Is It Really Put Away?

I’ve been reading through a document that was presented to me a week ago on “The Covenant and The Law“, and I’ve been scouring my Bible for truths concerning several points being made in it.

There were three points that were mentioned that the author seemed to think were “givens”: the Priesthood, Sacrificial Rituals & Circumcision are all no longer required. I used to freely spout that off as well, but the past few months I’ve been seriously reconsidering my longheld belief concerning this.

I admit I’m still stumped about Circumcision. I haven’t given up on it yet, but for the moment I’m okay with not having that completely figured out at this point. Regarding the other two, however, I dug deep into the Word this weekend to find out what it has to say about them, and it was very exciting.

WHAT DID JESUS SAY?

First, I start with the underlying premise that Jesus said,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means dissappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18 NIV)

The author of the document finished with these verses, expounding on the meaning of the word “fulfill”, but neglecting to speak on the meaning of “abolish”. His premise concerning this verse was since it was already determined that the three “givens” are no longer applicable, then Matt 5:17-18 “cannot mean what advocates of keeping the Old Covenant law claim it means“. Honestly, I was shocked by this line of reasoning.

Why wouldn’t we want to start with Jesus’ words and then determine the truth concerning controversial matters, rather than drawing a conclusion about controversial matters and making Jesus’ words fit in with our conclusions?

When I personally study Scripture and I have a thought about what something means concerning a matter, I go back and re-read through whole books that touch on that matter to see if my understanding gels or conflicts with it. This helps me to stay in line with the Word. I recognize I can still be off, but at least it keeps me in check from being way off.

Anyway, let’s just for a moment consider the possibility that Jesus meant what he said, when he said he didn’t come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. What about the priesthood and the sacrificial rituals?

NO TEMPLE, NO PRIESTHOOD, NO SACRIFICES

Let me state the obvious. There are no acting priests offering sacrifices in the temple right now in Jerusalem. That’s because there’s no temple there. It was destroyed in 70 AD. However, this lapse in temple worship/ministry is not evidence that the Law concerning these matters is no longer valid or required. It’s just that there is no temple to carry out these requirements from the Law at this time.

Keep in mind there was no temple after Solomon’s temple was destroyed up until it was rebuilt in Ezra’s time, but that did not make the Law concerning temple worship/ministry null and void then either. Those requirements just couldn’t be carried out at that time as well.

Getting back to today. There is Scripture in both the Old & New Testament (Daniel 9:27 & Matthew 24:15-16) that prophesies there will be an end to daily sacrifices and on the wing of the temple the an abomination that causes desolation will be set up. This indicates there will be priests administering sacrifices in the end times. This further indicates to me that these requirements of the Law cannot be done away with yet.

[EDIT 1/16/16: There are some who believe the prophecy concerning an end to daily sacrifice was fulfilled completely when the second temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and that there is no future fulfillment of this to take place. I don’t have a firm stand on this as of yet. I imagine there were those who believed it was fulfilled completely when Solomon’s temple (the first one) was destroyed, but clearly a new temple was built and daily sacrifices commenced again. I suppose there is a possibility for yet another temple to be built, or at the very least an altar erected, and daily sacrifices to continue once again. So for now, I remain open-minded on this subject.]

TWO TEMPLES: IN HEAVEN and ON EARTH

In Hebrews 7-10 we hear about a priest named Melchizedek, and that Jesus is our High Priest “in the order of Melchizedek”. Well, who is that guy?

We don’t hear much about him except back in Genesis 14:18-20, Abraham was blessed by this Priest and presented a tithe to him. He is identified as the King of Salem or Jerusalem. Hmm. This was *before* the promised land became the land of “Israel”, *before* Jacob/Israel was even born, and *before* Abram became “Abraham”. Oh, I forgot to mention Melchizedek “brought out bread and wine”. Wow, where else have we heard about “bread and wine”? Pretty interesting, I must say. So where did this guy come from?

Fastforward a little bit to Psalm 110:4 where he’s mentioned again,

“The LORD (YHWH) has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'”

Oh, I get goosebumps reading this…read the whole Psalm. It’s It appears to me to be about YHWH talking to our Messiah concerning the end of the age. How cool is that.

Anyway, getting back to Hebrews, the author talks about how Jesus is like Melchizedek. Then in Hebrews 8:1-5, we are told about TWO temples. And this sounded off alarms in my head and all of a sudden it became much clearer.

“The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'”

Did you see that? Two tabernacles: one set up by the Lord and one set up by man…one in heaven and one on earth. Did you also notice the author said, “If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.”? The author is telling us that the priests are still offering “gifts” here on earth…even after Yeshua/Jesus ascended and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in heaven.

Can these two temples function simultaneously? We see that they did at the time Hebrews was written, so why not now?

The document on “The Covenant and The Law” cited Hebrews 7:12 as support for no longer having a priesthood and Hebrews 10:12 as support for no longer requiring sacrificial rituals. The first passage says,

“For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.”

