So Called "Ritual" / "Sacrificial" / "Ceremonial" / "Civil Law"
Many Christians say that the written Torah is split into different elements. Depending upon the perspective of whoever's making the point, you may have heard references to:
- the "Ritual Law" or;
- the "Sacrificial Law" or;
- the "Ceremonial Law" or;
- the "Civil Law".
That seems reasonable doesn't it?
However, Christians typically use these terms when debating what bits of the written Torah should be kept and what parts have been "done away" or "spiritually replaced".
See how many references to each of these you can find in the Bible.
Try it. Have a look in a concordance.
You won't find these terms there.
Arguably, they're essentially an artificial means by which Christians construct arguments to "pick and choose" which bits of the written Torah law are "in" and which bits are "out".
If we really want to understand God's written word, shouldn't we simply let it explain itself, without trying to force fit our points of view to it ?
How Does Scripture Itself Segment The Written Torah?
Scripture actually segments the written Torah (on almost sixty occasions) into the "statutes and judgements".
A good example of this is:
1 ¶ Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Interestingly that's not all that it says.
Verse 2 upholds the original integrity of ALL of the statutes and judgements.
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Another verse which refuses to adopt an artificial segmentation of written Torah is:
4 ¶ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Notice, that consistent with Deuteronomy 4:2, Malachi 4:4 says (without any apparent exceptions) that the law of Moses, the statutes and judgements should be remembered, not “reformed”, “added to” or “diminished from” or “spiritually replaced”.
Profoundly, Malachi 4's exhortation to "remember the law of Moses with the statute and judgements" is one of the last verses presented in the so called “Old Testament”!
So then, are we expected to believe that only "three verses later" when we get to the first verse of the so called "New Testament" that God had changed His mind and begun to unpick the written Torah bit by bit?
Malachi 4 is the last book in the Christian Bible. 2 Chronicles is the last book in the Jewish order of the books - the Tanakh.
Furthermore, no more than a few chapters later, in the so called “New Testament” and recorded many years after the crucifixion, Matthew 5:17,18,19 records Christ’s own words which arguably are entirely consistent with those of Malachi 4:4.
Go back to the start of Judianity - A "Third Way" Between Judaism or Christianity?.
A change to the law to circumcise gentile proselytes for Passover, was a significant discontinuity for the fledgling church. A similar level of fuss wasn't recorded if as many assert the law was "abolished"? Was the Torah really "done away" in Galatians if after the crucifixion Paul offered sacrifices when he kept Nazirite vows at the temple, as many christian theologians believe ?
Let's take a closer look at the subject of the statutes and judgements .
© www.judianity.info May 2009.