Upon further investigation and realizations concerning Exodus and the old laws, as I have previously posted about (see: Exodus Passover), I have come to realize that the old laws were meant for the Israelites during those times. For I was grafted into the body of Christ. I cannot say if I am from an Israelite decent; for all I know I could be from the Egyptians or otherwise.
Therefore why do I need to adhere to the laws that were given TO the Israelites?
I have a new covenant with God through Christ and it is that in which I honor. If God tells me to honor other laws from the Old Testament then I will do so, but in the meantime I will continue working on my relationship with Him, reading about the old days when He worked in other lives, following examples of Christ as best as I humanly can, and continue to pray for guidance everyday.
In regards to keeping with the Passover feast, a week-long event, I was reminded how Christ was our sacrificial lamb on the cross during that time. He was the ultimate sacrifice in order that I would no longer be in need of such redemption of sacrificing animals. Furthermore, as far as a celebration and feast, we are supposed to be celebrating Christ on a daily level. We need to be growing in our relationship with Him, loving Him, needing Him, having a hunger for Him, and not just celebrating what he has done for us once a year. It is a daily event meant to take place in our daily lives.
To say otherwise would render Christ’s prediction of the demise of the temple useless. He spoke that the church (the old way of doing things) would be torn down and not a stone would remain in tact (Matthew 24:1-2). In John we see that Christ became angry, turning over tables and running off people and cattle as the people were selling merchandise in the temple, and they ask Him to prove his authority for what He was doing. He then answered them telling them to destroy the temple and He would raise it in three days. (John 2:13-21)
If you will notice, it says in the beginning of this,
13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
These were the “laws” and rituals that the Jews followed. Again, this goes back to my statement about me not being from Jewish decent (that I’m aware of) and have been grafted into the vine, that is, the Body of Christ. The Bible does not teach that I must confirm to Judaism in order to become a Christian, it says I must simply believe in Him as my Savior and seek His ways.
Even Isaiah spoke of the people “following” God’s laws. They became so unclean that they might as well not even be trying to please Him anymore. He was disgusted with their efforts. It was if they thought they could do whatever they wanted and come back and ask for forgiveness only to go back to whatever they were doing before (Isaiah 1:1-31). Isaiah even compared the people of Israel to Sodom and Gomorrah! They stopped seeking God and started seeking their own ways while still keeping up the rituals (requirements of the O.T. laws).
This was the same issues the Pharisees were also having and Jesus himself would correct them of their ways explaining that it wasn’t what they did on the outside (to show they were “clean.”) but what and how they were on the inside (Mark 7:1-23).
The problem with men following laws is that without God in their lives, they are just men following rituals. It can be said the same of the Bible. Without God, the Bible is meaningless. If we’re going around reading scripture to each other but not seeking God, what good does it do? Are we therefore not any different from the Pharisees?
Recently I was asked to read some conversations and writings concerning tithing to your church. Both sides made good arguments as far as the matter was concerned, one being that God never specifically tells us to tithe, giving a tenth of our wages to the church. The other being that we are also told of how even Christ followed the laws of the Old Testament.
My thoughts on the matter are this: We are told that it was man who decided to give such a tithe to the Lord (though it was not over money).
And yes, we are also told to follow the laws of the Lord, but the laws of who? Are we to go back and follow the laws given to the Israelites? The written testimonies of God working in their lives so that we would know He is ‘I AM THAT I AM‘? Or are these written testimonies for us to learn more about His ways and the ways of the people who were supposed to be following Him throughout their generations? God also tells us in Exodus that the firstfruits and first-borns belong to Him.
What we need to recognize is that God wants recognition for all that He has given us. That without Him, we are nothing. What are we but mere men? People on the earth with no control over anything of importance. It’s God that allows us to be here (ever thought about how many times He’s probably wanted to wipe out the Earth again?), and we are here to be His servants, seeking to serve where ever it is we are called to be. Tithing should be a form of gratitude towards the Lord.
