Suggested Further Reading

The Sabbath causes much confusion. God commanded it but do we, under the New Covenant, need to keep it? And if so, in what form?
The Sabbath
The True Sabbath
On The Rest
Ten Commandments - Remember The Sabbath
A Day of Rest

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Ceremony, Communion and the Sabbath

The Old Testament required God's priests to observe many ritual practices. All of these things pointed to the sacrifical work of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled all these symbols of the Law of God.

But within Christianity many symbolic observances are still practiced. Water baptism as an "outward symbolism of an inward reality" is a chief example along with consuming physical communion bread and wine, foot washing, the wearing of special robes and the keeping of special days. Should we be doing such things when Christ came and obtained for us "a new and living way?" And what of the symbols of the Old Testament. Have they just disappeared and become irrelevant or have they been transformed into spiritual realities?

This is important information for anyone who desires the freedom and liberty that Jesus promised us.

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Spiritual Light is the result of four visitations from the Lord over a period of 4 years. Four fundamental truths of the faith Starting with a discussion of the 3rd commandment, marriage and "taking the name of the Lord" and then wonderful insight into Christ's sacrifice this book reveals desperately needed understanding that dispels the confusion about conversion, baptism, salvation and works. This book is available on-line and at cost price from our eBay storePurchase at cost on ebay. Check out the eBay store for other good gospel materials and music.


The Law, Part Six

In your Bible, you will notice three distinct eras in human history, which I have labeled "TIME ZONES". These are:

Before the lawDuring the lawAfter the law

Also in your Bible, you will find three distinct types of laws included in the Law of Moses. These three types of laws are:

  1. moral laws
  2. civil laws
  3. ceremonial laws.

In order to understand how the work of Christ affected the Law of Moses, we simply need to read our Bibles and observe what is there. So far, we have learned that the moral commandments of God were not altered by the work of Jesus at all. The will of God is now, as ever, that His people live morally upright lives. Next, we saw (in July) that all civil authority has been denied to the body of Christ, until Jesus returns to reign over the earth with his "rod of iron." The chart we began in June now looks like this:

Before the Law
During the Law
After the Law
Moral Commandments Given?YesYesYes
Civil Authority Given to Saints?YesYesNo

Look now at the last of the three types of commandments, or laws: ceremonial laws. These are the laws which govern the worship of the people of the Lord.

Clearly, in the time BEFORE THE LAW, it was the will of the Creator for those who served Him to offer animals as sacrifices for sin. Righteous Able's animal sacrifice was accepted in Genesis, chapter four. Noah, a "preacher of righteousness", offered sacrifices to God immediately upon exiting the ark after the re-creation of the earth in Genesis 8. Abraham, the "friend of God", obeyed God to the extent that he is called not only the friend of God, but also the "father of the faithful." And this holy man's first act upon entering the land which God had promised him was to construct an altar to the Lord (Gen.12:7). There were also ceremonial feasts in the time before the Law, as when Jacob and Laban ate before the Lord in Genesis 31:54. To the sensible reader, it is undeniable that, before the Law, worship of God included the performing of religious ceremonies.

Even more clearly do the scriptures show that DURING THE LAW God was worshiped through performance of religious ceremony. The commandments concerning animal sacrifice found in Leviticus 1-7 and other places in the Law are the commandments of God to Moses. The religious feasts, the prescribed manner of dress for the priests, the construction of altars, etc., all indicate that the proper way to worship God during the time of the Law was with religious ceremony. Even the designation of a place to worship (Dt. 12) is a part of ceremonial worship. So, the issue can not possibly be whether the way to worship God before and during the Law included ceremonial works. The only possible issue concerning religious rituals is, does the gospel of Christ include them? Our chart now looks like this:

Before the Law
During the Law
After the Law
sacrifices? Yes Yes ?
circumcision? Yes Yes ?
special clothing? Yes Yes ?
religious feasting? Yes Yes ?

