[box] Dear Reader, Before you read on please understand it is not the authors intent to sound mean spirited or unloving to our brothers and sisters in Christ who may not fully agree with what is posited in this article. We know very well that some of the most learned and courageous saints have differed on this subject and continue to do so. It is not for us to question their love for God and His Christ.[/box]
We deny the employment of Old Covenant Law
as the saint’s “Rule of Life”
Given the clear teaching of Scripture itself we contend that if a person advocates for the continuing use of all, or even just some elements of the Old Covenant Law beyond that of prophetic witness, his or her worship according to spirit and truth could be seriously flawed.
Please consider carefully the following:
Fact: The former commandment (the Law covenant) was woven together with the Levitical system of worship.
There’s no getting around this fact. The Law of Moses, the Old Covenant and its system of worship, is woven together as one unit. You cannot divorce that Law from the Levitical priesthood and the worship it ministered.
Some of the Reformed greatly erred when they assumed they could divide the Law of Moses into three parts. There is no biblical warrant to do so. In fact, to attempt to do so demonstrates a failure to hear all Scripture. Wrongly dividing the Word of God can have tragic consequences with regards to a right understanding of worship in the New Covenant era.
Serious implications to consider:
Implication 1: That former commandment with its Levitical priesthood was forever replaced with the giving of a better hope. Jesus Christ, an immeasurably superior priest, is that better hope.
Hebrews 7:18. “For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect) ; but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.”
Implication 2: The Old Covenant Law and its Levitical priests were woven together as one unit. You cannot divide them.
Hebrews 7:11-14. “Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.”
Implication 3: If you subscribe to the Law of Moses as your rule of life then you must subscribe to all of Moses’ Law including its regulations for worship. You cannot extract for convenience sake the Levitical priesthood. Picking and choosing what aspects of Moses’ of Law you wish to conform to is not an option.
James 2:10. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
Implication 4: To embrace the previous law covenant as a rule of life (all or in part) is to embrace its curses if it is not kept 100%.
James 2:10. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
Deuteronomy 28:15ff. “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”
Fact: The Old Covenant with its Levitical priests cannot be divorced from the Law that was engraved upon the tablets of stone, even the Ten Commandments. Messiah Jesus is not a priest of the Law covenant.
Exodus 34:27-28. “And Jehovah said unto Moses, ‘Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.’ 28 And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”
Hebrews 7:28. “For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”
Fact: True worship in this age is worship in spirit and truth. It was instituted by Messiah Jesus with the giving of the Holy Spirit. It is radically different from the Law’s defined worship. The indwelling Spirit of God has made possible this new era of worship. With the giving of the Spirit, the day of which Jesus foretold in John 4 did arrive. Thus, worship, true worship, is no longer bound to the Old Covenant with its Levitical priests and law.
John 4:23-24. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Mark 1:7-8. “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John 7:37-39. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
John 20:19-23. “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.'”
Fact: This radical new era of worship in the Spirit was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 31:31-34. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord, ’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Fact: God saint’s were released from the law so they now serve in the new way.
Romans 7:1-6. “Or do you not know, brothers —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. 4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.“
Implication 5: The Spirit of God through Paul clearly warns, that to embrace the previous law covenant as a rule of life (all or in part), is to sever oneself from Christ and make Him of no benefit.
Galatians 5:3-5. “I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The apostle says, in effect, submission to part of the Law obligates submission to the whole. Furthermore, he makes it abundantly clear that, in the time between justification and the consummation of “the hope of righteousness,” the same remains true. In sanctification, submission to part of Law obligates subjection to the whole. Therefore, we see the so-called ‘third use of the law’ to be diametrically opposed to Pauline thought.
Last implication: To subscribe to the former covenant, in whole or in part, is treason.
Galatians 3:1-6. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”
Let’s reason together.
If you subscribe to the Law of Moses as a rule of life, then by necessity you must keep the whole law with its Levitical priesthood and its worship. It’s illogical to attempt to do otherwise. Could you imagine becoming a member of the church of Rome without agreeing to their mediating priesthood? The one goes hand in hand with the other. Without their priests the church of Rome would cease to exist. When you hear someone say the Law of Moses is their “rule of life” consider the following words of the writer to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
It is clear. Sinai’s law is the wrong law mediated by the wrong priests! My friend, how can one who subscribes to any aspect of Moses’ Law (other than as prophetic witness) along with its Levitical priests and system of worship profess to be worshipping according to truth? It’s impossible!
Thankfully, the Old Covenant law as a whole has been done away with along with its Levitical priesthood. Why then continue to subscribe to a rule of life that no longer exists?
Paul described such as “the old way of the written code.” He also clearly defined how God’s saints presently “serve in the new way of the Spirit.” To subscribe to the Letter is to be wedded to a corpse. My dear friend repent of such folly (it is gross sin!) and call upon the Lord Jesus to liberate you from the law (letter) so that you may worship in the new way of the Spirit, just as Jesus foretold in John 4 and fulfilled in John 20.
For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever. ’”
22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
Please Note: The views of the editors are their own and not necessarily the views of our contributors.