With that being said, I do not currently belong to a local church or a ministry. Now, upon leaving a church after the Lord revealed some things about it, I have not been called to go to any churches near by since. I have looked into some here and there, asking friends what church or ministries they belonged to. I started to worry as I have always been taught by those around me that you need to belong to a church or ministry. That’s what everyone said. While in this search God finally spoke to me about the issue (as I kept asking for guidance on which church to go to) and plainly asked me, “Why are you looking to learn from men?”
This kind of took me back for a minute and knocked me on my feet, mentally. Why was I seeking to learn from men? Why did I feel I had to go to a church, sit in a pew listening to a Pastor (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this if that’s what you feel He is calling you to), instead of reading the Bible myself? Maybe God knew that in doing so I would eventually fall back into not fully seeking Him on my own but looking towards the interpretations of others.
It is very important to me that we need to encourage other people, fellow believers or not, to read the Bible on their own. To take the time for God and spend time with Him, in His Word. Without doing this you are no more able to discern truth from lie.
And are we not told to test everything, whether from prophet or deceiver, while holding onto the good? How can you actually test everything if you don’t even know what the Bible actually says?
God has led me down an unusual path that I never fully expected, though throughly enjoy. I’m not in a local church, but then, what is a church? It is a building for believers to congregate; worshiping and praising the Lord while also learning about Him. Sharing Him. Being in the Body of Christ does not mean that you are going to church every Sunday, attending Bible studies, and just hanging out with only Christian friends. Being in the Body of Christ is spending time with Him and growing your personal relationship with Him.
That does not mean that you should just say you’re never going to church again and you plan on staying home to read the Bible on your own. We are also told that, as the Body of Christ, we are to work together. It is vital that we meet with one another to discuss God, our relationship with Him, and share what we are learning about (those just being a few examples).
It is also dangerous to say and believe that, “we don’t have to go to a church to worship God.” Which though this statement is true in a sense, that we do not have to go to a physical church to worship God, but I’ve found most “Christians” that use this term are doing so as an excuse in not going, not because God is telling them not to go but because they don’t want to make the effort for the Lord.
And after all of that, does this mean I believe God doesn’t want me involved in some sort of church or ministry? No, but right now He wants me to do what I’m doing now. I can’t honestly say that I will not go to another church, sit in a pew, to listen to the gospel. I can honestly say that God is not calling me to any specific church right now and is telling me to continue what I’m doing. I do not want to allow myself to become distracted from what He is already telling me to do by seeking a church on my own terms.
I suppose through all of this I have gotten off topic. When speaking of the Old Testament, there are a lot of things to consider. One being that the Israelites had laws to follow. Christ didn’t come in saying we needed to do the same rituals as the Jews, but we needed to follow Him. Another thing is that there are some mentions of things that were set in place, as a law or requirement, to protect the Israelites. Such examples can be found in Leviticus 13:47-59 and Leviticus 14:33-57, where they were warned about the “plague of leprosy” that might come about in their homes or garments. What is this plague they were speaking of you ask? Well quite simply about bacteria and mold.
noun Pathology .
a chronic, mildly infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, affecting the peripheral nervous system, skin, and nasal mucosa and variously characterized by ulcerations, tubercular nodules, and loss of sensation that sometimes leads to traumatic amputation of the anesthetized part.
You can see by this that during these times they obviously didn’t know a lot about germs and staying clean. God made it clear to them what they were to do if they found such things (and who back then would know better about cleanliness than the priests). Does that mean that if I find mold in my house I’m supposed to call my local priest to come check it out and help clean it up? No, but that might be an amusing prank call (please don’t do that).
All said and done (and I’ve said plenty and rambled enough), I believe it is important to realize that when reading the Old Testament, learn what God wants you, by seeking His counsel, and remember that it is in Christ that we are made as new and able to come to God, not from abiding by all of the old laws. Christ is our High Priest, our Intercessor.
Hebrews chapter 7 really sums a lot of the explination up for you if you’re interested.
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; (2) To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (3) Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (4) Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. (5) And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: (6) But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. (7) And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. (8) And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. (9) And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. (10) For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. (11) If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? (12) For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. (13) For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. (14) For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. (15) And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, (16) Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. (17) For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (18) For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. (19) For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. (20) And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (21) (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) (22) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. (23) And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: (24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. (25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (26) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (28) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.