It must be noted that worship of God in the proper manner is no trivial matter. One could lose his soul by failing to worship God the way God says to worship God. For example, God warned Abraham that eternal condemnation would await any of his descendants who failed to obey His commandments concerning circumcision (Gen.17). The same can be said for those who refused to follow God's prescription for worship which Moses gave to the priests of Israel (Lev.10:1-7). So, the correct way of worship is a critical matter. Souls of men are in the balance, and careful consideration must be given to this.

The questions, simply put, are like these: does God still require sacrifices to be made? Does God still require circumcision? Special clothing for worship? Religious feasting? The answer to all these questions is YES! Now, don't be alarmed. I'm not calling for a return to animal sacrifice or the circumcision of all eight-day-old males. But if you will only read the words of the new testament writers, you will find that the commandment for circumcision is still in effect, that sacrifices are still to be offered, that feasts are still to be held, and that there are special clothes which must be worn by anyone who hopes to have their worship accepted in the sight of God. The difference between the times before and during the Law and this time of grace is that now everything concerning the worship of God is spiritual.

New Covenant believers are required to offer sacrifices to God, but the sacrifices now are "a broken spirit", financial support of the servants of God (Phip.4:18), praises from the lips of His people (Heb.13:15), and the offering to God of our very bodies to be used as He will (Rom.12:1). "With such sacrifices", the man of God wrote, "God is well pleased." Sacrifices are still required of us as they were of old covenant believers. God still unequivocally demands them. The difference lies in the FORM which the sacrifices take. Peter said it this way (1 Pet.2:5): Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

God once required the sacrifice of sheep and oxen, but the prophet Isaiah prophesied of this time after the Law, when slaying an ox as an act of worship would be so vile in God's sight that it would be as though "he slew a man", and the slaughter of a lamb "as if he cut off a dog's neck", and "he that burneth incense as if he blessed an idol" (Isa.66:4). God is serious about how He is worshiped, and when He moves out of a thing, it is sin for us to remain in it.

What about circumcision? It is more in effect now than ever, only now, "circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the [flesh]" (Rom.2:29). God now requires both men and women to be circumcised by the holy Ghost. Since the time of Abraham's pilgrimage, only those who received the sign of circumcision were considered by God to belong to Him. Only those who participated in the covenant of circumcision were promised an inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Jesus didn't change that. He only changed the form which circumcision would take. As Paul again explains, "For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phip.3:3). By his sacrificial death, Jesus made physical circumcision irrelevant. There is no more any religious value to being circumcised in the flesh. "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love" (Gal.5:6).

So it is with every single ceremonial work of the Law of Moses. Jesus made them all of no effect for the souls of men. They all pointed to what he would do, they all "spoke" of him and his suffering and glory. Therefore, when he came and accomplished his terrible, yet wondrous mission, all forms of worship but that which he purchased with his blood are made worthless, indeed are made evil, because continuance in them is an implicit rejection of the Son of God and the way which he, by death, made for us. So, now our chart is complete:

Before the Law
During the Law
After the Law
Moral Laws given to the Saints? Yes Yes Yes
Civil Laws? Yes Yes No
Ceremonial Laws? Yes Yes Yes
(in Spirit)

Before the Law, Abraham, Jacob, and other righteous men were allowed to worship the Lord on the high places of Canaan's land, but when God gave the Law He commanded His people no longer to do so "but unto THE PLACE which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come" (Dt.12:5). Only the disobedient continued to worship God in the high places, and many in Israel did so. In fact, the vast majority in Israel continued to worship God in the high places (among many verses, Jer.2:4-8,20,28-30). It was wickedness and idolatrous, in God's eyes, for his people to continue worshiping Him in a manner which He no longer accepted. Please note that they never ceased to worship Him. They simply did not move out of the high places when He did. God considered that to be stubbornness and rebellion, and refused to accept their fervent and lovely worship ceremonies. With Isaiah's voice, the Almighty displayed both His disgust at their worship and His willingness to forgive and forget, if they would only repent and do things His way:

