If God’s Law is or was truly perfect, as Psalms 19:7 declares, then not one single jot or tittle can ever be removed or changed in any way. Should we keep all of the Mosaic Law including the sacrifices?
A very common question that is asked by Christians is, “Should we keep all of the Mosaic Law including the sacrifices?” Some believe that we should keep the Law. Therefore, they urge us to keep the Sabbath day, the Mosaic feasts, and avoid certain foods such as pork. Are they correct? The purpose of this article is to answer that question.
What Was Included In the Mosaic Law?
The Old Testament law contains the moral law, ceremonial law, and the civil law. The moral law contains commands about our attitudes and external conduct. Obviously the Ten Commandments or the Decalogue is included in the moral law (Exodus 20:1-17). The command to love God is included in the moral law (Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1, 13). The moral law also includes the command to love our neighbors (Leviticus 19:18). Deuteronomy 20:1—21:17 is about the sanctity of life.
The ceremonial law includes the laws or rules regarding the tabernacle, the Sabbath, priesthood, the sacrifices, dietary foods, festivals, and tithing. These laws are contained in the last part of Exodus, Leviticus and in most of Numbers. Some of them are repeated in the book of Deuteronomy.
The civil law is also mixed throughout Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. These include Israel’s borders, property ownership, rules related to marriage, the cities of refuge, capital punishment, business transactions, and other situations. Later other civil laws were adopted when God gave Israel a king, including taxation (1 Samuel 8).
What Part of the Mosaic Law Must We Keep?
Now there are some who claim that Psalms 19:7 and Matthew 5:17 teach that all of the Mosaic Law is still to be kept. They quote Psalms 19:7, which states,
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul. . . Psalms 19:7 (NASB)
They emphasize the word “perfect,” and teach that the Mosaic Law will never be replaced. They add that Matthew 5:17 means the Mosaic Law will not be replaced.
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17 (NASB)
Then they strongly urge us to keep the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath, the dietary food laws, and the feasts. Some might include some of the civil laws.
But if they are correct that we should keep the Mosaic Law, then we should ask why do they not have a temple, and a Levitical priesthood? Why do they not keep all of the sacrifices including the daily animal sacrifices, and urge their countries to practice capital punishment, kill very disobedient children, stone adulterers, and all of the rest of the Mosaic laws?
But the New Testament reveals that they have missed Hebrews 8:7-13 which teaches us that the old covenant Mosaic Law, has been replaced by the new covenant (Luke 22:20). Then Hebrews 9-10 explains that Hebrews 8:7-13 was referring to the ceremonial law. That is, the ceremonial law has disappeared. It is no longer in effect.
This means the Sabbath day is gone, and the food laws are gone. It is important to notice that nine of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament have been repeated in the New Testament, but not the Sabbath. The Lord’s Day has replaced the Sabbath (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Colossians 2:16 is an encouragement to believers to not be deceived by the Judaizers who were falsely teaching that believers needed to keep the Sabbath.
Also, Jesus taught that the Mosaic food laws had been eliminated (Mark 7:19). The most powerful passage that shows that we may eat anything we desire is 1 Timothy 4:1-3. There we are told that anyone who forbids the eating of food is a false teacher. 1 Corinthians 8:8 teaches us that there is no spiritual benefit to eating or avoiding the eating of foods.
Should We Keep The Sacrifices?
Finally, Hebrews 10:1 reveals that the Old Testament law was a shadow of the good things to come. That is, the Mosaic law has been replaced by something better. It is called the new covenant. Jesus instituted the new covenant. The sacrificial part of the Mosaic law has disappeared. That is the explanation of Hebrews 10:1-18. For more information read Once For All.
In summary, the Old Testament law was changed when Jesus died and was resurrected. The ceremonial laws of the Mosaic law has been removed. The Old Testament law has changed, because Jesus replaced it with the new covenant. Praise the Lord that we are not under the Jewish system that the Judaizers were attempting to force on the early Christians. The book of Galatians and Colossians refute the teachings of the Judaizers.
Suggested Links:Which Old Testament laws can we ignore?
Could Jesus have eaten turkey on Thanksgiving Day? — Mosaic Dietary Law
The Shadow Is Replaced
Believe and Then Rest
Time To Rest!
Do we have to keep the Ten Commandments given in the Old Testament?
Why do we not keep the Sabbath?
Once For All