In Acts 17:11 Paul talks about the Berean’s and says, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” What scripture were they examining? They were examining the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The New Testament did not exist at that time. When Paul was preaching the good news and writing letters to the church and new potential converts, not all of the converts were reading the Old Testament to see if what he was saying was true or not. Unfortunately, today’s average Christian (follower of Yeshuah) could be placed in the same category.
With that in mind, lets address the law of God and who it applies to. All throughout the Torah Yahweh makes it clear that the rules for Israel were to be an example for the rest of the world on how to live and run their nation. Anyone who wants to serve the God of the Hebrews (Yahweh) had/has to go by the same set of rules. Yahweh, Yeshuah, and all the prophets say this over and over again. The covenant he made with Levi was only if Levi and his sons would follow God and His torah. The new covenant is that Yeshuah, through the order of Melchizedek became the high priest because the sons of Levi (the priestly line) broke their part of the covenant which was contingent on their actions whether or not the covenant would be canceled. The covenant of the torah (which was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai) is eternal whether we choose to keep it or not. This is why we do not read about the suffering servant in the prophets until after the Levitical priesthood was failing to do their job. This is why there is such a disconnect between Jews and Christians because the Jews still believe the Levitical covenant is still in tact and they do not need a replacement (Yeshuah). That is the covenant that was nailed to the cross in a matter of speaking. It is imperative that we make the distinction between covenants. There is a misconception in Christianity that there are only two covenants which is false. There are several that God made throughout the human narrative and each has different expectations and rules. Some are eternal and others are contingent. For example the covenant with Noah is eternal, YHWH will never flood the entire earth again. The covenant with the tribe of Levi was not eternal; it was contingent on their obedience to the torah. The torah that was given on Mt. Sinai was eternal regardless if we keep it or not. If we are followers of Yeshuah whom was a Hebrew that kept the torah (eternal) and consider ourselves grafted in through Him, then we are obligated to keep the torah (eternal) until heaven and earth pass away. A great example of the Levites being replaced would be Samuel. God chose him because the Levites of his time were so wicked that God raised Samuel up as the high priest and prophet. Another example of how God is looking for obedience rather than lineage was Caleb. Caleb was a Ceenite not an Israelite yet he received a portion of the promise land because he was more obedient to the torah than other Israelites who were part of the 12 tribes. I don’t discredit a persons attempt to understand the gospels based on what they were raised to believe but sometimes we have to remove the glasses we were raised to wear and begin to see things from a different perspective. Jeremiah 16:19 says, “O LORD (YHWH), my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction (End Days), The Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.” Will man make gods for himself, which are not gods?”
I think the reason this debate is so hard for followers of Christ to entertain is because they are afraid of being deceived, which is a valid concern, however, if we are looking to the scriptures like the Bereans did, which including the Torah and the prophets, for direction, we cannot go wrong and perhaps the deception we are afraid of has come from the fact that we have been told that the old is obsolete. This is a blanket statement that needs to be broken down. Believers need to read the Torah, Joshua, and the Prophets in a chronological complete context before trying to interpret the gospels. The bible is like a map and if you are zoomed in on a small town, it is hard to understand how to get to that town unless you zoom out to see the whole map. Most interpretations are solely based on the gospels, which does not give the researcher a clear context of what the writers of the gospels (Paul, Peter, etc.) were addressing and what they were not addressing. This is very common for “sound-bite theology”. Did Jesus nail the law to the cross? Did Jesus come to fulfill the law? Yes! Which law or what part of it? The book of Hebrews and the book of James shed a lot of light on this issue. The covenant that is addressed in Hebrews is the one He made with Levi, not the Torah (Commandments/Instructions of God) that were given on Mt. Sinai. There is a reason that Martin Luther wanted these book banned from the cannon of scripture. One reason in particular is the fact that it pointed back to the seventh day Sabbath which is a part of the creation story and the Ten Commandments given to Moses. This is why the Ten Commandments say, “remember”. The seventh day sabbath was established at creation. In Hebrew the word “remember” translates as “to guard” which means it is of value and can be taken away. We can see a representation of the sabbath being taken away by the fact that so many Christians are under that the sabbath is on Sunday which is a Catholic ordinance and the the seventh day rest of Yahweh. This is a whole different discussion so I will get back on track. It is very clear that the author(s) of Hebrews is clarifying the difference between Gods instructions and the Covenant with Levi and his descendants. For example, in the beginning of Hebrews in Chapter 4 the author talks about the promise of rest (The Sabbath/Ten Commandments).
Hebrews Chapter 4 goes as follows:
“4:1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they (the Israelites before Yeshuah Came) also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we (followers of Yeshuah) who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“AS I (YHWH) SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”
although His (YHWH’s) works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some (those who are obedient and follow Yeshuah united with faith) to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David (the line of David) after so long a time just as has been said before (referencing back to their disobedience and why they were not able to enter the rest),
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience (Not keeping the Torah).
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest (Yeshuah) who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (What is the definition of sin?). 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews goes on to talk about the real reason Yeshuah had to come which was to become the eternal high priest and make it so that all who believe and take on the purification process of Yeshuah the eternal perfected high priest, they could then enter the holy of holies and communion with YHWH because the Levitical priest failed to do their job. There is nothing in the scriptures that says God’s instructions for life were done away with or invalid, in fact, Matthew 5:19 states that,
“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:18 says,
“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law (Torah/God’s instructions) until all is accomplished.”
Luke 16:17 goes on to say,
“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law (Torah) to fail.”
Based on what we know about what we just learned in Hebrews about Yeshuah fulfilling the priestly aspect of the Levitical covenant, Matthew and Luke are not talking about the Levitical covenant and based on deductive reasoning the Torah is still in tact or at least until heaven and earth pass away which seems highly unlikely. This means that YHWH desires that we keep His commandments and that Yeshuah is now the high priest there fore making it possible to enter into the holy of holies through His sacrifice. Next time we are going to talk about whether Yeshuah is Yahweh or an Angel that was seated at the right hand of the Father. Trinitarians get ready.