TO OBSERVE OR NOT TO OBSERVEBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
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.
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 The justification through the sacrificial system has been superseded by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ through which all of humanity can now be justified before God.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 Goda 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.
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.
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: