Law of Moses – Yahweh’s Teachings
Part IV – OT Saints Saved Exactly as NT Saints
Holy Spirit in the OT
We have this notion that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost and before that it was only used sparely to accomplish special projects, but the Holy Spirit has always been given to whom Yahweh willed, just as it is today.
Ex 31:3 I have filled him (Bezaleel) with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.
Nu 11:25 Yahweh came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
Nu 27:18 Yahweh said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
De 34:9 Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him.
1Sa 10:6 The Spirit of Yahweh will come upon thee (Saul), and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
1Sa 16:14 But the Spirit of Yahweh departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him.
1Sa 16:13 The Spirit of Yahweh came upon David from that day forward.
Neh 9:20 Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth.
Neh 9:30 Yet many years didst thou (Yahweh) forbear them (Israelites), and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear.
Ps 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Isa 11:2 And the spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon him (Yahshua), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh;
Isa 42:1 I have put my spirit upon him (Yahshua): he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me (Yahshua); because Yahweh hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.
Isa 63:11 Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within them? (NKJV)
Eze 2:2 The spirit entered into me (Ezekiel) when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
Mic 3:8 But truly I am (Micah) full of power by the spirit of Yahweh, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
Hag 2:5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Messiah which was in them (prophets vs 10) did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Messiah, and the glory that should follow.
The Holy Spirit was most certainly in many of the children of Israel long before Pentecost, which enabled them to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. This is the only way they could have pleased Yahweh (Ro 8:8).
Holy Spirit in the NT
Where does it say that the Holy Spirit was not available before Pentecost? It doesn’t! It was held back from the disciples until the appropriate time, as it is with everyone, to facilitate Yahweh’s timeline and design, but this didn’t include John the Baptist or his mother and father.
Lu 1:15 For he (John) shall be great in the sight of Yahweh, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
Lu 1:41 When Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Lu 1:67 His father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied.
Lu 2:25 There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Messiah which was in them (prophets vs 10) did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Messiah, and the glory that should follow.
Upon or In
In Nu 11:25, 1Sam 16:13, Pr 1:23, Is 11:2, 42:11 & 61:1, and Joel 2:28 in the KJV the Spirit is upon Joshua, David etc. However there is no Hebrew word for “upon,” it was added by the translators. Even Joel 2:28, when quoted in Ac 2:17 the word “upon” is carried over, indicating Yahweh poured out His Spirit upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. But Ac 2:4 confirms that the spirit was not just upon them but that they were filled with the spirit. In 1Pe 1:11 we are told the Holy Spirit was IN the OT prophets and we find the Holy Spirit rested “upon” Yahshua (Isa 11:2, 42:1, 61:1; Mt 12:18; Lu 4:18; Jn 1:33). This indicates that these terms (on, resting, upon, in or filled) all can convey the same idea, that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in an individual.
OT Law Written on OT Hearts
De 6:6 These words (commandments, statutes, and judgments vs 1), which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
De 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
De 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Ps 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
Ps 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Pr 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
Pr 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
Isa 51:7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law;
Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat (devour) them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:
OT Hearts Spiritually Circumcised
The fact that the OT believers were saved exactly as we are, through faith in Yahweh, that He would provide a saviour, is further seen in these verses that show the OT believers had to be physically, as well as spiritually circumcised. Reading these we understand where Paul got much of the material for his epistles.
De 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
De 30:6 Yahweh thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Jer 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem
In the OT Faith was Reckoned as Righteousness
Ga 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Ge 6:9 Noah was a just (#6662 righteous) man and perfect (#8549 without blemish or spot) in his generations.
Job 1:1 Whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Eze 14:14 Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith Yahweh.
Lu 1:6 They (Zacharias & Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of Yahweh blameless.
Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous. 13 These all (OT saints) died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Hab 2:4 The just shall live by his faith. (see this quoted in Hebrews)
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith
The OT saints believed in Yahshua, or should I say they believed Yahweh would provide Yahshua, for they saw this promise of a Saviour/Messiah “afar off.” Their belief or faith in Yahweh to provide them a permanent covering for their sins was credited to them as righteousness, however, they couldn’t partake of the promise of eternal life until the righteousness credited to them could be supplied through Yahshua. They were saved under the Old Covenant (Heb 9:15) but included in the New, since it came into effect immediately after the resurrection.
Mt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.
Ga 3:6 Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (dikaiosune).
Ge 15:6 He believed in Yahweh; and he counted it to him for righteousness (tsedaqah).
Ac 13:39 By him all that believe are justified (dikaioo) from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Ga 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified (dikaioo) by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yahshua Messiah, even we have believed in Yahshua Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the law.
