The 613 Mitzvot: 36-40
We are often asked to do teachings on the 613 commandments found in the Jewish faith. Understandably, such a teaching or teaching series would be an immense undertaking. However, we thought we may be able to go through it, at least in part, in our blogs. This is an ongoing blog series that we will do at different times without any real schedule planned. We will not be going into great depth in this series.
The format for these blog posts will be simple. We will cite a traditional rabbinic commandment as found in the AENT (Aramaic-English New Testament), provide the Scripture that it is supposed to be based from, indicate if we agree that it is a commandment we can do today or if it is one that cannot apply today and then why or why not. Then we will give a few notes or thoughts as to why believe it can or cannot be applied today. Last time we looked at commandments thirty-one through thirty-five, this week we will take a brief look at five more.
Commandment: On the Cohanim (Priests) ministering in rotation or watches
Deuteronomy 18:6-8 (ESV)
“And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, where he lives—and he may come when he desires—to the place that YHWH will choose, and ministers in the name of YHWH his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before YHWH, then he may have equal portions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.
While we do believe this is a legitimate commandment from our Creator, it is not something we can currently carry out today. For example, there is not currently a priesthood in place. However, we do not see this as any type of rotation being set up. The Scripture specifies that the priest may come whenever he desires, not according to a specific schedule or rotation.
Commandment: On the Cohanim (Priests) being defiled for dead relatives
Leviticus 21:2-3 (ESV)
except for his closest relatives, his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother, 3 or his virgin sister (who is near to him because she has had no husband; for her he may make himself unclean).
At this time, no Earthly Levitical priesthood is established so we cannot carry out this commandment.
Commandment: On that Cohen haGadol (High Priest) may only marry a virgin
Leviticus 21:13 (ESV)
And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
As the previous commandment, this is another that we do not believe can be properly obeyed today. There is no Earthly Levitical priesthood established, and thus no High Priest, so we cannot carry out this commandment.
Commandment: On the twice Daily Burnt, tamid, offerings
Numbers 28:3-4 (ESV)
And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight;
We agree this does command two sacrifices per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. However, a built temple does not currently exist. Once it does in the millennial reign, the criteria will exist again (Ezekiel 40-48) to carry out this commandment. A established Earthly priesthood is also not currently organized and available to carry out this commandment at this time.
Commandment: On Cohen haGadol's (High Priest) twice daily meal offering
Leviticus 6:20 (v13 in Hebrew Scriptures) (ESV)
“This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall offer to the Lord on the day when he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening.
As with the previous commandments, this is another that we do not believe can be properly obeyed today. The anointing oil referenced here is for specific things. A built temple does not currently exist till the 1000 year reign. The criteria will exist again (Ezekiel 40-48) to carry out this commandment. An established Earthly priesthood is not currently organized and available to carry out this commandment. For us to attempt to do so as things are would be doing them our own way and not His way. Also, the context here is on the day they are anointed. Numbers 28:5-8 confirms that a grain offering will be offered twice daily with the lamb from the previous commandment.
We hope this has helped bring a little clarity to the eighth set of 5 commandments and their applicability to our lives today, at least as we currently understand them. Aside from ourselves, keeping the cultural understanding and Scriptural context are our greatest obstacle to understanding, and thus obeying, the ways of our Creator. Each day we must choose whether to obey or disobey thereby choosing whom we are serving.