Do Old Testament Laws Still Apply Today?
Has God’s law changed through the different dispensations of time in the Bible? What laws have changed since the Old Testament and who changed them?
Armi Avelino: Hi, my name is Armi from Denver, Colorado and my question is, “When do you know when something in the Old Testament is applicable to the New Testament?”[Video ends]
Brother Bob Pellien: Thank you so much Armi for that really wonderful question. I think it’s a pretty popular and common question. People always wonder about Old and New Testament things. So for those who may not yet be aware the Bible is broken down into, let’s call it two sections/two testaments. The first one is referred to as the Old Testament and then of course the second is referred to as the New Testament.
Now with these two testaments there are scriptures in the forms of books, letters, and writings of God’s words that have been recorded by those whom God Himself selected and chose to write down the history of He and His people.[On-screen text graphics]
The Old Testament: 39 books
The New Testament: 27 books
Brother Bob: The Old Testament in fact is made up of 39 of those books and the new testament has 27 all together, and if you add the Old Testament and the New Testament books and such together, the collection of scriptures forms 66 books in all![On-screen text graphics]
The Bible is the collection of scriptures from 66 books.
Brother Bob: That’s why it’s called the Bible or a series of books. Since the question regarding Armi’s, when should we know if an Old Testament commandment or instruction of God is applicable to the New Testament, or well particularly, applicable to our present time? Before we can understand fully the Bible’s response to that question, there’s things that we need to know and understand first. For example,
Different dispensations in the Bible[On-screen text graphics]
Question: What are the different dispensations of time in where God revealed His words?
Brother Bob: We ask that because this is going to help us address Armi’s question in context, which is really, very very important. Here dear friends we can read the answer in the book of Hebrews, Chapter 1 and we’ll read together verses 1 and 2. Here’s what it says:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
[Hebrews 1:1-2 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So here dear friends the Bible enumerates God speaking in the times of the fathers, which by the way also refers on occasion to the patriarchal era of time, the time of the patriarchs. The second was that He spoke through the prophets, the prophets of ancient Israel, from Moses all through the various prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. all of those. And in these last days He has spoken to us through His son and of course that being none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So that’s why our present time, it’s commonly called the Christian Era or the Christian dispensation of time and God’s words specifically are for those of us living in the time of Christ and onwards. They are written in what is called “The New Testament,” writers of which were witnesses to Christ’s teachings back in the first century. Okay so now that we have a clear understanding of that, that there are in fact different dispensations of time in which God spoke to man, let’s gather more biblical information that will help us answer Ms. Armi’s question.
For example, let’s find out next if God’s words in the Old Testament have an expiration date. Making them no longer applicable to us who are living in the Christian Era or the Christian dispensation of time and the Bible gives us this response in the writings of the prophet Isaiah, Chapter 40 and let’s read verse 8:
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.’
[Isaiah 40:8 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Dear friends we can read from the Old Testament that the word of God stands forever, No expiration date! Therefore God’s word has no expiration in regards to its relevance to us all.[On-screen text graphics]
Question: Is this truth also proven in the New Testament?
Brother Bob: It is and we can read from the New Testament, the same question and the Bible’s response from the New Testament is recorded in 1 Peter Chapter 1 and let’s listen together to what’s recorded here in verse 23.
having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
[1 Peter 1:23 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Therefore the Old Testament and the New Testament are very much sanctioned in this regard. Therefore God’s words span across different eras or dispensations of time. No expiration date so to speak and since His words live and abide forever. It bodes them this question:
What Old Testament laws still apply?[On-screen text graphics]
Question: Are all instructions of God ever given to be followed forever, through all times?
Brother Bob: Are all instructions applicable to us today? Some examples to consider, we could all remember Exodus Chapter 20, verse 13 where God said you shall not murder.[On-screen text graphics]
“You shall not murder.
[Exodus 20:13 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: We have God’s instruction that you shall not commit adultery in verse 14:[On-screen text graphics]
“You shall not commit adultery.
[Exodus 20:14 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: His instruction in verse 15, you shall not steal:[On-screen text graphics]
“You shall not steal.
[Exodus 20:!5 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Honor your father and mother in Exodus Chapter 20 verse 12[On-screen text graphics]
“Honor your father and your mother,
[Exodus 20:12 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Worship the Lord our God, Psalms Chapter 96, verse 9[On-screen text graphics]
Worship the Lord God
[Psalms 96:9 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Bring to Him an offering, Psalms 96, verse 8[On-screen text graphics]
Bring offering to Him
[Psalms 96:8 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So Armi, dear friends, the answer is as long as there’s no explicit clear and obvious change of the law prescribed in the Old Testament by a later instruction given in the New Testament then that law is applicable to us now and these laws of God stand and live forever.
