Questions for Christians who believe they are free from the Law / Instructions / Torah
Below are some questions and Scripture passages that we believe are difficult to understand if the Torah is fulfilled in the sense that God’s children no longer need to follow it. They are passages that compelled us to begin looking into the issue of freedom from the law.
Zech 14:16-19 Have you considered why most Christians no longer keep the Biblical holy days? Most know that God’s people kept these holy days before Jesus came. Yet, the Bible also says His people will keep them again after He returns during the Millennium. If they used to keep them in the past, and we will keep them in the future, why don’t we keep them now? Notice the passage is talking about the nations of the world, not just Israel.
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. -Zechariah 14:16-19
Ezekiel 44:10-14 The temple that Ezekiel describes in detail is still future since the second temple did not fit this description and since God’s presence (43:1-5) never entered the second temple. Yet, in Ezekiel’s description, we see both the Levitical priesthood in service and sacrifices being made. If the law (Torah) is fulfilled and done away with, then why would the Prince reinstate it? (See Ezekiel 40-48 for the context.)
But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before the people, to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, declares the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their punishment. They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my holy things and the things that are most holy, but they shall bear their shame and the abominations that they have committed. Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it. -Ezekiel 44:10-14
Jeremiah 33:19-22 If the Levitical priesthood is no longer needed because of the work of Christ, then why does God say that his covenant with the Levitical priesthood can never be broken, even as his covenant which says there will be a son of David (Jesus) on the throne cannot be broken?
“For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.” The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.” – Jeremiah 33:17-22
Leviticus 23 covers God’s instructions to Israel to remember special days every year. These are commonly referred to as the “Jewish holidays” today and include such days as the Day of Atonement, Passover, and Feast of Tabernacles among others. Concerning these days, God tells them to keep them FOREVER. It does not say to celebrate these days just until Jesus comes. It does not say to do this until God tells them to stop or frees them from this obligation. Did God not know Jesus was coming to save sinners? Of course He knew. Was God lying? No. Was God wrong? No. Maybe these commands are only for Jewish believers and not Gentile believers! That rings hollow. Does Christ have two brides? Are there two chosen people of God? Remember that Paul teaches that Gentile believers were grafted INTO Israel (Romans 11:17-24). Here is one example, see the whole chapter for more:
“You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD. You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the LORD. And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations. Lev 23:15-21
Acts 25:7-8, 21:20-24 Most of the NT freedom passages are written by Paul. These passages supposedly teach that Christians are free from the Law of Moses. If Paul was so emphatic on teaching his converts freedom from the Mosaic Law, then why does Luke tell us that the Jews could not prove this charge and that Paul adamantly denied teaching against the Law? Luke also says the other apostles did not believe Paul was teaching against the Law, yet so many today feel he is.
When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” – Acts 25:7-8
And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. – Acts 21:20-24
Deuteronomy 13 This chapter contains instructions to Israel for testing someone who claims to be a prophet. The criteria for whether Israel should listen to the one who claims to be a prophet is NOT whether this person can do signs and wonders (13:1), but rather if this prophet teaches obedience to the Torah. Only a few chapters later Moses tells Israel that God will raise up a prophet like Moses (18:15). Most understand this passage to be referring to Jesus, and even Israel was still waiting for this prophet when Jesus came the first time (Acts 7:37, John 1:21). Thus, this prophet, like Moses, would have to satisfy the Deuteronomy 13 prophet test as well. He must teach obedience to the Torah. Therefore, could Jesus teach that the era for the Torah was over? Could the purpose of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection be to free his followers from the Torah? Would it be acceptable for his apostles to teach disobedience to the Torah?
You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. Deuteronomy 13:4-5