#6666 ~ tsedaqah [taken from #6663 tsadaq: to be just, be righteous or to declare righteous] – KJV – righteousness 128, justice 15, right 9; total157. Definition: justice, righteousness.
#1343 ~ dikaiosune [taken from #1342 dikaios. righteous, just] – KJV – righteousness 92; total 92. Definition: righteousness.
#1344 ~ dikaioo – KJV – justify 37, be freed 1, be righteous 1, justifier 1; total 40. Definition: to render or pronounce righteous or just.
All OT saints with faith, as well as all NT believers, are made righteous, are justified (just as if they never sinned) through Yahshua.
In Hebrews chapter 11 there are 16 OT saints named, plus all the prophets (vs 32) who we are told pleased God through faith.
Heb 11:5 He (Enoch) had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is.
All these OT believers were not walking in the flesh but walking in the spirit because they pleased God and Paul stated, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Ro 8:8).
The Promise & The Law
Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Even a man’s covenant, once validated by both parties, cannot be set aside or changed.
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Messiah.
The covenant with Abraham promised that from Abraham’s seed “all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 12:3). That covenant is much more unalterable than any man-made one could ever be.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Messiah, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
The law through Moses (430 years after Abraham) was never intended to, nor could it ever affect the promise in the covenant with Abraham.
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
All who accept Yahshua partake in the inheritance promised Abraham through the “seed.” The promise was unconditional because Abraham had already completed his part in this covenant.
19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
The transgression in particular Paul is alluding to here is the sin of the Golden Calf. The Old Covenant with Israel was only days old when the people broke it. When Moses smashed the tablets with the commandments written on them it symbolised the destroyed covenant. But Yahweh wasn’t through with Israel yet and the specific law Paul had in mind was the law pertaining to the Levitical priesthood.
Heb 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
18 On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness
19 (for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced
It was weak and useless and made nothing perfect so why did Yahweh bring in such a thing? As you know “It was added because of transgressions until the Seed should come.” Paul points out in verses 22-23, we sinners were kept under the protection of the law until the escape hatch was built (Messiah) that we might be free, not from the commandments, but the curse or condemnation of them. Consider those verses in Hebrews with the following.
Mt 5:18 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.
Lu 16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Yahshua says the law will not change, Hebrews says it has changed and Paul says it was brought in after Egypt. Obviously the words “the law” cover many aspects and it would have been convenient if they all had names or numbers. The Law1 – before Abraham; The Law2 – between Abraham and Moses; The Law3 – up to the transgression (Gold calf); The Law4 – Levitical laws and so on. But all we get is “the law” and we are left to figure out which one or aspect they’re referring to. Nevertheless, we know the Scriptures are not a paint-by-number set and it is through revelation and the mercy of Yahweh we know even the very fundamentals. Praise His name and give Him thanks, HalleluYah!
Yahweh used the law of the Levitical priesthood as the superglue to piece back together the Old Covenant. It was through that priesthood whereby the people of Israel could be brought back into a covenant relationship with Yahweh after their great sin. Of course this was a temporary covering of sin “till the seed should come” and provide a perfect, permanent end to sin.
What purpose then is the law? It was added to help sinners identify sin for what it was. It was added because of transgressions, and to have transgressions you need sinners: “The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners” (1Ti 1:9). Because of the sinners with Moses it was necessary to point out what was sin.
The law might not have been made for a righteous man although it was written for each and everyone of us, “For all have sinned” (Ro 3:23). We’re righteous now through Yahshua by the spirit and so as we walk the spiritual walk the law is not intended for us. Looking at this from the standpoint of our daily lives we know locks are only for dishonest people and police are only for criminals. Could you not look at yourself and say if everyone were as honest as me there would be no need for locks or police, or laws for that matter. Before lawlessness there was no police and before stealing there were no locks. The laws of every country were written for the bad guys. If you don’t steal, cheat or kill you’re not subject to the laws of your country that cover these crimes. In 1950 no country had laws governing computers or the Internet, but shortly after people began using them to commit crimes countries instituted laws to curtail such activity.
Rom 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
19b Till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
What happens once “the seed” comes which is Messiah? The law has shown us that we are sinners in need of redemption and when we see Messiah, and of course his completed work, we accept his sacrifice and the old sinful man is put to death and we walk no longer to the leadership of the flesh but are now servants to the spirit.
Gentiles Become Israelites
Ro 4:12 Abraham the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Abraham was saved through faith even before he was circumcised.
Ga 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, THE SAME ARE THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM.