The tense of this verse does not indicate this change of law has already occurred, but rather it simply states a change must be made.  The second passage says,

“But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”

My question is, where did he offer this sacrifice: in heaven or on earth? (Hint: he was crucified killed on a hill, not on the altar in the earthly temple.)  But then, I also want to point out the full context of this verse by backing up a bit in the text.

The author is drawing a parallel between the sacrifices offered by the earthly priests (as prescribed by the Law of God), and our heavenly priest. We’re told in verse 1,

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming –”

(note this is referencing something still in the future)

“…For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.”

Verses 3-4 state,

“But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

Stop the presses! Those sacrifices prescribed by the law serve a particular purpose…it is not to take away sins, but rather to remind us of them. That purpose has never changed, so why would they end at this point?

Jump down to verse 11, continuing onto verse 12. It says,

“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”

The author here is drawing a correlation between the repetitive action of the earthly priests (who were still performing these ritual tasks after Yeshua/Jesus offered his sacrifice) and the single action of our heavenly priest, Yeshua/Jesus. He is not saying, Yeshua’s sacrifice abolished the need for the priests here on earth to perform their duties. No, the need for the priests here on earth still exist…we still need an annual reminder of sins!

“…not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means dissappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

I encourage you to pull out your Bible and read Hebrews 7-10…if you have the time, go ahead and start in chapter 1. But read it with the idea that (1) there are two temples, one here on earth and one in heaven, and (2) Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the Law.

I propose Yeshua/Jesus is fulfilling it both here on earth, and in heaven. When it’s all accomplished, then I’ll consider the possibility that “the smallest letter or the least stroke of a pen” may disappear. Until then, praise YHWH, for I delight in His law and meditate on it day and night.

NOTE: Please understand this post describes my understanding of the Scripture at the time of this writing. If you see there is something I am missing in my understanding, please feel free to share it with me in love. I will be glad to hear other perspectives as I seek to remain teachable.

8 thoughts on “Is It Really Put Away?

  1. evelyn acree

    Oh Carrie, you are way off in what you are sharing with others. I would be very careful. You are coming to the scripture trying to prove the point that we are still to keep all the Old Testament laws and because of this your interpretation of Scripture is off. We have a Great High Priest who name is Jesus. He has paid the penalty of my sin once and for all. He is at the right hand of God interceding for me. Since I am a Christian Gods Spirit indwells me and reminds me and convicts me when I sin. These verses show us that Jesus has done what the priest and the sacrifices of the Old Testament could never do for us. They were pointing the way to a need for a Savior. Jesus is the fulfillment of everything that was foreshadowed in the Old Testament . Hebrews 8:6 says Jesus is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. vs. 7 for if that first covenant had been faultless then no place would have been sought for a second. The following vs.8-13 tells us how God has made the external law internal. He has written it on the hearts and minds of His Children. I hope you went on to read all of chapter 9 in Hebrews. There is no way you can get your interpretation if you go on to read chapter 9. You need to get away from trying to interpret scripture through the lens of keeping the Old Testament law. I say this lovingly. It is getting you way off.

    Reply
  2. Carrie Wigal Post author

    I’m sorry, Evie, but we need to interpret Scripture in the New Testament in light of the Old Testament. That’s what the Bereans did. Paul preached from the Old Testament. We are in error if we start from the New Testament…we need to start from the Old.

    Yes, I have read the following chapters. Hebrews 8:8-13 quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34. It speaks of a “new covenant” that YHWH will make with the house of Israel. The word “new” refers to a “fresh new thing”, not new vs old as it relates to age. Look the word up in your Strongs Concordance. When he says that we will no longer need to teach our neighbor or brother saying, “know the LORD” because all will know Him, he’s talking about an “intimate knowledge” of YHWH, not just a “mere recognition” of Him. Again, look up the word “know” in both books (Greek & Hebrew words) in your Strongs Concordance.

    I don’t think we’ve arrived yet.

    I agree it is a better covenant, and there are better promises, but we’re not through with the Old Covenant yet. There are still many who have yet to come to “know” Him.

    It is imperative that we use Scripture starting from the beginning (Genesis) as our foundation for our belief, not our understanding of New Testament Scripture apart from the Old Testament.

    The problem I see in much of Christendom is that we have walked into the middle of God’s story, discovered the key (Jesus) and we think we have the whole story figured out. But we are missing the foundation on which the story was told…the BEGINNING.

    Just because we have a preconceived idea of what these other verses are saying in Hebrews, this doesn’t mean that we are correct in our understanding. We need to humble ourselves to the Word of God…that is the Truth, not our understanding of it.

    I can keep on refuting your understanding of these other verses with Scripture, but unless you are willing to accept the whole of Scripture as the final word, then you will not hear me.

    What is “way off” is throwing out Jesus’ words for the sake of our doctrine. I say that lovingly as well.

    Reply
  3. Carrie Wigal Post author

    One more thing, if you notice Hebrews 9:10 says, “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” (also Jeremiah 31:33) Look up the word “laws” in your Strongs Concordance…it is “torah”.

