Years ago a friend invited me to her son’s bar mitzvah. As a born-again Christian, I was curious about Judaism but had never been to a bar mitzvah. As it turned out, her cousin was curious about me. A conservative Jew, he sought me out and sat beside me during part of the bar mitzvah. He wanted to know how a born-again Christian viewed the Law of Moses. I parroted what I had heard all of my life. I said something like, “We are not under the Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law.” I could tell that he was not satisfied, and to be honest–neither was I.
His question made me think. Has the Law of Moses been “done away with?” What does it mean to “fulfill the Law?”
JESUS AND THE LAW OF MOSES
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5: 17-20, NIV).
The Ten Commandments have not changed. If you repent of your sins and believe in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus), the Ten Commandments will be written on your heart. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27, NASB). (See Exodus 20: 1-17; 2 Corinthians 3: 3; Jeremiah 31: 31-33; and Hebrews 8: 8-12 also.)
THE LAW OF MOSES VS. MAN-MADE TRADITIONS AND DOCTRINES
The Torah is the Law of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament. If the Law of Moses has been done away with, then there is no reason to even read Genesis. Sadly, the church pays lip service to the Old Testament but dismisses the Law of Moses as legalism. Legalism has nothing to do with the Law of Moses. It’s all about man-made traditions and doctrines that are taught as if they were God’s laws. (See Matthew 15: 1-9; Colossians 2: 8, 20-23).
LEVITICUS: God’s Timepiece
Before I began attending a Messianic Jewish Congregation, I had never heard a preacher or Sunday school teacher discuss Leviticus in-depth. So I figured that most of Leviticus didn’t apply to Christians. I was wrong.
Yes, Jesus is the Lamb of God. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so we don’t need animal sacrifices. But there’s much more to Leviticus than animal sacrifices and ceremonial laws pertaining to the temple (which was destroyed in 70 AD). In fact, you can’t understand God’s calendar and His appointed times (or feast days) unless you read and study Leviticus.
God does not go by the Gregorian calendar. He goes by the Biblical calendar found in Leviticus 23. God’s Appointed Times are dress rehearsals. Yeshua fulfilled the spring feasts with His First Coming. He will fulfill the fall feasts with His Second Coming.
JUST SAY NO TO HAM
You won’t go to hell for eating a ham sandwich, but you might live longer if you follow the food laws in Leviticus 11. Most Americans follow most of the food laws most of the time. Seriously, besides pork and shell-fish, which of these “unclean” animals does the average American eat? Rats, lizards, cats, dogs, vultures, badgers, buzzards, snakes, weasels, roadkill? If you read Leviticus 11 carefully, I think you will agree with God that unclean animals are “detestable.”
*By definition unclean animals are not considered “food” for human consumption, but they do serve a purpose. By and large, they are the garbage collectors of the animal kingdom. Notice that Noah took seven pairs of every clean animal (and seven pairs of every bird) aboard the ark but only one pair of every unclean animal (Genesis 7: 1-3). If he had eaten an unclean animal, the animal would have become extinct.
The Bible is the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. Read it. Study it. Discuss it. Agree to disagree. “Test everything.”
*Recommended reading: THE MAKERS DIET by Jordan S. Rubin with Foreword by Dr. Charles F. Stanley.