Ga 3:29 If ye be Messiah’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Ro 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be THE FATHER OF ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
You become a son of Abraham, an Israelite through faith in Messiah. You are no longer a Gentile or a pagan but an Israelite because Abraham descendents are Israelites.
Ro 2:28 For he is NOT a Jew, which is one outwardly (bloodline); neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Ro 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham (bloodline), are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh (bloodline), these are NOT the children of God: but the children of the PROMISE are counted for the seed.
The Jews and other Israelites are no longer considered descendents of Abraham. That’s correct you read it right. They must again become children of Abraham through the door that is Yahshua. By faith in Messiah you become a son of Abraham, grafted into the olive tree that is Israel (Ro 11:17), made a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel (Ep 2:12 & 19), no longer a Gentile but part of the “Israel of God” (6:16). If you are a citizen of Britain you obey the law of Britain, if a citizen of Israel you obey the law of Israel. So even Gentiles become “heirs according to the promise” so that “the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law (Jews), but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham” (Ro 4:16).
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.
In verse 11, to whom is Paul writing to in this passage? He’s writing to the Gentiles, contemptuously called the “Uncircumcision” by the Jews. Before they came to Messiah they were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” (vs.12). In verse 13 and 19 he tells them that through Messiah they are now “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” He writes in verse 14 that Messiah “hath made both one.” “Both,” being the Gentiles and the Jews, the Uncircumcison and the Circumcision.
Moses Covenant #1 at Sinai is The NT’s “Old” Covenant
The FIRST covenant with Moses, #1 at Horeb [another name for Sinai], was established at the start of the 40 years in the desert. It was here where Yahweh took the Israelites as His “peculiar people.”
Ex 19:5 IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, THEN ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Ex 29:45 I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
Le 26:12 I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
De 7:6 Thou art an holy people unto Yahweh thy God: Yahweh thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
This first of two covenants with Moses established Israel as Yahweh’s chosen people. They were not His chosen before this, the agreement was: Yahweh would take them on as His chosen People and be their God IF they would obey His commandments.
This first covenant with Moses at Sinai [or Horeb] is ‘THE’ covenant, this is the covenant referred to in the NT as the old covenant. In the NT the Old Covenant never refers to any covenant with Noah, David or even the 2nd covenant with Moses at Moab, it always is talking about this first covenant with Moses at Sinai. This is ‘THE’ covenant that was also dedicated with blood:
He 9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Ex 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which Yahweh hath said will we do. 4 And Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto Yahweh. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that Yahweh hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Yahweh hath made with you concerning all these words.
No other covenant was dedicated in this way except the “Old” Covenant and the “New” Covenant.
The 2nd covenant with Moses’ at Moab was at the end of the forty years as they were about to enter the promised land. All of the ones whom the first covenant at Sinai was established with, were now dead, with the exception of Joshua, Caleb and of course Moses. This 2nd covenant was based on the same commandments as the first, however Yahweh now, having established them as His peculiar people with the first covenant, sets into motion the promise of great blessings as they enter the Promised Land.
De 29:1 These are the words of the covenant, which Yahweh commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, BESIDE the covenant which he made with them in Horeb (Sinai).
De 29:9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may PROSPER IN ALL THAT YE DO.
#2 Covenant: Again Israel is to obey; this time Yahweh will prosper His ALREADY chosen people.
So the first covenant at Mt Sinai (the old covenant in the NT) establishes the Israelites as Yahweh’s peculiar people and Him as their God. This is exactly the arrangement of the new covenant with the House of Israel.
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith Yahweh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and WILL BE THEIR GOD, and they shall BE MY PEOPLE. see He 8:8-13.
The new covenant is the same as the old (Moses’ #1) in that Yahweh “will be their God” (Jer 31:33, Heb 8:10). The old covenant with Moses says the same, Yahweh “will be their God” (Ex 29:45).
The old covenant states: Ex 19:5 “ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, 6 a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” The new covenant states exactly the same, “they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10), “a peculiar people” (Tit 2:14), “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1Pe 2:9).
The OT saints expected more than earthly prosperity from Yahweh, they were looking for eternal life, see Job 19:26-27; Is 25:8, 26:19; Eze 37: 1-14; Ho 6:2, 13:14; Dan 12:2. They knew and were promised resurrection unto eternal life. The great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews suffered and died “That they might obtain a better resurrection” (He 11:35), resurrected eternal.
Ga 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Here Paul makes it clear the Mount Sinai covenant is the legitimate “old” covenant, as does Heb 8:9.
A Change in the Priesthood
The priesthood has been changed, or more correctly transferred, as we shall see.
Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change (metathesis) also of the law.
