Page 1 of 10 12345678910 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 141

Thread: How did theologians decide which OT laws are "moral" "civil" and "ceremonial"?

  1. #1

    How did theologians decide which OT laws are "moral" "civil" and "ceremonial"?

    I understand and believe that, because Jesus was the ultimate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a requirement to fulfill the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament.

    But when Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it...," what did that mean?

    How do we decide whether or not an OT law is binding or not? I've heard people say that the "civil" and "ceremonial" laws are not binding but the "moral" laws are (although I believe that salvation is not contingent upon works but faith). However, I can find nowhere in Scripture that makes this distinction. Did we just decide for ourselves which laws were "moral"? Would it really please God if I did not wear mixed fabrics or did not eat pork? I have no conviction of needing to change these behaviors about myself.

    I'm just trying to understand how the OT law applies to my life as a Christian.

  2. #2
    Hi!

    My own personal opinion on this topic is a bit different than many people, I think. To begin with, i think it's a good idea to realize that the entire Law is one; it's a solid and united thing that either stands or falls together. However, individual laws were given for specific reasons. For instance, dietary purity Laws, which were reflections of an important teaching God was trying to impart on His people - not to consume other cultures or the practices of the cultures surrounding His chosen people. We learn this in Acts 11;

    15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
    18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11)
    We can also deduce this from Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the gospels (plus elsewhere I may not be aware of at this point);

    4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
    (Numbers 11)
    For this, you'd perhaps have to read the entire chapter of Numbers 11. The people complained about the manna which God had gifted them with and asked God to send them meat, which the Lord obliged - He also sent a spirit of prophecy onto some select people in the crowd who began to prophecy to warn the people not to eat the meat. When the people ignored the prophets, and ignored the warnings, Joshua came to ask Moses to silence them, to which he received in reply;

    29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” 30 And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel. (Numbers 11)
    The subject the prophets were warning the people about is made clear when the meat arrives and all who eat from it die. Was God displeased simply because they wanted to eat meat, or was it something more than that? We read in Deuteronomy;

    1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
    (Deuteronomy 8)
    This is also quoted in Matthew 4 when Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert;

    1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
    4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
    (Matthew 4)
    Now, we've learned from Acts 11 that the food itself represented the Gentile nations surrounding Israel. The dietary purity laws were multifaceted in that they represented something (Gentile nations), they served as a method to test Israel as to her dedication to God, and it possibly served to act as a health code, so to speak. All the Law represented something; those who are dedicated to the Lord, who love the Lord, feast on His Word. The Law was never meant to impute righteousness to a believer, faith in God is what gives a person right standing before God, the Law is what teaches us about the love of God.

    I am a gentile by birth, I was also brought into this world in separation from God - as we all are. When I came to God I was dead to Him in sin, He made me alive by the blood of the Lamb. Would it then be right to tell me to abstain from eating food that represented who I am by birth? All the Law stands united, or all the Law falls united; understanding why it was given and how it's to be followed is the hard part.

    21 “ I hate, I despise your feast days,
    And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
    22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
    I will not accept them,
    Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
    23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
    For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
    24 But let justice run down like water,
    And righteousness like a mighty stream.
    (Amos 5)
    34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
    37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
    (Matthew 22)

  3. #3

    The Law

    Hi, The whole of the Law applies to us as much as it ever did as Jesus said. The difference lies in the fulfillment.

    The moral aspect of that Law is binding on all Christians. The only point to remember is that while you must keep it, it is not in order to gain merit before God. It is in order to please God. That is why Jesus expanded on it and brought out its fuller meaning in the Sermon on the Mount.

    The laws of cleanness and uncleanness were intended to give a relatively primitive people an awareness of reaching for the higher life and of avoiding all connected with death and dirt. Thus the clean animals, birds and fish were those which lived in a 'pure' environment They ate pasture (chewed the cud), they did not walk in places of death (they had cloven hooves), they were not birds of prey, they swam in the clear water. The unclean were those which did scrabble and walk or swim in places of death, amidst the dirt and in the desert or the mud. All this was teaching purity of life. With the coming of Jesus these lessons were no longer necessary in the same way and so the rules were altered. We follow His way of cleanness and uncleanness, the cleanness of the heart. But the principle still applies. We still if we are wise avoid dirty food, and dirty places. We should still live clean spiritual lives. But we recognise that God can make clean what was previously unclean as He pointed out to Peter. We no longer live under desert and primitive conditions eating raw untreated food.

