good one to remember.
The Old Testament also speaks against tattoos (Lev. 19:28). Is there something innately wrong with putting a mark on your body? Not at all.
One of the physical characteristics of the pagan communities around Israel was that they engaged in physical, religiously-motivated superstitious practices that included the tattooing and disfigurement of their bodies. For example, when Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, they “cut themselves according to their custom” when their false god didn’t respond to their requests (1 Kings 18:28).
In forbidding tattoos to Israel, God’s principle was: don’t resemble the world (Rom. 12:2) and/or possess any ‘marks’ (physical or otherwise) that link you to an ungodly culture and its false religions. Not a bad general reminder for us today.
One last Old Testament pattern/example: how often do you hear politically-left people say today that socialism is advocated in the Bible? A quick look at the governmental, hard-work-reward, welfare, and tax structures prescribed by God in the Old Testament to the only theocratic nation in history quickly puts that false claim to bed (see Lev. 27:30-33, Deut. 12:6-17, Deut. 14:22-29, Lev. 19).
The practice of circumcision seems inordinately crude, yet it spiritually represents God cutting out a people for Himself and, in return, His people making the commitment that if they didn’t fully obey, they would be cut off from Him. Of course, no one keeps God’s law completely (Rom. 3:9-18), so what hope is there for us?
Flash forward to the New Testament where the cross becomes the ultimate circumcision when Jesus is “cut off” from God for us and takes all the punishment we deserve. He is both the lamb of God and the scapegoat described in the Old Testament who carries away the sins of the people and is cast out into the darkness (Lev. 16).
All of the above only accomplishes the proverbial scratching-of-the-surface where the Old Testament’s place in our life today is concerned. But I hope it will cause you to reconsider where you stand with those 39 books of the Bible and have you seeking after God in their pages like I was wisely taught to do years ago.
Where the NT directly contradicts the OT, go for the NT passage. I'm thinking specifically about forgiveness, diet, etc).
If the NT is silent on a subject the OT has the final word.
Marcionism was a heresy in the 2nd century the same as it is today
The text makes many good points.
It is clear that at many points the scriptures are dealing with matters in the specific covenant between G-d and the Israelites, a two way covenant - G-d’s commitment to the Jews and a Jew’s commitment to honor it by following G-d’s commands to the Jew. I have often thought of the old testament Jews as not just “G-d’s chosen people” but in the old testament age as “the people who chose G-d”.
The OT was never intended to apply to non-Jews, beyond what was given before Abraham.
Yeah. That Book of Judges is something. Especially Jephthah. Let’s all sacrifice our daughters. People really pick and choose when it comes to the OT. It isn’t as pretty or simple as the Sunday school version.
So the ten commandments don’t apply. Got it.
Attempting to keep the Law, written on stone and those given to Israel will get you to the end of yourself. Of course, Jesus came to fulfill the jot and tittle of the law IOT to meet the Holy requirement of a Perfect Sacrifice to save those (all) condemned under the Law.
So, all of my efforts on my own to keep the law (to please the LORD GOD Almighty) are as filthy rags, as I have failed in some area, sometime, at least once, rather badly I may confess). But Jesus DID!
As we are told, the Law is holy, but we cannot meet its requirements, and if we try on our own strength, we make God a liar, and we deceive ourselves.
Jesus, the perfect unblemished Lamb, met the standard, exceeded it and in Him, I am the Righteousness of God. ALL MY Sin(s) (noun and verb) are completely washed away, separated as far as the east is from the west, thrown into the deepest sea, put behind the back of the Almighty and He, graciously, because of Christ, remembers my sins no more...
Therefore, I can live without fear of condemnation, but the life I live must be lived by the faith of Jesus, that God, through that faith (which raised Jesus) will justify, sanctify and glorify me one day in total.
Live by your effort to keep the law if you can, as you will be judged by it. Live by Faith in Christ and you will be accepted in the Beloved (Jesus).
You made a point that the ten commandments don’t apply which Jesus himself applies. Matt 19:18.
So who is correct? The OT and Jesus or you?
You’ve got me mistaken for someone else. Put down the bong.
Just so its clear, the ten commandments describe the nature of GOD, so when God in the Holy Spirit is ABIDING in the human spirit the nature of God in His Righteousness is abiding in the newborn Christian member.
Yep. Non-Jews are expected to observe the Seven Laws of the Children of Noah.
Indeed All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16) Which at that time was the OT. But NT silence itself does not necessarily mean something in the OT does or does not have its observance abrogated, for the NT deals with such as classes, not only specifics, as in affirming universal moral laws while abrogating the literal observance of ceremonial laws and temple ordinances, as in
"meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colossians 2:16-17)
Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:10)
Meanwhile the intent of all these laws are to be fulfilled by those who are justified by heart-purifying regenerating faith,
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
But there is no law requiring all Windows users to switch to Linux - or vice versa! Thank God for options.
My bad, I’m using a cellphone here and the text is difficult to read here.
Jesus gave the ten commandments Matt 19:18, not the laws of Noah.
He cited Isaiah and numerous other scriptures written post Abraham, your conclusion doesn’t take into account that.
Yeah so basically the ten commandments matter and thus the literature from Moses matters and all the OT matters.
The Old Testament is amazing, rich, valuable, insightful, and necessary for gaining understanding about God’s holiness, our depravity, and His incredible rescue plan for us.
It’s also amazing that the thief on the cross is in Heaven with our Savior and he didn’t follow any of the Levitical laws, wasn’t baptized in water, never took communion, didn’t raise his had for an alter call, and never recited the sinner’s prayer.
There are lots of things in Scripture that are recorded as having happened that were not approved of or mandated by God.
Just because something is recorded, doesn’t mean we should copy it or that God approves of it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.