Ceremonial Law: Not Observed in Shadows, But In Principle

Not Observed in Shadows, but in Principle

ceremonial law“None of these laws is observed today in the manner of the Old Testament shadows, and yet they are confirmed for us. The principle they taught is still valid. For instance, the ceremonial law prescribed the necessity of shed blood for atonement (Lev. 17:11), and accordingly when Christ made atonement for our sins once for all, “it was therefore necessary” that He shed His blood for us (Heb. 9:22-24); the Old Testament redemptive system called for a Passover lamb to be sacrificed, and Christ is that lamb for us (1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19). The ceremonial law separated Israel from the nations by requiring a separation to be drawn between clean and unclean meats and by prohibiting the unequal yoking of animals; in the New Testament the outward form of such laws has been surpassed – the spreading of the redeemed community to the Gentiles renders all meats clean (Acts 10), and the sacrifice of Christ has put the system of ordinances which separated the Jews and Gentiles out of gear (Eph. 2:11-20)-but their basic requirement of holy separation from the unclean world of unbelief is still confirmed and in force (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). The ceremonial law is therefore confirmed forever. by Christ, even though not kept in its shadow-form by New Testament believers.” (Greg Bahnsen, “By This Standard,” pp. 136-137.)

What is the Ceremonial Law?

“The ceremonial law can be seen to have sub-divisions: (1) laws directing the redemptive process and therefore typifying Christ – for. instance, regulations for sacrifice, the temple, the priesthood, etc., and (2) laws which taught the redemptive community its separation from the unbelieving nations- for instance, prohibitions on unclean meats (Lev. 20:22-26), on unequal yoking of animals (Deut. 22:10), and on certain kinds of mixing of seed or cloth (Deut. 22:9, 11).” (Greg Bahnsen, “By This Standard,” p. 136.)

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