A Synopsis for why we no longer keep the Old Testament law
Let’s begin with a crucial question. Was the law given to all people or only to the nation of Israel?
What is the believer’s relationship to the Law or the Sabbath today after the new Covenant was made?
Can anyone show a Scripture written to the church after the new covenant was made by Christ’s death and resurrection that required anyone to keep the Sabbath as they did in the Old Testament (both Jews and gentiles of the church)?
Of course I have heard the law keepers make thousand dollar offers in the opposite referral, asking where we are told not to keep the Sabbath, and they never pay up when they are shown to be wrong.
When one requires themselves and others to keep the Sabbath because of the Old Testament law they are denying themselves of living by the new covenant. These are two different covenants for different groups of people in different time periods. One can keep the Sabbath or certain laws by choice, but when they think it is mandatory then they become a judge of others. They become a new covenant grace breakers.
Paul who was a Pharisee of Pharisee's said after he was SAVED BY GRACE Rom. 6:14 “for you are not under law but under grace.” He certainly would know as he described himself “concerning the law, a Pharisee” (Phil 3:5), who were strict on all the laws.
1 Cor. 9:20-22 “and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law”
Paul tells us the Jews are under the law, the Gentiles are not. He is referring to the Old Testament laws, the Mosaic law.
Rom. 4:4-5 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
When you are enforcing the law upon yourself and others you cannot live in the power of the Spirit the grace the new covenant gives. Instead of freedom you introduce bondage and make yourself and others confused.
This is what the Bible teaches, it is not an individual’s or denomination’s opinion. Acts 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses."
They said this of the Gentiles, who said it, the Pharisees, those whom Paul was once the head of.
As the first council ended by them in agreement sayingActs 15:24-25 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law '--to whom we gave no such commandment--
They gave no such commandment. Yet today we have whole denominations that say they did. The verse they find this in is from the Old Testament, under the law, really. That is what we call circular reasoning, you must ignore the New Covenant to do this.
God gave his law to the Israelites that came out from Egypt with them. One had to become a Hebrew first to participate. The Law, referring to the Mosaic Law, is all 613 commandments (not just 10, or how many others you choose to obey). It was a separation between the Gentiles and the Jews. Paul described the Mosaic Law as the "dividing wall" (Eph. 2:14). Under the Old Covenant Law a Gentile had to convert to Judaism to live under the rule of God that the nation Israel did. So what we see in the Acts is the Pharisees insisting the Gentiles become as Jews when they convert, just like the old covenant required.
Christ ended this separation by a new covenant through His death abolished the Old Testament commandments (Eph. 2:15) to live under. Thus he united the Jew and Gentile into one new entity, the Church. This unification of the Jew and Gentile which was not by the old covenant. Now Jewish Christians can worship with the Gentile Christian. The New Covenant established peace between them both.
If the Mosaic Law is required today then Gentiles and Jews are still not one in the Lord. Then here is still be a wall partition to keep Gentiles away (Eph.2); but the wall of partition was broken down by the death of Christ. The wall of partition was the Mosaic Law, this means the Law of Moses was done away with for any new covenant believer to be obligated to keep it (both Jew and Gentile).
In Acts 15 we read that it was decided by the church that the Mosaic Law does not serve as the authority for the New Testament Church age believer.
One can keep the Sabbath or any other law. Paul did by choice, but not by requirement.
I’m sure you have heard the argument of the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the church. Here is the problem, don’t try to answer a question that has no real answer to those who believe this. Because it is the wrong question, it cannot be answered correctly. The truth is, the Sabbath has not been changed. It is still Friday evening to Saturday evening even if a certain church (Rome) claims it was changed in their books.
The fact is, most evangelical churches do not hold to the position Sunday is now the Sabbath, and it is not practiced as a legality like “you must worship on Sunday,” as 7th day Adventists and other Sabbatarian groups do for Saturday Sabbath keeping.
The most important words God gave man are not the 10 commandments but the gospel. The commandments cannot redeem man but were given show how far he is from obedience to God. The gospel is given to heal that breach because the law could not do this.
It is pointed out by Strict Sabbatarian’s that Jesus worshipped on Saturday. They make use of this argument by stating it’s mentioned 1,700 times. The disciples kept the Sabbath over 80 times, Jesus also went to the temple in Israel, do they go to temple in Israel? Jesus wore certain Jewish clothing, do they wear a robe? If Christ is our example, He also kept the entire ceremonial Law of Moses, do law keepers do this? Their argument has little to do with anything drawn from the meaning of the Scripture, only the mention in Scripture. They need to face the facts, we are a new entity, the church is both Jews and GENTILES, And we are under a new covenant. We don’t go to temple for worship on the Sabbath as a requirement. We don’t have to show up in Jerusalem there times a year on the Feast days, and we don’t wear robes.