    I still make whole offerings and sin offerings and freewill offerings. It is just that I do it through the One Who is all these offerings combined. And I offer them daily as I come to God through Him. If we walk in the light as He is in the light the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses from all sin.

    I still keep holy days for as a Christian every day is a holy day, separated off to the Lord and in which I am available for His service.

    So the Law has not been abrogated. It has been 'filled to the full' The real has replaced the shadow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico, United States
    Posts
    2,215
    Quote Originally Posted by Karin View Post
    I have no conviction of needing to change these behaviors about myself.
    I'm just trying to understand how the OT law applies to my life as a Christian.
    [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:3
    It is the Holy Spirit that write the law in our hearts.
    Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
    1 John 3:21-24

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    York, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    6,080
    Blog Entries
    17
    As far as I understand it, the word "to fulfill" means to bring something to its ultimate purpose or goal, to bring something to completion. This what Jesus did to the Law - He brought the Law to its ultimate goal in the cross of Christ. Thus, the Law was abolished and in that sense no longer necessary because it found its fulfillment in the Cross of Calvary.

    That answers at least part of the question; for the other part I don't have time so I will let somebody else take that.
    Who have I in heaven but You oh God? Besides You, I desire nothing here on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail me, but God will be the strength of my heart and my portion forever...as for me, the nearness of God is my good - Psalm 73:25-26, 28a

    Check out my new blog at pilgrimtozion.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    milton keynes
    Posts
    16,102
    Quote Originally Posted by Karin View Post
    I understand and believe that, because Jesus was the ultimate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a requirement to fulfill the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament.

    But when Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it...," what did that mean?

    How do we decide whether or not an OT law is binding or not? I've heard people say that the "civil" and "ceremonial" laws are not binding but the "moral" laws are (although I believe that salvation is not contingent upon works but faith). However, I can find nowhere in Scripture that makes this distinction. Did we just decide for ourselves which laws were "moral"? Would it really please God if I did not wear mixed fabrics or did not eat pork? I have no conviction of needing to change these behaviors about myself.

    I'm just trying to understand how the OT law applies to my life as a Christian.
    For Christ explanation of " I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfil"
    Please read St Luke 24:25-27,44-48 as he expounded to his disciples.

    And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then he opened he their understanding that they might understand the scriptures. And said unto them, Thus it is written , and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, begining at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.

    This is also what the apostles taught concerning the things which the prophets and Moses did say should come concerning Christ.

    That Christ should suffer and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and shew light unto the people and to the Gentiles. The Acts 26:22,23.

    This is the Gospel of the Kingdom.
    Last edited by Firstfruits; Jul 5th 2007 at 02:10 PM. Reason: Add to note

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    941
    Quote Originally Posted by Karin View Post
    I understand and believe that, because Jesus was the ultimate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a requirement to fulfill the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament.

    But when Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it...," what did that mean?

    How do we decide whether or not an OT law is binding or not? I've heard people say that the "civil" and "ceremonial" laws are not binding but the "moral" laws are (although I believe that salvation is not contingent upon works but faith). However, I can find nowhere in Scripture that makes this distinction. Did we just decide for ourselves which laws were "moral"? Would it really please God if I did not wear mixed fabrics or did not eat pork? I have no conviction of needing to change these behaviors about myself.

    I'm just trying to understand how the OT law applies to my life as a Christian.
    You have to put the law in perspective. The ceremonial and separational laws were for the nation of Israel ONLY. These laws were in place for two reasons:

    1. To set the nation of Israel apart, since they would bring forth the Messiah.
    2. To proclaim the gospel through the sacrificial system. (slaying a lamb - John 1:29)

    Since the law did it's work by preserving Israel to bring forth the Messiah (Jesus), it was fulfilled. This is what Jesus meant.

    We believe that the moral and civil laws apply to the NT church the same as they applied to the OT saints - because they are mentioned and taught by Jesus & the apostles. Jesus mentions adultery & murder in Matthew 5. Paul refers to the moral code in all of his letters. They were speaking to the NT church.

