Question:

I appreciate the information you have on your page regarding the Old Testament. However I am going to bring a challenge to you. Primarily for the purpose of learning myself. So please do not take any offense.

It occurs to me that following the Old Testament was never intended for atoning permanently for our sins. Therefore, what the New Testament was intended for was to bring final atonement (through the Messiah) and clarification of the Old Testament.  

As far as the purpose for “following” the Old Testament, if you follow it for the purpose of redemption, then failure is an absolute.

However, since the Old Testament is considered a schoolmaster and we are no longer under the schoolmaster, because in the Messiah we need no schoolmaster. But the Torah is a perfect outline as to how to please God.

Since the priesthood has changed from Aaron to Melchizedek, the sacrificial part of the law is what has stopped. The rest of the law is just a blueprint of how to please God.

Did you know that if you follow the dietary part of the law you will be more healthy? That if you did a medical study on much of the laws regarding your body you will find that there is medical merit.

There are more examples.

There is a physical and spiritual gain (not salvational) to following the law. Please consider what I have said prayerfully.

Please respond lovingly and with much conviction.


Answer:

Allow me to first illustrate what you are doing. In logic, a person starts with two or more truths, called premises. When those premises are combined in an acceptable way, it leads us to notice a new truth that we might not have noticed before. This is called an implication. There is a interesting point about implications: they only work if all the premises are true. If any of the premises are false, then the conclusion cannot be proven. It could be true or it could be false, but you can't prove it from a false premise.

I noticed that in each argument, you slipped in an unproven statement (a falsehood).

Premises:

  1. The Old Testament was never intended for permanently atoning for our sins.
  2. The New Testament brought final atonement through the Messiah
  3. The New Testament brought clarification of the Old Testament

The first premise is almost, but not quite true. "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:1-4). The point is not that the Old Testament system of sacrifices could not permanently atone for sin; the point is that it could not atone for sin at all. It was only a temporary measure until the only solution could be given.

The second premise is true. "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).

The third premise puts the New Testament in a subservient position to the Old Testament. It assumes the Old Testament was intended to be permanent and the New Testament only clarifies what the Old Testament stated. This is not what is presented in the Scriptures. Returning to the same passage about the Old Testament sacrifices, we read: "Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second" (Hebrews 10:8-9).

The reason is simple. It is not possible to be under both the Mosaical covenant and the covenant of Christ. "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another--to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:4-6).

What is stated is that the Old Testament clarifies the New Testament, not the other way around. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (I Corinthians 10:11).

Premises:

  1. If you follow the Old Testament for the purpose of redemption, then failure is an absolute.
  2. The Old Testament is considered a schoolmaster and we are no longer under the schoolmaster because in the Messiah we need no schoolmaster.
  3. The Torah is a perfect outline as to how to please God.

The first premise is true. Jesus' death was necessary to bring redemption to those who had lived under the Old Law. "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15). It could not be accomplished under that covenant, so a new covenant was established by the blood of the Lord.

The second premise is also true being a rewording of Paul's statement. "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:23-25).

The third premise is a direct contradiction of what is stated in the New Testament. "For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God" (Hebrews 7:18-19). The reason is that the Old Law brought a knowledge of sin. "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). But it could not absolve those sins. It could only point to a future hope of redemption which was fulfilled in Christ. Thus, it was only shadow of the reality in Christ. "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:13-17).

Premises:

  1. Since the priesthood has changed from Aaron to Melchizedek, the sacrificial part of the law is what has stopped.
  2. The rest of the law is just a blueprint of how to please God.

The first premise is self contradictory since it admits that both the priesthood and the sacrificial system both changed with Jesus; yet it claims that only the sacrificial parts of the law has stopped. As we already seen, the sacrificial system changed because the Old Covenant's sacrifices could not bring about redemption. The point of the Hebrews writer is that the priesthood also changed because Jesus has become our high priest. "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1). But Jesus could not be a high priest under the Mosaical law. "Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek"" (Hebrews 7:11-17).

The second premise is also false. God's covenants are not designed to be sliced into pieces at the whims of man. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them"" (Galatians 3:10). This is why Paul condemned requiring circumcision. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4).

The Old Law did have excellent laws concerning healthy living, yet those laws are no longer in effect. For example, the Old Law forbade the eating of pork. "So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?"" (Mark 7:18-19). "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (I Timothy 4:1-5).

You did not prove your point; instead, you have shown yourself to be in opposition to the teachings of laws of Christ.

First of all I want to point out that out of all the people I have challenged on these things, you are the first one that did not respond with emotionalism and anger. And secondly, you have more than beautifully illustrated some things that I cannot respond to quickly. I will study these points and pray.

You see, I was a Christian for 20 years, and then got saved last year. And now since I am trying to see the Bible without myself in the way. I have been seeking healthy conversation on doctrine amd theology and have only found that most Christians have no idea what the Bible even says --including most pastors. I have no doctorate or any formal training, just a desire to know the truth of God. So I study and try to check myself with various people who I hope are educated.  

The first thing I look for is love and humility, and then I listen.

Thank you for being the first to pass my test.

I will take my time to prepare a response. Whether or not you have time to respond again is of course entirely up to you.

Obviously I'm not out to make myself pleasing to anyone. My sole purpose is to teach God's word. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11). That my reply has caused you to think and dig further into the Scriptures causes me great joy. I look forward to hearing from you again.