Messianic Apologetics
10 January, 2020

Torah, moral and ceremonial law – FAQ

How do you respond to the claim that Christ has done away with the ceremonial law, but that the moral law of God remains?

The divisions of the Torah of Moses among sets of “moral law” and “ceremonial law” are artificial. While we certainly commend Christian theologians for wanting to maintain the integrity of at least some of the Torah, the Torah does not categorize itself in terms of a commandment being “moral” or “ceremonial.” What many Christian denominations advocate is that some of the Torah’s commandments, those pertaining to the Sabbath, the holidays of Israel, the kosher dietary laws, male circumcision, etc., were abolished by the sacrifice of Yeshua—things believed to fall under the classification of “ceremonial.” They do not, however, advocate that Yeshua abolished commandments relating to personal relations, and how we are to love others, treat others with respect, not murder, steal, adulterate, etc.—things believed to fall under the classification of “moral.” This is different from some other Christian denominations and traditions that advocate that the entire Torah was abolished by Yeshua.

When approaching the Torah and studying it on a regular basis, one quickly discovers that it makes no distinction between “moral” or “ceremonial” commandments. The Torah, rather, divides its commandments among one’s status in society. If one is a male, one does commandments that are applicable for males, either married males or unmarried males. If one is female, one does commandments that are applicable for females. There are also commandments for children, priests, those in business, farmers, the Levites, and those living only inside the Land of Israel. The Torah is not difficult to follow as a Believer in Yeshua with the Holy Spirit, as not all of its commandments can be applied to our lives in a modern-day, Diaspora setting.