    Of course we are not saved by keeping any law, because the law is cursed (Gal 3) in regards to salvation. The law points us to Christ, and once we are saved, should be our rule of living in order to show appreciation for the One who died for us, was buried & rose again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    wny
    Posts
    753
    Blog Entries
    1
    Categorizing the law is just a way to help us understand why Jesus included some laws in the new covenant and not others. Our job is not to categorize the law, but to follow Jesus' teaching. He has 'all authority' over the lives of Christians. Later, theologians began to realize that Jesus included 'moral' type laws in the New Covenant 'as was' so to speak, but ceremonial laws, for instance, were no longer neceessary 'as was' in light of Jesus' work.

  9. #9
    Peter and Paul emphasized not putting the Gentiles underneath additional burdens outside of faith in Christ.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    milton keynes
    Posts
    16,102
    Jesus was talking about the things that were written in the Law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms concerning himself, which he came to fulfil.
    From the gospels we see that he was talking about the message of the kingdom and not the the law of commandments given to Israel through Moses. These are the things he came to fulfil, and there are yet more things that he will fulfil before all is complete. So the law and the prophets and the psalms concerning Christ is not yet fulfilled.

    As Jesus said in Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all things be fulfilled.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Karin View Post
    I understand and believe that, because Jesus was the ultimate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a requirement to fulfill the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament.

    But when Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it...," what did that mean?

    How do we decide whether or not an OT law is binding or not? I've heard people say that the "civil" and "ceremonial" laws are not binding but the "moral" laws are (although I believe that salvation is not contingent upon works but faith). However, I can find nowhere in Scripture that makes this distinction. Did we just decide for ourselves which laws were "moral"? Would it really please God if I did not wear mixed fabrics or did not eat pork? I have no conviction of needing to change these behaviors about myself.

    I'm just trying to understand how the OT law applies to my life as a Christian.

    they didnt decide. God already decide this for them by placing the laws that should always be used in the hearts of all people.
    theologians only recognized this fact of God also the laws that should always be used are given again in the new testament. So some one cant claim we must also use the old saturday law for the jews before Jesus BIRTH some how.

    for instance THE LAW WRITTEN IN THE HEART all people know its wrong to steal from another, all people know its wrong to murder, all people know its wrong to take another persons wife or husband.
    yes sin has blured these truth but they are still there accusing even the unbeliever of sin.

    But the laws that were not meant for all people of all time were never wrriten in the hearts of men.

    for instance all men know there is a God we must worship. That is written in our hearts . mGo to pagan lands and you see people worshiping all sorts of strange things because of God writing it in to the hearts of men that there is a god that should be worshipped.


    But what was not written in to mens heart is what day to worship or rest on . Thats why pagans have all sorts of days and times they worship or rest on .
    and thats also JUST ((((one ))))reason why we christians also know the saturday as sabbath was only for the jews of the days-- before-- the comming of Christ. AND SATURDAY AS SABBATH WAS NEVER MEANT FOR ALL TIMES. the saturday law was part of the old ceremonial law that God put into place the jews had to obey this old saturday ceremonial rest law or be killed for not obeying it.

    This old ceremonial law Had it purpose it kept the Jew from whom Jesus would come away from the rest of humanity so scriptures prophesy about Jesus would be fullfilled .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    14,962
    Blog Entries
    8
    Most people just pick and choose the ones they want to put others under bondage with...
    For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? ~ Deuteronomy 5:26

    If you're not prepared to risk your very life for your "enemy" you have no right to speak to him of love. ~ Daughter

    Many say they are called... but I am pretty convinced that with many of them it was the wrong number. ~ Project Peter

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    651
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: How did theologians decide which OT laws are "moral" "civil" and "ceremonial"?

    I believe the law, all of it, was fulfilled and done away with when Christ died on the cross. See Col. 2:14. The Bible clearly teaches we are no longer under the law, but under grace (the law of Christ). Also see Heb. 8:13. By saying the law was fulfilled, it is meant that law had served it's purpose. It was a "schoolmaster" to bring us to Christ. I agree with you in that I find nothing in the scriptures that says only the ceremonial law was abolished.

