I’m kind of confused. The other night I mentioned to my sister over the telephone that I was trying to learn more about Judaism and some of the traditions, because I feel they may play a larger part in a Christian walk then most people think. She asked, “like what?”. My example was that the Old Testament says we should not eat unclean meat. Her response was that the New Covenant changed all of that. My question of course was “what exactly does the new covenant negate?” Her response was that it negated the rules of the Old Testament, and that the OT should be used for historical reference and for helping us to understand traditions. I however strongly disagree, because if what she is saying is true, Levitical Law, The Ten Commandments, etc: would be meaningless!
So my question to you is,, What things does the New Covenant negate in the Old Testament? I don’t think it negates everything. I thought it just negated those rituals which were previously performed to atone for sin before we had been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your question.
You said, “I’m kind of confused. The other night I mentioned to my sister over the telephone that I was trying to learn more about Judaism and some of the traditions, because I feel they may play a larger part in a Christian walk then most people think.”
Mark chapter 7 is a good place to start with your question, because the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes were not happy with Jesus because He was not keeping the traditions of Judaism.
“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the TRADITION of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, WHY WALK NOT THY DISCIPLES ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION OF THE ELDERS, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” (Mark 7:1-5).
What was Jesus’ response to them? Did He say, “You are right, men – we do need to keep those traditions!” Is that what Jesus said? No.
“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN . For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the TRADITION of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own TRADITION. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your TRADITION, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:6-13).
Notice what happens when you make something other than the Word of God a necessary ingredient for a successful Christian life and walk with the Lord. The above passage clearly shows that when you make anything else necessary, then you place it on the same level with God’s Word.
When that happens, sooner or later, you end up laying aside the Word of God in favor of the traditions. “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the TRADITION of men.”
The next step comes when someone points out that the two do not agree in every point, then “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own TRADITION.”
The final step shown above is, “Making the word of God of none effect through your TRADITION.”
So you can see the grave danger in bringing tradition in as a necessary ingredient to the Christian life. All it does is take away from the authority of God’s Word in a person’s life, and leads him/her astray. We are clearly told that the Bible is all that we need to live a successful Christian life.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16,17).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20).
Do not be deceived into thinking that “tradition” is needed in your life. The way to grow is to study the Bible more.
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (I Peter 2:2).
You also wrote, “My example was that the Old Testament says we should not eat unclean meat. Her response was that the New Covenant changed all of that. My question of course was “what exactly does the new covenant negate?” Her response was that it negated the rules of the Old Testament, and that the OT should be used for historical reference and for helping us to understand traditions. I however strongly disagree, because if what she is saying is true, Levitical Law, The Ten Commandments, etc: would be meaningless!”
The reason for the Old Testament is given in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
The New Testament does not “negate” the Old Testament – it “fulfills” it. If something is fulfilled, then there is no reason to still practice it.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17,18).
The Old Testament sacrifices were not a bad idea, but when Christ died on the cross, they were no longer necessary, because they were all fulfilled in Christ.
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:24-26).
“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:17,18).
There is no more need for animal sacrifices. Jesus fulfilled the need in His one sacrifice on the cross for us.
As to the meat regulations, the New Testament clearly says that they, too, were fulfilled and no longer needed.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in MEAT, or in drink, or in respect of an HOLYDAY, or of the new moon, or of the SABBATH days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:14-17).
Please notice that one of the things blotted out on the cross was the ordinance concerning meat. That is furthered explained in other passages.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” (I
Also notice from Colossians 2:16 above, that the Sabbath days have also been fulfilled on the cross of Jesus, so we do not have to observe them any longer. That does not mean that we do not have to attend church, because we are still commanded to do so every time it meets.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25).
For the answer to all of these things, and much more, you will find it in God’s Holy Word, the King James Bible. Study it every day.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15).