Afterwards, God chose the Israelites to be His children; and gave them Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and so many laws and principles of worship in the wilderness.
My dear friend and reader, the question is, why God did not give freedom to man but gave law to man, or what was the purpose of the law? God brought the law to show man what sin really is. "Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans3.20.) For us to know sin and abstain from it God brought out His law. This is why He declares in 1 John 3.4 that "whoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the trasgression of the law." If I go contrary to the law, then, I have sin. Therefore, if there is no law, there is no sin.
Now in Galatians 3.19, the Spirit speaks expressly, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made..." This teaches us that the law was added to expose sin so that man would realize that he needs a Saviour because it says till the seed--which is Christ--should come.
It is not the law that would save us, but rather we will have our salvation by grace, through faith and through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 3.2l-26.) Please read Romans 5.2O and 7.13 to know more about why the law was given.
Most religious men and women worship the Almighty God with the Old and New Testaments. Some use instrumental music in worship, some give out their tithes, some observe the Sabbath, some burn incense in worship, some are wearing specific dress for worship, some atone for their sins with the blood of animals (burnt offering), some are having high priests, etc. Do we have to obey the old laws today? No.
The Old Testament laws were there to be obeyed by the Israelites only, not by Gentiles. I emphasize that at that time Egypt was there, but they were not obeying the law. So were Assyria, Syria, the Philistines, Babylonians, Amelekites, Ammorites, Edomites, Persians, Midianites and so on. All these nations were there and were not the doers of the law simply because they did not know God's law. The Almighty Father chose Israel alone as His children and gave them His law. Nowhere in the Bible will we find Gentiles obeying God's law before the death of Jesus Christ, for instance observing the Sabbath. Does that mean the Old Testament Gentiles will not be judged? No, they will be judged by nature. The wicked will not go unpunished. "For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law: For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves." (Romans2.12-14.)
I would like to explain Matthew 5.17-18 which many people, even the so-called priests, are misinterpreting. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall an no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." This teaching of Christ has confused many people, churches, sects, etc. Are you among them? Then, read on. The way Jesus fulfilled the prophets is the same way He used to fulfill the law. Many are saying Jesus came to continue the Old Testament Law or that he came to add some laws to the old one. No, it is not so. But rather if you study the Bible you shall know that He came to abolish the old law in his flesh. "Pleroo" is the Greek word for fulfill meaning "to come true."
To fulfill never means to add or continue. Webster defines fulfill as to carry out a promise, to do a duty, to satisfy a condition, to bring to an end, to complete. Jesus Christ came to fulfill or to bring to an end the promises and prophecies concerning Him in the Law and in the Prophets.
The Law that Jesus spoke of is not the Ten Commandments as many state it. but rather the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy).
And now, verse 18: "Till heaven and earth pass, nothing shall in no wise pass from the law, till all shall be fulfilled." My friend, people are distorting, perverting and misinterpreting God's word. Are you one of them? Jesus, in Matthew 5.8, said God's word cannot be changed or altered till the earth and heavens pass unless God Himself fulfills His word. Jesus fulfilled the law (Genesis through Deuteronomy) when the promises and prophecies written therein came true in Him--even His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Nothing of the law can be done away till Christ's death and resurrection is fulfilled. I hope you are a bit free now. Let me expand it further.
"These are the words 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 opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." (Luke 24.44-45.)
After Christ had risen from the dead, he appeared to His disciples in a room and said to them that all things which were written concerning Him in the Law of Moses, Prophets and Psalms must come true.
The Law of Moses in this verse is not the Ten Commandments or the other laws God gave to Moses, but it is five books of Moses(Genesis-Deuteronomy) because the laws that God gave to the Israelites do not speak concerning Christ but rather there are some verses in the five books of Moses which speak of Christ, so also are the Prophets and the Psalms. They are all fulfilled in Christ in the New Testament. Let us study the Law, Prophets, and Psalms to see whether Christ had fulfilled those things concerning Him. I would like to give you two examples on each for time and space sake.
Now concerning the Law: God promised Abraham, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou has obeyed my voice." (Genesis 22.18.) How can we know that this promise is about Christ? The New Testament tells us in Matthew 1.1 that Jesus is a seed or descendant of Abraham. The descendants are many, even the Israelites. So, let's go straight to a verse which says Jesus is the seed of Genesis 22.18. If we see it, then, Jesus has fulfilled the Law (Moses' five books).
Galatians 3.16: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ." Do you believe it? Has Jesus fulfilled that promise? Thank God.
Deuteronomy 18.15 says, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." It is the New Testament which teaches the fulfillment of this prophecy in Acts 3.19-26 that Christ is the prophecy who Moses spoke of. There are many verses in the five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) which concern Jesus Christ and have their fulfillment in the New Testament.
Now concerning the Psalms: David spoke in Psalm 22.18, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." Is David speaking of himself or of someone else? Let us check John 19.23-24 which says, "...let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scriptures might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garment among them. And for my vesture they did cast lots." Are you following, how Christ fulfilled things concerning Him in the Law, Psalms and the Prophets?
Another time, David spoke of Jesus in Psalm 16:10: "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." David was not speaking of himself. We can know the fulfillment from Mark 16.6-7: "And he saith unto them, Be not affrightened: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him..." Read also Acts 2.22-28; Ephesians 4.8; 1 Corinthians 15.4. Did He come to destroy the Psalms? No.