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of the he goats...Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with. It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me. I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

Wash you! Make you clean! Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes. Cease to do evil! Learn to do well! Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isa.1:11-18

How easily we can see Israel's failure to move out of those things in which Abraham and the others before the Law worshiped God, even as we are blind to how many of us have failed to forsake religious ceremonies to worship God in spirit and in truth! Why do we cling to ceremonial baptisms, as if the baptism of the Spirit of God were not available? Why do we continue spending precious funds on choir robes, such as the Old Covenant levitical singers did, as if the robes of righteousness and praise were still a future promise? (Actually, many who participate in such dead works do teach that sinlessness will only be experienced in the resurrection) Why do we refuse to enjoy "the communion of the Holy Ghost", carrying on the empty ritual with bread and wine instead? Yes, I know such things are lovely and impressive to our eyes, but what do they appear to be in the eyes of the Father, who gave His Son over to death, and then moved out of those things which merely represented the life which Jesus gave? I tell you that your soul is in the balance, when it comes to this matter of worshiping God. We are commanded to worship. How then are we to do it?


That ceremony is no longer of any eternal benefit to men is Paul's point when he writes, "a man is not justified by works of the Law" (Gal.2:16). He was not at all saying that good works are unrelated to our hope to be saved from the coming wrath of God. If you have no good works in your life, you will be cast into hell. Listen to the words of the men who knew God:

Marvel not at this. For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear [my] voice, and shall come forth. They that have DONE GOOD, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have DONE EVIL, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28-29

God...will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. To them who by patient continuance in WELL DOING seek for glory and honor and immortality, [God will give] eternal life. But unto them that are contentious, and DO NOT OBEY the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [God will give] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that DOETH EVIL...but glory, honor, and peace, to every man that WORKETH GOOD... Romans 2:5-10

Ye see then how that BY WORKS a man is justified, and not by faith only. James 2:24

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of person judgeth ACCORDING TO EVERY MAN'S WORK, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. 1Pet.1:17

Strangely, many in our time have mistaken Paul's words concerning works of the Law to refer to works of every sort. It is true that works of the Law have nothing to do with our salvation any longer, but by no means does that mean that good works have nothing to do with our salvation. Friend, your deeds in this life are going to determine where you spend eternity. The symbolic ceremonies of the Law -- its works -- are irrelevant now, but don't be foolish enough to think that deeds you perform in your daily life are irrelevant. Your eternal judgment will be based upon them. Remember, the moral commandments of God are more in effect than ever. Only the civil and ceremonial laws were changed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The only life that the ceremonial works of Moses' Law had was the absence of Jesus. As long as he had not come, the ceremonies had a function, a purpose. God was using those works which he commanded as symbols of what He would accomplish in Christ. But when Christ came, he made those ceremonial symbols worthless. He took what little life they had away, by taking their purpose away. What point is there to continue to act out the future appearance of the Messiah, when he has already appeared? To continue in prophetic, symbolic works is to imply that one is looking for somebody else to come besides Jesus. It is to say that Jesus failed to do what was required to fulfill, or complete the pattern. This is why it is nauseous in the sight of God now for christians to continue in the ceremonial works which Jesus has already fulfilled. When we do that, instead of being witnesses that Jesus is Lord, the congregation is saying very loudly that he is not! That he failed to bring the works of the Law to their perfect end. That our hope is in another who shall come, one who shall finally deliver us from endless repetition of dead ceremony into the life and light of God. But friend, that is what Christ Jesus did. "The blood of Christ", wrote the apostle, "shall purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb.9:14).

Is your conscience purged by the blood of Christ? Or are you still mindlessly following the dull example of the multitude as they pass the bread and grape juice as if Jesus were still on this side of the cross? Why will you continue with them as they tread down to the river for their baptisms in muddy water, as if there were still not yet opened up for us that "fountain for sin and uncleanness"? Why do you "spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your SOUL delight itself in fatness."