Which brings me to the subject of requirements. Where does it ever say one must worship on the Sabbath in the New Testament epistles to the CHURCH? The Sabbath always meant a rest, not worship. They were to stay at home and rest. It was only in the period after their captivity in Babylon that they made synagogues and they began to worship in them in their own communities. There were 3 specific days all the men were required to show up in Jerusalem, not the 7th day Sabbath, but 3 of the 7 feast days. These were all considered as important as the Sabbath. The Passover (Exodus 12:14-20; Deuteronomy 16:1-6.) Pentecost (Exodus 23:17, 34:22; Leviticus 23:9-21) and Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-44). These were called holy seasons just as the 7th day was a holy day to Israel (not the Gentiles).
Sabbatarian’s tell us the Sabbath law is a moral law for all mankind, not just Israel. Nowhere do we find anyone having a 7th day of rest before Israel was led out of Egypt (until Ex.16). No one ever kept this law from Adams time, or was punished for not keeping it, not even Israel before Moses. So all their arguments are moot. It was given to Israel as part of the old covenant at Mt Sinai. In fact it was the seal of the covenant God made with Israel (for Israel only), not the GENTILES.
The Sabbath day was made for man in the respect of a future gift, it was God alone who rested after creation. There was no command for man to rest, you have to insert your belief into the Scripture for this. Man was made the day before, logically he would not be commanded to rest from his work the next day. The only commandments God gave Adam were to be fruitful, keep the garden (Gen. 1:28) and not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and Evil (Gen. 2:17). Two do’s, and one don’t commandment. You can’t argue for the Sabbath using what God didn’t say as though God did say it.
God NEVER charged the GENTILES with breaking the Sabbath, NOT ONCE. But he did Israel, in fact right after he gave it to them. Why? The Sabbath is not a moral law but a ceremonial law given ONLY TO the Hebrews as a nation! How do we know this? Because all the things you are forbidden to do on this one day you can do on other days. You could not do this with theft, or adultery. Imagine saying I stopped stealing, lying or having adultery on the Sabbath but I continue to do it the rest of the week. The moral laws which were applied to everyday life. Why? Man was made in the image and likeness of God, which is a moral image. Before Israel was formed all were to obey their conscience, before there was Jews or Gentiles.
Sabbatarian’s say God says to remember the Sabbath day. This is true, but to whom does he command remember to? Israel only, not to gentiles. Go ahead find the Scripture, I’m listening?
The covenant commanded Israel to “remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt” (Exod.13:3). To “remember the Sabbath day.” But Scripture also tells Israel to “remember his marvelous works.” (Ps. 105:5; 1 Chron. 16:15). But “the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies.” (Judg. 8:34; Ps. 78:42). The Scripture in Num.15:40 also says “that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.” This included 613 not just 10, not only the Sabbath. Exod.13:9: “Remember his word. It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes.” God does not just say to remember only the Sabbath, there are many things he tells us not to forget and have a memorial on. As in the New Testament Acts 20:35: “And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul writes in 1 Cor.11:25 of the communion “This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
When the 7th day rest was first given to Israel, we also find the first day was included, Exod. 12:14-16 both the first and 7th day were given as a holy convocation. Lev. 23:36, 41 the Lord again gives the 8th day and calls it a Sabbathrest. The Sabbath day was incorporated into the other Jewish holy days, because it is not the only “holy day” in the Old Covenant. If we look carefully at “the holy days” in Lev.23:1-7. All of these days are described as equally HOLY and high and to be kept as eternal ordinances for Israel under the Old covenant. As long as the old covenant lasts they (Israel) were to observe these Holy days. But it didn’t last and that is why the temple and all that revolved around it was removed.
The Bible clearly teaches that the Sabbath was part of the OLD covenant. Concentrating on the 10 commandments to have all the instructions for man is wrong. Scripturally we find the (10) does not give the all the instructions to man. It does not condemn our pride, selfishness, drunkenness, filthy language, nor was there forgiveness, repentance, tithing or helping the poor found in it. These are all found in the other 603 Laws of Moses.
Does anyone in the Old Testament refer to the 10 commandments as separate from the rest of the law and ordinances after they were given? Are the 10 given any priority above the others? I challenge anyone to find such a teaching, because they were all a unit called the Law of Moses, just as they are referred to in the New Testament by Jesus. We are told the10 have a greater significance because “What God wrote is eternal what Moses wrote is not.” Are we not told that all the words written in Scripture are inspired by God? That all the word is considered eternal. Remember the tablets God wrote on were broken by Moses when he came down off the mount and saw the sin in the camp. They had to be written again on a new set of tabletsI will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke (Deut. 10:1-4)
The Ten Commandments were only the first installment of what is known as the Book of the Law, or the Book of the Covenant. God spoke all the laws and commands Israel was to keep to Moses on the mountain (40 days). There is no distinction with what he spoke and wrote, and what he spoke and Moses wrote down.
Neh. 9:13-14: “You came down also on Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them just ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments. You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant.” This is exactly what Jn.1:17 states, “the law came through Moses.”