    Reply
  4. Barbara Lintecum

    Carrie,

    Here is some scripture for you:

    Galations 5:22

    “For the fruit of the Sprit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against these things there is no law” — question: Where is the fruit of your “ministry”? It is not evident to me.

    Titus 3:9-11

    But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful: he is self-condemned.

    A few more questions:

    Once you told us in bible study that you feel your spritural gift is the gift of “prophecy”. If what you are saying is God revealing His truth to you through His Word, would not the Holy Spirit bring conviction on the hearts of those who hear? Has anyone in leadership in the Body of Christ been drawn to repentance by your words in the past year? Have your words caused strife, division and pain?

    In John 21 Jesus said “if you love me…feed my sheep”. How is your love for Christ manifested within the Body of Christ? How are you feeding His sheep? How are you serving?

    Barbara

    Reply
  5. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Evie, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote.

    You said, “We have a Great High Priest who name is Jesus. He has paid the penalty of my sin once and for all. He is at the right hand of God interceding for me. Since I am a Christian Gods Spirit indwells me and reminds me and convicts me when I sin.”

    I agree. My question to you here is “What is sin?” 1 John 3:4 says that sin is lawlessness, but if the law is put away when we put our faith in Jesus, then what is considered sin at that point?

    You said, “These verses show us that Jesus has done what the priest and the sacrifices of the Old Testament could never do for us. They were pointing the way to a need for a Savior. Jesus is the fulfillment of everything that was foreshadowed in the Old Testament .”

    I agree. My question here though is, “Aren’t there still things to be physically fulfilled by Jesus that were foreshadowed in the Old Testament?” (For example, his second coming) Is it possible that not *all* things have been physically accomplished yet. I believe that Jesus fulfills all of Scripture, but my hangup is on the fact that I don’t believe everything is finished yet. Jesus is still waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. Can you please help me understand from your vantage point how everything is considered fulfilled already?

    You said, “Hebrews 8:6 says Jesus is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. vs. 7 for if that first covenant had been faultless then no place would have been sought for a second. The following vs.8-13 tells us how God has made the external law internal. He has written it on the hearts and minds of His Children.”

    My question here is: If he has put His torah in our hearts and written them on our minds, then why do you feel we are no longer expected to keep torah after we’ve accepted what Jesus did for us?

    Lastly, can you share with me your understanding as to what Jesus meant when he said he did not come to abolish the law in Matthew 5:17-18?

    Please know, I am not trying to be argumentative. I’m just seeking to understand where you are coming from in all of this. Why is it that we both agree on so many things but you think the law is put away, yet I don’t?

    I’m doing my best to explain where I’m coming from. I would like to understand where you’re coming from.

    Reply
  6. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Barbara, it sounds like I have either hurt you or made you mad, and we need to get that resolved quickly. Please call me when you’re able to talk about it. You are very dear to me, and I don’t want to be estranged from you.

    Reply
  7. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Barbara,

    Titus 1:9 says, “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

    This is the verse directly preceding your reference of Titus 1:10-11. It is important to understand what “the trustworthy message” that has been taught was.

    The problem I see is that I believe much of Christendom has strayed from the trustworthy message that has been taught by Paul. (And this started a LONG time ago.) We need to get back to the original Scripture from which he taught and really start questioning the beliefs we currently hold. We need to test everything.

    This is not being argumentative or quarrelsome, this is being wise. We know what we have been taught, but do we really know what Paul taught. We see what is written on the pages of our Bibles, but do we understand the references he continually makes to The Law and The Prophets. (Do we even realize he’s referring to the Old Testament?)

    Peter gave us a warning about Paul’s teaching in 2 Peter 3:16-17:

    “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

    We need to heed that warning and make sure we are not victims of destructive distorted teaching.

    That is what I’m doing on my blog. What exactly did Paul teach in Romans concerning righteousness? What exactly did the author of Hebrews (which some believe is also Paul) teach concerning the priesthood and ritual sacrifices? When we read about the journey that Paul made in Acts, are there things that we are overlooking that are written in plain sight? How familiar are we with The Law & The Prophets (Old Testament)? Are we able to understand what Paul is saying when he refers back to it?

    I am not leading people away from Scripture. I am imploring people to dig into Scripture. I am not leading people into a “justified by works” doctrine like the circumcision group was doing. I emphatically state we are justified by faith in Jesus. Without that, it doesn’t matter how much we obey the law…there is no salvation without faith in Jesus.

    I perceive that the households that are “hearing” what I’m saying (more like tuning into certain trigger words that cause a knee-jerk reaction) are being made uncomfortable because it’s rocking the boat of what they believe. I’m challenging the doctrines of men, and that is unsettling to those who hold fast to those doctrines. If those doctrines are true, then our faith will be built up as we prove them through Scripture. But if those doctrines are false, then we can abandon them and replace it with truth found in the Word of God.

    What I’m doing in challenging the long-held doctrines we believe, is beneficial and needful for growth. It may initially lead to being broken down, but ultimately (if we persevere) it will lead to being built up even stronger in our faith.

    I pray you can understand what I’m saying.

    Reply

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