The concept of the Old Testament law and the Sabbath day is addressed several times on this website, yet we receive questions on this subject continually. The problem with discovering these messages on this website is obvious when you consider that, at the time of this printing, there are 235 subjects on GodSaidManSaid—and a new one, God willing, is published every Thursday evening. This feature will deal with the law, the Sabbath day in particular, and the principle of fulfillment. We understand that much doctrinal confusion exists concerning this topic. Clear your mind, and approach the subject from the Holy Book. Begin with a clean slate and allow the Spirit of God to restructure your understanding from what is written in His Word.
Much of the law—which is considerably more than the Ten Commandments—existed before Moses. For example, blood sacrifice (Genesis 4:4), capital punishment (Genesis 9:6), eating blood (Genesis 9:4), clean and unclean creatures (Genesis 7:2), adultery (Genesis 20:3), circumcision (Genesis 17:10), and more, preceded Moses. Even one law, the law of the Sabbath day, precedes sin. Genesis 2:3:
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
The Old Testament law is comprised of social and moral laws, sacrificial laws for the offerings for sin, and the support, structure, and sustenance of spiritual order. There were laws of religious hierarchy, ceremonial laws, and sundry commandments concerning finances, health, meats, marriage, hygiene, and more. These laws are marvelous to behold. They are filled with God’s wisdom and also foretell of the coming Christ. Much of Old Testament law is carried over into the New Testament in its Old Testament form, and the rest of it is carried over unto Christ and fulfilled in Him. All of the Ten Commandments, for instance, are carried over to the New Testament, either in literal or fulfillment form.
The principle of Christ’s fulfillment of the law is spoken by Him in Matthew 5:17-18:
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
As we continue in the discussion of this concept, it will become clear. The last plague of judgment brought upon the Egyptians in the days of Moses and Pharaoh (which caused Pharaoh to release the children of Israel from cruel bondage) was the slaying of the firstborn. Exodus 12:21-30:
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
The observance of Passover commemorates the day God caused the destroyer to pass over the houses where the blood of the lamb was applied. This sacrificial Passover lamb foreshadowed the coming Christ whose shed blood would atone for the sins of all those who believed upon His name and deliver them from the hand of Satan, the destroyer—freeing them from the cruel bondage of sin. The Word of God teaches that the enemy of our souls loves "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: (John 10:10)." When Satan, the destroyer, sees the blood of Christ applied to the lintel and two side posts of your soul, he must pass over you. Jesus Christ was crucified on the Jewish Passover.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John the Baptist prophetically recognizes Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God that delivers from sin.
I Corinthians 5:7:
For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
The Scriptures declare that the law is a schoolmaster bringing us unto Christ. Galatians 3:24-25:
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The Bible teaches that the law was not the fullness, but a mere shadow of that which was to come. Hebrews 10:1-10:
1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Now revisit God’s commandment to observe the Passover forever. The Passover was the shadow of Jesus Christ, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Again, I Corinthians 5:7 records, "Jesus Christ our Passover." This commandment of observing Passover is fulfilled in Christ Jesus, who, as we pointed out earlier, was crucified on the Jewish Passover. The fulfillment takes place in what is known in the church as the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion. The King of Glory eats His last supper before His crucifixion in Luke 22:15-20:
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
Jesus does not destroy the law, He fulfills it. We observe the Passover in its fulfillment as the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
Another very integral part of Old Testament law was the blood sacrifice, which was offered to God continually as a result of man’s sin. It is my estimation that there is no concept in Old Testament law which gets more emphasis than that of the blood sacrifice, yet no Christian would consider bringing a blood sacrifice to God. Christians know that Jesus Christ shed His blood for their sins. I John 1:7:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The Old Testament blood sacrifice was a shadow of the New Testament Christ who fulfilled the law.
Circumcision is another very critical part of the law, and as mentioned earlier, preceded the law given unto Moses. Unto Abraham, it was known as the token of the covenant. Those who refused to be circumcised were cut off from Israel. Circumcision, which delivers very real physical benefits, is fulfilled in Christ. (GodSaidManSaid recommends it, not as a commandment, but for your health.)
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Old Testament dietary law is addressed numerous times on this website. God’s directives are perfect concerning these matters, and science fully proves this. As with circumcision and sundry other commandments that have been fulfilled in Christ, they deliver very real and tangible physical and psychological benefits—but they are fulfilled in Christ. I Timothy 4:1-6 reads:
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
The following paragraph is found in the GodSaidManSaid subject, "A Matter of Law." It deals with the subject of meats:
God’s commandments are perfect and always deliver spiritual and physical benefits. God’s dietary laws, health laws, spiritual laws, and social laws are always perfect science. His observations and insights are, of course, supernatural and fully illuminating. For example, God, who created our bodies, gives explicit instruction about what we should put into our stomachs. Medical science clearly certifies that the forbidden or unclean foods outlawed in the Old Testament are definitely detrimental to man, shaving years off his life span. A wise man will take heed to God’s commandments simply because they are right. As I mentioned earlier, the born-again people can sanctify their food with God’s Word and prayer, but the vast majority of the world cannot. It should be noted that many confessing Christians lightly approach this issue when it is quite a supernatural feat to transform a pork chop into a lamb chop through faith. Vain repetition won’t get the job done. My recommendation to believers is, when spending your own money, take home the foods our God has endorsed. And when praying over food, make it an effectual fervent prayer. [End of quote]
Old Testament law is either carried over in the New Testament or fulfilled in Christ Jesus. This is the end of the first of a two-part series. "The Law and Sabbath—Part Two" will discuss the Sabbath itself in closer detail.