    Read the book of Hebrews which gives a lot attention to this. Paul was constantly pleading with many of the Jews who would not let go of the old law. In Gal. 5:4 he went so far to tell them that if they continued to hold onto the law, they had FALLEN FROM GRACE.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    651
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: How did theologians decide which OT laws are "moral" "civil" and "ceremonial"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post
    As far as I understand it, the word "to fulfill" means to bring something to its ultimate purpose or goal, to bring something to completion. This what Jesus did to the Law - He brought the Law to its ultimate goal in the cross of Christ. Thus, the Law was abolished and in that sense no longer necessary because it found its fulfillment in the Cross of Calvary.

    That answers at least part of the question; for the other part I don't have time so I will let somebody else take that.
    I believe this is a good answer.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    suburb of judea
    Posts
    1,229

    Re: How did theologians decide which OT laws are "moral" "civil" and "ceremonial"?

    OK...I happen to know this answer.

    I was thinking posting a thread on this later today but you beat me to it yesterday.

    The answer is in the Book of Hebrews...about when Abraham/God set up the sacrificial system and God walked the blood path.

    When Abraham split the animals and God walked the blood path made between the animals it was a form of a contract that the performance of the Contract was now upon God for fulfilling the Contract. So when the Israelis sinned and brought a sacrifice to God the flow of blood from the animal was to remind God of His promise and Contract with Abraham and not to cancel the contract because of their lack of faith and committing such sins. It wasn't so much a "pay for play" system as it is sometimes perceived to be. Providing animals for sacrifice and ensuring that they were blemish free (in accordance with God being perfect and holy) spoke to the faith of a Messiah to come.

    The Ten Commandments and the whole of the 613 laws were all about faith. Granted there was a performance of these Laws but mainly they were physically performed to demonstrate your faith in God and that He was going to provide the Messiah that was going to come. In Hebrew The Sabbath Day was always written in singular fashion...not a collective singular either. (That part of speech doesn't exist in Hebrew) There was only one Sabbath Day and that was the Day that Jesus was crucified. All of the Saturday's that they rested on was again to show faith that God was going to provide the Messiah and then there would be rest from this Contract of Faith with God.

    The rest of the Laws were similar. Every part of Law was to set you apart in heart and appearance from the rest of the world. The Ten Commandments mostly referred to heart action and feelings. IOW if you wished to lie you were in violation of the Law whether you actually lied or not. Jesus reiterated this principle quite clearly when talking about looking at a woman with lust in your heart. They always were this way...if you didn't Love enough you were in violation of the OT Law.

    In the Ancient Near Eastern cultures the Israelis were to be different...not only in heart condition but also appearance. They were not to shave their beards in a particular fashion or to wear clothing similar to other cultures in the area. When Sampson lost his last appearance of being an Israelite (hair cut) he lost his appointment as being special as well. God could not forgive his appearance or heart any longer. Every aspect of their life was different from the food that they ate and the dishes they could eat to the clothes that they would wear to the Holidays that they would observe. When they came out of Egypt they had no real culture as a society...they had been accustomed to being naked and ignorant. Now they were assigned a style and manner of clothes and were to have a complete culture of their own....even an official language complete with reading and writing. (only high brow societies at that time read and wrote a written language).

    Then the Law about honoring your father and mother. There is no word for Grandfather or Grandmother in Hebrew. This commandment was in reference to Abraham and Sarah. They were the ones that had the relationship with God...not you. But you as an Israelite could share in their relationship by honoring them in your everyday life...and across time (a grand bit of it) you could give God the same proper worship that the patriarchs did that pleased God. So you couldn't start a new one because you didn't have a relationship with God. But you would see to it that your children carried on the same traditions. The area known as the Promised Land had seen many periods of urbanization and DE-urbanization. Whole cultures and societies disappeared without a trace. The Israelites still exist to this day as this culture that God created never once really went away. They have remained the same for thousands of years with hard wiring for the holy land. No one else can claim what they do.
    but I digress.

    The Laws of Old may have had a performance but the intent and purpose was the same yesterday as God's Laws for us today do. It is all about our faith...and whatever it takes to show that we have faith in God and what He has promised...and of our personal relationship with God.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •