TO OBSERVE OR NOT TO OBSERVE

How  can a person determine which of the  laws contained  in  the agreement  with  ancient  Israel apply to the  elect  today?  In order to determine which laws must still be observed and which laws are not to be observed, each law should be separated into individual categories and analyzed according to the guidelines given in  Acts  15 and other scriptures concerning the liberty that the elect of God have under their agreement with the Father. Each of the laws can be placed in one of the following  five categories:

1. The Temple and the Priesthood

Without a temple in which the priesthood can officiate, no law that requires  the  existence of the temple or the priesthood  can  be practiced  by the elect or anyone else. It is legally  impossible, according to the scriptures, to practice any part of the agreement between the Creator God and Israel without an official temple and attending priesthood.

None  of the laws concerning the practice of the Aaronic  priesthood  can be applied to the elect, because the elect are a part of the  royal  priesthood of the God family:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy  nation, a  people belonging to God, that you may declare the  praises  of him  who  called you out of darkness into  the  wonderful light" (1.Pet.2:9 Para.).

2. The Sacrificial System

Without  an official temple and a priesthood, none of the  sacrifices can be offered to God.

3. Justification

The  sacrificial system whereby justification was  obtained  does not  exist under the new agreement that was instituted  by  Jesus Christ. The justification through the sacrificial system has been superseded by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ through which all of  humanity can now be justified before God.  See Heb.10:1-12; Acts 13:38-39; 15:1-41.

4. National Israel

The nation of Israel does not exist today as it was  originally  established at Mount Sinai, and a new agreement  has been established by Jesus Christ; therefore, none of the laws concerning the governing of the civil nation of Israel are legally binding  on the  elect today. These laws include the laws concerning circumcision, wearing tassels, placing the ten commandments on the door post, property rights, observing the year of release and the jubilee year, and etc..

5. Righteous Conduct

All laws that God gave to the Patriarchs and ancient Israel  concerning  righteous behavior are still valid and should be  obeyed by  the  elect. These laws are not evil or unjust; they  are  the laws  of love for the elect and our neighbors. The only thing that would  prevent us from obeying these laws would be circumstances beyond our control. See Lev.19:11,13-18.

The following are some of the many laws pertaining to righteous conduct under God's first agreement with national  Israel that are obviously a part of the new  agreement:

Marriage and Sex Laws

The laws governing marital and sexual relationships are to be observed by the  elect. Moreover, the importance of these laws and their physical and spiritual  implications  were explained by Jesus and the apostles.

Dietary and Health Laws

All laws concerning diet and health are to be observed by  the elect of God because they are empirical physical laws, which must be observed to keep from defiling the temple of God—a Christian's physical body. See our study papers concerning these laws.

The Observances and Holy Convocations

Although  some  of the events these days picture have  been partly fulfilled,  the New Testament clearly indicates that much of their  symbolism  is still valid for today, and  some  of  their prophetic meaning and events are yet to be fulfilled.  In addition, the historical record and the  New  Testament clearly  show that the early church  observed them. See  Col.2:16-17 and our study papers concerning the commanded observances and holy convocations.

Civil Matters

The  elect  are aliens, strangers, and  ambassadors  on this  earth  and are powerless to enforce God's law  outside  the body of the elect until such power and authority is given at  the return of Christ. See Rev.11:15;20:4-6.

God  has instructed the elect (both Jew and Gentile) to obey  the civil laws of the land in which they live. See Matt.17:24-27  and the  example of the apostle Paul concerning civil law. The only time a person  should disobey a civil law is when such a law is in direct conflict  with the law of God.

ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES

There are many laws noted under the first agreement with national Israel that are not specifically mentioned in the New  Testament as being a part of the new agreement established by Jesus Christ; nonetheless, they are  a part of its terms and conditions.  Listed below  are  some additional guidelines for determining whether or not a particular law must be practiced:

By B.L. Cocherell, file b4w11