By the hand of Moses is why it is called the Law of Moses, as God’s representative to his people, who is Israel. Where did Moses give the Gentiles the law? Where is that in Scripture?
The law keepers argument is “if the 10 commandments are done away then we can go kill someone and commit adultery” etc.! According to their own illogic we then can become a drunkard, a homosexual since it is not in the 10 either. The Bible says the Law of Moses includes the 10 commandments. It is all 613 laws, not just 10. They seem to make Gods word shrink by their own reasoning, subtracting 603 laws.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”
In all things, which means all 613 commands, not only 10. We find what the book of the law is in Deut. 31:26 “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you.” Again, this was only for Israel who had the tabernacle.
Gal 3:11-13 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them”
Here is Jewish logic, you want the law, then go live by it but remember it’s not of faith—the just live by faith. In other words only those justified live by faith which is trusting in Christ alone.
Furthermore, the Law of Moses was a temporary system of law, never intended to be permanent. The Law of Moses was given to the nation of Israel and not to Gentiles or the Church (Deuteronomy 4:7-8; Psalm 147: 19-20; and Malachi 4:4). There are other covenants that God made with Israel — the Abrahamic, Davidic, and Land covenants — are all "everlasting" (Genesis 17:7; 2 Samuel 23:5; and Psalm 105:8-11). The Mosaic Law is never spoken in Scripture as covenant forever. Jeremiah tells us that it would be replaced by a "new covenant."
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers ... My covenant which they broke ..." (Jeremiah 31:31-32)
In Jeremiah 32 (the next chapter) he writes this "new covenant" will be an "everlasting one" (Jer.32: 40). This New Covenant mediated by the blood of Jesus, the last sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews tells us that it abrogated the Mosaic Covenant (Heb. 8:1-13 and 9:15-16). It is this covenant that is eternal in nature (Heb. 13: 20).For if the law covenant was eternally to be kept then we could not have Jesus’ sacrifice, we will continue sacrificing the animals and have a Levitical priesthood along with the temple. In fact GENTILES could not be included in the “we”.
This "new covenant" is the "everlasting one" (Jeremiah 32: 40), the Old covenant is not. This New Covenant is the one that was mediated by the blood of Jesus, the old covenant was mediated by the sacrifice of animals. The new covenant is mediated by an eternal high priest, the Old was mediated by priest after priest who died. The writer of the Hebrew letter affirms that it invalidated the Mosaic Covenant (Hebrews 8:1-13 and 9:15-16) and that it is eternal in nature (Hebrews 13: 20).
The annulment of the Mosaic Law was complete. The writer of Hebrews says the giving of the New Covenant "has made the first obsolete" (Hebrews 8:13). It is put aside, not longer in use for those who have faith in the Messiah.
Paul clarifies in 2 Corinthians 3:6-9. In that passage Paul states that we are "servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." He then refers to the "letters engraved on stones" as a "ministry of death" (verse 7) and a "ministry of condemnation" (verse 9).
The "letters engraved on stones" is a direct reference to the Ten Commands written by the finger of God. The other 603 commands were also written down by Moses at the instruction of God to be used with the 10. So what do they do with this? They either ignore it or compartmentalize it. Neither is satisfactory to live in the new covenant.
Today, under the new covenant only the commands incorporated in the Law of Christ apply. Nine of the ten moral laws have been included in the New Covenant (see for example, Matthew 5:21-48). The only one that of the 10 that is not included in the New Covenant is the command to keep the Sabbath. This is the one that law keepers make the grand requirement – the one that is NOT INCLUDED. Strange isn’t it? No not really, it is the same that the Pharisees did. This shows their maturity in understanding the word.
So why is it not on there?
Phil 3:9-10 “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith”
Righteousness through faith. In Christ, not the law.
To those today who focus on the law—that must be used in the Christian life... why does the Bible teach that the commandments are weak and useless? (Rom. 8:3; Titus 3:9) that the law kills.
2 Corinthians 3:6 (The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life) Paul is making a distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The old (the law) brought death, whereas the new brings life through the life-giving Spirit. The letter (the law) killed because no one was able to keep it all. It made us guilty,and we would seek a savior. Only the New Covenant sets us free from the condemnation of the law. The law was fulfilled in the only person who could have fulfilled it, the God/man Jesus Christ fulfilled by His incarnation in the flesh and his death for sin and rising from the dead to approve it was paid for.
Heb. 8:6-13 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”
It would like this, I have an old car that once worked but is no longer working and I bought a new car. Instead of driving the new car I try to drive the old one that cannot go anywhere.
The law does not make one righteous, though it is righteous. The Law keepers (modern type Judiazer’s according the former law keeper Paul) believe, if they keep the laws or the Sabbath they become closer to God when it actually shows one their sinful condition. How? The law condemns you while the new covenant is lived by grace. Our relationship with God is fostered, sustained by grace in Christ from a NEW covenant. Our sinful condition is repaired because we have accepted Christ. We are no longer under condemnation of the law as we live by the Spirit.