How Do You Know What Commandments To Keep Today?

This is a common question, so first of all, we need to define what “keep and observe” means in regard to the Torah. To “keep and observe” the commandments means to incorporate the things of God into our lives, and to stay true to the pattern or blueprint God has given, by doing certain things, at certain times, by certain people, at certain places. So with that definition in mind, let’s look at how this applies.

Let’s look at a few examples. Take a look at the korbanot, or sacrifices. Do they apply today? The answer would be “No” because there is no Temple, no priesthood, no holy vessels, and no altar, etc. According to the pattern God has given, they can only be done in the place where God chose to put his name, and that place is Jerusalem and the Temple, with a functioning priesthood and altar. However, just because a certain commandment can’t be done according to what God said by doing certain things, at certain times, by certain people, at certain places, does not mean we shouldn’t know and study them. The biblical festivals cannot be kept today either because they involved Temple worship, a priesthood, an altar, and korbanot. Yeshua’s death has little to do with why we don’t do them and has everything to do with having a functioning Temple and priesthood. Paul and the first-century believers kept the festivals in Jerusalem because that was the only place they could be kept. They offered animal sacrifices in the Temple 30 years after Yeshua’s death in Acts 21.15-26.

Tithing is another commandment that cannot be done today for the very same reasons. Tithing was done only if you lived in the land and made a living in agriculture, and the tithe was given to the Levites and they distributed it to the priests and the needy. False teachers will say that the “Law has been done away with” and yet tell their people to tithe, and people do it because they have little to no understanding on how to interpret the Scriptures. Eating biblically allowed meats applies today because you don’t need a Temple or a functioning priesthood to avoid pork, or shellfish, or meats not allowed in Lev 11 and Deut 14. The commandments that tell us not to murder, lie, steal, and idolatry to name a few still apply because this applies everywhere. Biblical giving can be done anywhere.

Basically, you have to ask yourself, “Can I keep this commandment and stay true to the pattern God gave us in the Scriptures by doing certain things, at certain times, by certain people at certain places?” You must find a good teacher who has a Torah-based faith in Yeshua and who you can interact with. You will learn a lot more and a lot faster than doing it by yourself. You can only rise to the level of whoever is teaching you. If you have a teacher who knows much, you will learn much. Study the verses over and over again to see what applies, and this will take a lifetime. Find a group of like-minded believers who can help you study and come to the right interpretation. Read commentaries about the verse or commandment being studied. Ask yourself if it is possible to keep that command by doing specific things, at specific times, by certain people at certain places. If the answer is “No” then you cannot keep that command at this time. Even if a Temple stood and there was a functioning priesthood, some commandments you couldn’t do anyway because you don’t live in the land. The context of each commandment needs to be understood and to “rightly divide” the word of God in order to do what God said to do.

So, in conclusion, learn the definition of “keep and observe” and then look at the commandments in the Torah to see if they apply according to their context, like, are they done only in the land; only in a standingTemple and altar; do I work in agriculture in the land; am a male or female; a king; a priest; are you Jewish or non-Jewish, etc. Start there and see where the Lord leads you.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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