Laws 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 its individual category and analyzed according to the guidelines given in Isaiah 28:9-13, Acts 15, and the scriptures which show the liberty the Father's children have under their agreement with him. Each of God's laws can be placed in one of the following five categories:

    • Laws about the temple and the priesthood

    • Laws about the sacrificial system

    • Laws about justification

    • Laws governing ancient Israel

    • Laws about a righteous attitude and behavior

1. The Temple and the Priesthood

Without a temple and the Levitical priesthood to officiate in the temple, no law requiring the existence of the temple and the Levitical priesthood can be practiced by the elect or anyone else. Moreover, none of the laws concerning the temple or the Aaronic priesthood can be applied to the elect, because the elect are God the Father's royal priesthood and holy nation:

"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 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 The justification through the sacrificial system has been superseded by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ through which all of humanity can now be justified before God.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 about the governing of the civil nation of Israel are legally binding on the elect today. These laws include the laws about circumcision, wearing tassels, placing the ten commandments on the door post, property rights, observing the year of release and the jubilee year, and more.

5. Righteous Attitude and Behavior

All laws God gave to the Patriarchs and ancient Israel about a righteous attitude and 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.

The following are some of the many laws pertaining to a righteous attitude and behavior 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 regarding 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.

The Observances and Holy Convocations

Although some of the events that the commanded observances and holy convocations picture have been partly fulfilled, the biblical record 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 and biblical records clearly show the early church observed these days. See Col.2:16-17.

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.

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 to them at Christ's return. See Rev.11:15; 20:4-6.

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


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:

    • Has the law been canceled or suspended by a direct "thus says the Lord", an act of God, or circumstances beyond our control?

    • Has there been a change in the law and/or the method of its observance? A good example of this is the Passover and the observance of the annual festivals.

    • Has the need for the particular law been eliminated? For example, the need for a Passover sacrifice has been eliminated, because the sacrifice of Christ now forgives sin and takes away its penalty?

    • Has the law been changed so that the physical act or symbolism is no longer required? For example, wearing tassels is no longer required as a reminder of the commandments.

    • Is the law made invalid by the new agreement? For example, animal sacrifice can no longer atone for sin.

    • Is it impossible to perform the act or the law under present conditions? For example, the temple worship system cannot be performed, because a temple and its priesthood no longer exist.

Prove All Things

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1.Thes.5:21 KJV).

By B. L. Cocherell b4w7