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There are many commandments in the Holy Scriptures which YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel gave mankind through His servant Moshe. They were intended to regulate all life on earth and they fall into several categories:
All these laws are recorded in the first five books of the Bible. As stated above they were initially given to Israel, but were intended for the benefit of all mankind. It is undoubtedly one of humanity's greatest blunders that YaHuWaH 's laws have been rejected by all nations in favor of countless impotent human regulations, most of which need updating every generation.
Before we begin our study of the ceremonial laws in Scriptures, there are certain facts we need to recognize about divine law. The facts are as follows:
|Psalm 19:||7: The law of YaHuWaH is perfect , converting the soul: the testimony of YaHuWaH is sure, making wise the simple.|
|Psalm 111:||7: The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure.
8: They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
|Psalm 119:||44: So shall I keep Thy law continually for ever and ever|
When we study the commandments of the Most High we notice that in addition to the above categories they may also be classified as follows:
These are moral commandments which explain how - with YaHuWaH 's help - those divine objectives may be reached. Moral commandments include the Ten Commandments and those listed below:
Ceremonial or Symbolic Commandments
A ceremonial command is one which employs a ceremony or symbolic token to demonstrate or call to mind some high-level moral lesson or objective. Unlike plain moral commands (e.g. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal etc.) which quite plainly spell out a moral requirement, ceremonial commandments also contain symbolic activities or tokens which dramatize the inner moral lesson being taught. This article has been produced to explain a few (not all) of these ceremonial commands. They include commands concerning:
Prior to the Messiah's death on Calvary, if a sinner wanted mercy he/she was obliged to sacrifice an animal and offer its blood to the Most High before forgiveness could be obtained. In short, no faith in the blood - no mercy. As the scripture says.
But, and here is a fact many Christians miss, the main lesson of this ceremonial command (that is the spiritual requirement which calls for faith in the Savior's blood before forgiveness is possible) still stands! Even now, some 2000 years after the Messiah's death on Calvary, we still need to approach YaHuWaH 's Mercy Seat with blood: though now it is with faith in the blood of His Son, the Lamb of YaHuWaH. In other words though the dramatized, instructional, ceremonial element involving the shedding of a farm animal's blood has ceased, the spiritual requirement to approach the Most High with faith in the Lamb's blood still stands. That part of the commandment is eternal: it will never cease to apply. Yes, throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity the redeemed will approach YaHuWaH's throne through the merits of His Son's shed blood. Sure we will not be everlastingly in need of forgiveness, for we will then be sinless: but we will, nonetheless, always be in need of the Almighty's favor and blessing which were won for us by His Son's blood. That fact, the inner core of the command, will never become obsolete; because time and space can never cancel our dependence on the Savior's blood.
We can now see how that the essence of the sacrificial commands, the great moral truths they prefigure, are eternal; even though in ages past they needed a ceremonial drama (the slaughter of innocent animals) to explain their high-level objectives and deep spiritual meanings. For more details, see our article on Animal Sacrifices.
|Genesis 17:||11: And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you.|
|Deut.6:||4: Hear, O Israel: YaHuWaH our Elohim is one YaHuWaH:
5: And thou shalt love YaHuWaH ;thy Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8: And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9: And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
7. Mixing linen with Wool
Linen is cloth made from flax, a blue flowered plant cultivated for its textile fiber and its seed called linseed. Garments made of linen were used primarily in the worship of YaHuWaH. Linen was not to be mixed with wool any more than the sacred is to be mingled with the secular, or truth mixed with error. This law symbolizes, among other things, the need to keep holy and secular things apart.
|Leviticus 19:||19: Ye shall keep My statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.|
|Ezekiel 44:||18: They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.
8. Fringed Garments
Another symbolic command Israel was given concerned the wearing of fringed borders of blue on their garments. Like the phylacteries on the forehead and forearm these fringed borders would also remind the wearer to keep the commandments of YaHuWaH : each tassel being a symbol of an individual command.
|Numbers 15:||38: Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
39: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of YaHuWaH, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring.
9. An Unblemished Priesthood
In ancient Israel no physically blemished descendant of Aaron was allowed to officiate as a priest. Blindness, lameness, a flat nose, the itch, a broken foot, a hunch back, all these and other physical blemishes were enough to keep a person out of the officiating priesthood. YaHuWaH wanted His priests to be physically perfect: the lesson being that they should be spiritually perfect. That is, they shouldn't be spiritually blind, deaf, deformed, ugly or impotent.
16: And YaHuWaH spake unto Moshe, saying,
17: Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his Elohim.
10. Uncleanness of Men and Women
The ceremonial laws concerning uncleanness are further examples of commandments which contain deep spiritual truths. When we study these laws we soon realize that symbolic uncleanness is all around. A very brief reference to them is given below.
|Leviticus 15:||16: And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17: And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18: The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
19: And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20: And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21: And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22: And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23: And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth,
when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
|Numbers 19:||16: And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.|
In ancient days all such physical contacts resulted in a person becoming ceremonially unclean. But what of today? Do the ceremonial aspects of these laws still apply? To be sure physical uncleanness should be washed away with soap and water as soon as possible; (or some disinfectant used if a contagious disease is involved) but what of the spiritual uncleanness those physical conditions symbolized in those commandments? How can the human race be purified from spiritual uncleanness? We echo the words of the prophet Isaiah who, after a brief glimpse at YaHuWaH 's holiness, cried out:
|Isaiah 6:||5: Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, YaHuWaH Tsa'va'ot.|
|1 John 1:||7: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of YAHUSHUA Messiah His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
|James 4:||8: Draw nigh to YaHuWaH, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.|
11. The Big Question Is
Do modern believers in YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel need to keep the ceremonial (instructional) requirements of the above named commandments?
In other words: do we need to offer 'animal sacrifices,' 'circumcise our baby sons,' 'wear phylacteries' and 'fringed garments?' Is it a sin to mix fibers: i.e. 'wool with nylon,' 'polyester with cotton,' 'linen with wool?' Is it wrong for a physically blind or blemished person to minister in the church? Are undertakers, doctors and nurses to be classified as 'unclean' seeing that they daily come in contact with symbolically unclean bodies? How do we relate to the ceremonial aspects of these commands?
We are ever conscious of the moral lessons the ceremonial commands contain: and since most of them aim at forgiveness, holiness, obedience and purity we are happy to study them in depth and live up to their moral requirements.
We have seen that YaHuWaH 's commandments fall into several categories and that each law contains at its heart an eternal truth. As the Scriptures teach:
|Psalm 111:||7: ...All His commandments are sure.
8: They stand fast for ever and ever..."