God did not change any of these laws as we just mentioned through the new testament instructions there’s no change of those “do not kill, do not steal, and all those things” therefore they apply to us now.
Has God changed any of His laws?
Brother Bob: There are some laws however which He did change which are well known, for example: there’s a list of animals, there’s a list of foods that are not to be eaten by God’s people. Those are listed in the book of Leviticus:[On-screen text graphics]
List of the animals and foods not to be eaten by God’s people
[Leviticus 11:1-46 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: A long list of things and we know the book of Acts, this was revised:[On-screen text graphics]
Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.
[Acts 10:10-15 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: And those foods were made clean and acceptable for mankind to eat. Why was there even a change of any laws, for any laws at all for that matter, for our time period that we live in, the Christian Era. Why is there even a discussion about making any such kind of change? The Bible teaches us in response to that, also in the book of Hebrews and let’s listen together to what’s recorded in Chapter 7, verses 12 and 22:[On-screen text graphics]
“For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law,…“by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
[Hebrews 7:12,22 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So Armi and dear friends, since that priest or authority God used changed, He also changed the law through Jesus Christ. So we [already mentioned] a very obvious example. But what’s a commonly mistaken law that God changed through His Son, Jesus Christ? One example of course will be the command of giving offering. Although God, He still commands His people to bring Him offerings, the law regarding that manner in which people are to offer that law has changed.
So dear friends how did God command to be done to Him in time past?[On-screen text graphics]
Question: How did God command offerings to Him be done before?
Brother Bob: In the Old Testament for example in Leviticus 27. Let’s go ahead and read it verses 30, 32, and 34, I’ll read this way[On-screen text graphics]
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.…And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord…These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.
[Leviticus 27:30,32,34 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So dear friends during the times of the Fathers or in that patriarchal era and the time of the prophets, they were instructed to offer and their offering was explicitly instructed by the Lord to be 10% tithe of their harvest. A tide or 10% of their livestock or whatever source of livelihood they had. Notice that this commandment was specifically for God’s children in Ancient Israel. That was His instruction, that was His command specifically to them. Has that been changed? Is there no longer offering?[On-screen text graphics]
Question: How has God changed this law for those who live in the Christian Era?
Brother Bob: Well in the New Testament 1 Corinthians Chapter 16, we’re going to read verses 1 and 2. Let’s take a look at how Apostle Paul responds to that[On-screen text graphics]
Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
[1 Corinthians 16:1-2 New International Version]
Brother Bob: Here we can see that the offerings God is instructing His people to give are no longer the 10% of their herd, but in fact their monetary offerings. Instead of burnt offerings as was done in time past. But how about it? Is the 10% of the ancient times, it was mentioned there in ancient times, still what God is commanding His servants to offer now? Again we can read God’s law regarding this and it’s recorded in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 9 verse 7[On-screen text graphics]
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
[2 Corinthians 9:7 New International Version]
Brother Bob: So according to God’s law in the Christian Era dear friends, the amount or the percentage that one is to offer to God is whatever they decide in their own heart, it’s no longer dictated as a certain percentage, 10% or something like that. It could be 10%, could be less than 10%, more than 10%. It is the decision of the offerer.
There is one example of where God changed His law from Old Testament times to New Testament times. God commanded that each one should give. But that no one should offer reluctantly, no one should be offering under compulsion. But instead be cheerful offerers in bringing their sacrifice offerings to God. So you see the entire Bible is very applicable to us today, from Old Testament to New Testament.
Who decides what is God’s law?
Brother Bob: Although there are commandments of God given to specific people during specific times in specific ways for example a very obvious example is God’s command to Noah. What was the command that God gave to Noah? Build an ark! But that’s not a commandment for all people at all times. Yes, general laws remain standing for all time, nevertheless.[On-screen text graphics]
The only authority that can make a change to God’s words is God Himself.
Brother Bob: Therefore, as long as there is no change or any particular law of the Old Testament by means of His instructions in New Testament times, then that law is applicable to us now. We should believe in this, why? Because That’s in the Bible! Dear friends when you’re ready to learn more about these fundamental teachings found inside the holy scriptures, which we embrace inside the Church Of Christ, visit incmedia.org. There you’re going to find various series of programs. All dedicated to answering your spiritual questions and any time you would like to send us your own video questions.[On-screen text graphics]
Do you have questions about the Bible?
Send us your videos to email@example.com