Now concerning the Prophets. The Messianic Prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning Jesus the Messiah: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." (Isaiah 53.6-8.) Christ Jesus our Lord fulfilled this prophecy when he was before Pontius Pilate in Mark 15.3,5: "And the Chief Priest accused Him of many things: but. . Jesus answered nothing so that Pilate marveled." Read also Acts 8.29-35.
The prophet Micah also prophesied concerning the Messiah: "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Mlcah 5.2.)
Matthew recorded the fulfillment in Matthew 2.5-6: "And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judea, art not the least among the princes of Judah for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." Read also Zechariah 11.12-13; Matthew 26.15; 27.1-10.)
There are so many prophecies in the Law (Genesis through Deuteronomy), Psalms and the Prophets fulfilled in Christ. Have you now understood what Jesus meant when He said. "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill"?
Christians today are not bound, obliged or compelled to obey the laws or observe the rituals and practices of Old Testament religion. The Old Testament covenant was made between God and Israel, and it never included Gentiles in its scope. "And the Lord said unto Moses, write thou these words; for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and Israel." (Exodus 34.27.) Gentiles are not included. It is boldly written in Deuteronomy 4.8: "And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this Law, which l set before you this day?" Read Deuteronomy 5.2-3 to meet understanding.
The Prophets acknowledged that the old covenant was broken and destroyed by the Israelites themselves; so therefore God promised a new and spiritual covenant which is the New Testament. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that l will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the Land of Egypt; which my covenant they break; although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord, But this shall be the covenant that l will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for l will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31.31-34.) The question is: why did God promise a new covenant while the Old Testament is there? Hebrews 8.6-13 says, "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless then should no place have been sought for the second." It can be one or more faults found with the old covenant. I will give only one example to save time and space.
Paul said. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the books of the law to do them." (Galatians 3.10.) He referred us from Deuteronomy 27.26. God added a curse to the law so that anyone who broke the law was accursed. We do not have to go to the law in our age, because God has delivered us from the old covenant and has translated us into the better covenant which is the New Testament.
Specifically, the Old Testament law was done away at the death of Christ. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the notions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we are held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7.4-6) Not only did Jesus die to abolish the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, he abolished in his flesh even the law of commandments contained in ordinances to reconcile us unto God by the cross. (Ephesians 2.14-16.)
Some may say if we are not under the Old Testament law, then it is irrelevant and unimportant for us to study it, and for that matter, the Old Testament must be torn off and thrown away. No. That is not it, The Old Testament is of vital importance to those of us who live under the New Testament. It has been preserved for our study and spiritual aid. "For whatsoever things are written aforetime were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15.4.) "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."(1 Corinthians 10.6-11.) God punished the wicked ones for our examples. The account of the creation, Noah. Abraham, and even the prophecies of the Messiah are all in the Old Testament. We are to build faith with these accounts because the Old Testament tells us that God blesses those who are loyal to Him.
Jesus has freed us from the laws and rituals of the Old Testament. Laws such as the Sabbath, abstaining from meats, circumcision, animal sacrifices, etc. are all dead through Jesus Christ (Romans 10.4.) "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross...let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon or of the Sabbath days which area shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colossians 2.14-17.) Read also Hebrews 10.1,9.
Now consider this question: Your body and your shadow (which is on the floor, ground or wall) which is a good thing? Body or shadow? If the law is a shadow of good things to come, then I am sure the said good thing is the New Covenant. Hebrews 8.6.
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (2 Corinthians 3.5-6.)
Both testaments are from God; why then has God made us worshippers under the New Testament only? We shall be judged by the New Testament. (John 12.48.) In Matthew 17.1-5, God taught us that we should not listen to Moses and Elijah. but to His Son, Jesus Christ. Please, I advise you to read all of 2 Corinthians 3. It would help you know why we are not under the first covenant, because the letter which is the first covenant kills; the spirit which is the second covenant quickens, that is, gives life.
If we are living under the Old Testament Law, why is it that there are so many priests who are not from the tribe of Levi? The Old Testament declared that the Levites formed the priesthood. "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Hebrews 7.12.) "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." (Hebrews 10.9.)
Both the Old Testament Law and its worship were a shadow of good things which are the New Testament and its worship which were so come and now is.
In Galatians 4.21-31, Paul gives an allegory of two women. They were Agar and Sarah, the two wives of Abraham. Paul says that Agar represents the Old Covenant and that Sarah represents the new. He reminds us that Agar is bearing children into bondage. This means that Old Testament worship is a bondage when we go to it. Paul continues to say that the bondwoman, Agar, was cast out which teaches that the Old Covenant has been cast out of the way. Moreover, he said. the sons of the bondwoman shall never be heir with the son of the free woman. This also explains that those who worship under the Old Covenant would not be heirs with those who worship under the New Covenant. I could understand from these verses that the Old Testament brings death unto us, but the New Testament brings life. We are not children of the bondwoman (Old Testament) but of the free (New Testament).
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5.4.) If you are ministering with the Old Testament; observing the Sabbath, giving tithes, burning incense, sacrificing animals as an atonement, or being justified by the law, then you have been separated from Christ our Lord, you have fallen from unmerited reward.
"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to being us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a school master." (Galatians 3.23-25) If you are a school leaver, may I ask you the question: Are you still under your schoolmaster who taught you? Certainly no.
I therefore conclude that we are not living under the Old Testament law because we would be judged by the New Testament only. (John 12.48) We are not to perform the rituals and not to obey or abide by the laws in the Old Testament. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath the Father and the Son." (2 John 9.)