#3331 ~ metathesis means changed, more like transferred or translated, see this word in Heb 11:5 speaking of Enoch being translated.
The priesthood was transferred from Aaron to Yahshua. The law, governing sacrifices, no longer required multiple animal sacrifices (Heb 7:27, 9:7, 10:11) but was transformed to accept a single human sacrifice (Heb 9:12, 10:10-14). A tabernacle on earth for those animal sacrifices was provided by the law but this also was transferred to the true tabernacle in heaven (Heb 8:2, 9:11, 23-24).
Yahweh expects us to carry on fulfilling all the ordinances and all the customs of the priesthood? The priesthood and the law weren’t changed, as in diminished, they were transferred or removed from one to another, as Hebrews chapter 7 explains. Yahweh’s law is still in force, still requiring ordinances and sacrifice, only it was removed from the Levites and transferred to the new priesthood, Yahshua. Remember the law cannot change, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Mt 5:18).
When Yahweh turned over the priesthood to His Son did he also eliminate the ordinances and sacrifices of His law? No! Just as the Levites interceded for sinners before Yahshua, “he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (vs 25). Heb 8:2 speak of him as “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which Yahweh pitched, and not man. 3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.” Yahshua intercedes to Yahweh on our behalf as our high priest and he now carries out the ordinances of divine service that the Levites use to. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahshua Messiah the righteous” (1Jn 2:1). So, the answer to the question is yes, Yahweh does expect us to carry on fulfilling all the ordinances and all the customs of the priesthood, only now through the new priesthood, Yahshua.
Heb 7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Master sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, Yahweh sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:).
This passage is dealing with the priesthood being transferred from the Levites to the tribe of Judah through Yahshua and pointing out the differences between them. The Levites became priests through their bloodline, simply by being born, the result of a commandment given to Moses by Yahweh.
Nu 1:50 But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle.
Yahshua did not qualify under this “law of a carnal commandment” (7:16). The Levites were carnal/flesh and so this commandment (Nu 1:50) had to be carried out through the flesh. In verse 16 the author cleverly distinguishes the two orders as opposites, from fleshly commandment to the power of God in an endless life. Verse 17 tells us, citing the OT, by what decree or declaration Yahshua was given the priesthood, “Yahweh hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4). So the Levites were made priests by a commandment of Yahweh given to Moses but Yahshua by an oath spoken by Yahweh.
Verse 18 tells us this commandment, (single not plural, Nu 1:50) was disannulled because of the “weakness and unprofitableness” involved. The weaknesses of the Levitial priests were that “they were not suffered to continue by reason of death” (23). But Yahshua, “He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood” (24). He is able to do what the Levites could not, “Save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (25).
Heb 10:11 Every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Obviously Yahweh didn’t give this commandment (Nu 1:50) by mistake and it did serve His purpose, but it could not accomplish what He had planned. Take note that the law was not “disannulled” only a single commandment, which was replaced by a decree spoken by Yahweh (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:6, 7:28).
Both Covenants Have Ordinances
Heb 9:1 Then verily the first [covenant] had ALSO ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
The word “also” in this verse indicates both covenants have ordinances of divine service demanded by the law. When we go to Yahshua he enters the Holy of Holies, places his blood on the horns of the altar and sprinkles it over the mercy seat to atone for our sins. The requirements of the law are no different, the difference is in the fact that under the old covenant the substitute, earthly tabernacle made by man’s hands was used, whereas the new covenant is this, “Messiah being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (He 9:11-12).
This priesthood isn’t spiritual or imaginary, only taking place in Yahweh’s mind, this too is a physical priesthood with a real tabernacle in heaven.
Just because he only had to do it once doesn’t mean the requirements of the law are now discarded. Remember all these, the law, the earthly tabernacle, sacrifices, ordinances are, “the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb 8:5), “the patterns of things in the heavens” (9:23), “the figures of the true (9:24). No one can ever say they are eliminated.
So the law was certainly not changed but the shadow was pushed aside when the substance or “the true” came in.
The saints in the OT were saved through faith (Heb 11:39) in a future Messiah, the Holy Spirit was given to each one (Neh 9:30, 1Pe 1:11) to enable them to love Yahweh with all their heart and to love their neighbour as themselves. Their hearts were circumcised (De 30:6) and the law was written on their hearts (De 6:6, 10:14, 11:18) which encouraged them to obey the law. Those in the NT are likewise saved through faith in the Messiah, filled with the Holy Spirit, which inputs the law into our hearts so that we desire to observe the law as well.
Not one person in the OT or the NT can perfectly keep the law, but we are all saved through faith in Yahshua and kept by his grace.