´¯`•. May 20, 2010

What to Keep?

I wanted to do a short-n-sweet post to try to help people understand why some of Torah still is kept, but other parts are not.  For example, I’m here abstaining from unclean foods, but I don’t sacrifice animals – and BOTH are commanded in Torah.  Or maybe you wonder why I didn’t circumcise my sons, but I keep the feasts.  Why some things, and not others?  Or why do I keep ANY of it at all?  Maybe that’s your question.  Once I was even asked, “if you keep the Law, you have to stone your children when they mouth back to you… do you do that?”  What do you keep, if you should keep any?

So the first question is… should we keep any… and Messiah answers the question for us:

Yahshua said in John 14:15,  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  What are His commandments?  Torah – translated, “the Law”.  It’s the rules/commands given in the first five books of the OT.

Yahshua also said (Mt 7:20-23) “Many will come to me in that day and say, ‘Lord, Lord’, haven’t we worked miracles in your name, did good works (etc)… and then I will say to them, ‘Depart from Me, you who are law-less (do not keep the Law/Torah) – I never knew you.”  Even in Revelation – the remnant of Israel’s seed are (12:17) those which both ‘keep the commandments AND have the testimony of Messiah Yahshua’.

Jews keep the commandments but don’t have Messiah.  Christians have Messiah but don’t keep Torah.  Both are off the mark by half.  Neither are the ‘remnant of Israel’s seed’.  The Jews have been cut off for their faithlessness and the Christians are cut off for their lawlessness.  Which is why ‘broad is the way that leads to destruction… but narrow is the way of righteousness, and few find it.’ (Mt 7:13-14)

Now, for Torah.  There are two different kinds of commandments – those that involve blood, and those that don’t.  It’s a simple way to break it down.  Commandments that call for blood say that if you do something wrong, something/one has to be put to death to pay for it.  Or, as with circumcision, something must be cut/bleed for a specific purpose.  Then there are the other commandments, like keeping feasts or wearing tzitzit or abstaining from things (leaven at specific times, unclean foods, etc.) that are also commandments.  They don’t involve blood.

From a Jewish perspective, Yahshua is NOT Messiah, so everything is as it was in Moses’ time, except that there are no sacrifices, because a) there is no temple and b) there hasn’t been a ruling religious class [Sanhedrin] until a year or so ago, and c) their country/neighbors won’t allow it.  It’s kind of a problem for them, but they don’t really have much of a choice.  And it’s a bone of contention.

From a Christian perspective, JEE-zus died for their sins, was the ultimate sacrifice, put an end to the law, and everything in the OT is just back-story.  History.  No longer applies.  The Jews are pitiful in their OT stagnation… We are FREE in Christ, y’know!  Which sounds really good… but they run into trouble, because if you’re FREE in Christ to the point where you don’t have to obey or observe or anything AT ALL, you really don’t come off as ‘holy’ or ‘set apart’ from the world around you.  The only difference is a heart change, you see.  And it gets sloppier as you go along.  You can see this in just about any church.

Now from a Messianic perspective, Yahshua says (Mt 5:18) “NOT ONE jot or tittle shall pass from the Law until Heaven and Earth have passed away.”  Have heaven and earth passed away?  No.  So He did NOT put an end to the Law.  He said, (Mt 5:17) “I have not come to put an end to the Law, but to bring it to fullness”, or full meaning.  So does the Law still apply?  YES.  In fact, it’s even more important than before, because now we understand WHY we celebrate, abstain, etc.  Yahshua gave it all guts, where it was just an outline before.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Because Torah says blood must be shed to atone for sin, right?  We cut off the foreskin of our sons to show that they are ‘cut off’ from their sins.  We’re supposed to sacrifice unto the Lord, to put evildoers to death.  And this is STILL true.  Our sins require sacrifice and bloodshed.  But while we are to be Torah-obedient, things changed when Messiah came on the scene.  How so?

Yahshua was the once-for-all sacrifice for atonement of sin.  Pretty much all of Hebrews 10 states this, and says in at least four verses that Messiah *IS* the one-time sacrifice for all atonement – past, present, and future.  He shed His blood on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to kill a goat/bull/dove/lamb ever again.  So we wouldn’t have to shed our blood or anyone else’s – HIS blood is enough.  So do we stone our children now?  NO – that’s bloodshed, and Christ shed His blood for us.  Do we offer a red heifer on Yom Kippur?  NO – that’s bloodshed, and Christ took care of it for us.  Bloodshed and sacrifice ARE STILL required, don’t mistake that!  God and His Laws and ways do NOT change – ever.  The difference is, all is settled by way of the blood of Christ.

Do we have to circumcise our children?  NO – that’s bloodshed.  Christ’s blood has taken the place of that – HIS blood cuts us off from our sins now, not our blood.  (See Acts 15:24 for the apostle’s confirming this… and yes, Paul circumcised Timothy in Acts 16:3, but it was because of the Jews at that time period – lest any should stumble.  NOT in obedience to the Law, as Christ took care of that!)  Now some people say that we still have to circumcise in obedience… but if that’s true, then we would still have to kill animals to be obedient, too… and that’s just not the case.  That’s the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice.  He shed His blood so NO MORE blood would need to be shed.

So basically, if it’s Law in the OT, and doesn’t involve the shedding of blood, it applies to you.  You must keep the feasts ‘for all generations’, you must abstain from unclean foods, and from there you move into mikvahs and tzitzit and so forth.  If it involved the shedding of blood, Christ now provides that and we are still under that Law, but atoned for by our Savior.  Get it?

Pretty easy, actually, but this stuff sometimes gets a little confusing to the newbie, so I thought it’d be best to clarify for posterity’s sake.

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