What laws are still binding?


“I am still searching for a better understanding of which laws in the Bible were a shadow of Christ and which are still a blessing for us to keep today. James White’s letter seems to say only the Ten Commands stand today, but I see many great blessings in keeping some of the laws that Moses wrote, like tithing, not eating unclean animals, principles of how to keep your body and home clean and free from germs and diseases, how to deal with other people in certain circumstances, etc. Please help me understand such things better.”



There certainly are principles in the Old Testament that are a blessing to observe today. Let us clarify some of the things you mentioned here.

First of all you mentioned tithing and linked it with the law of Moses. It is true that Moses wrote about tithing but it did not originate with him. Tithing was in effect long before Moses was born.

In Genesis we read about Abraham who gave tithes to Melchizedek. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, also followed this practice. Jacob said, “And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the [tithe] unto thee.” (Genesis 28:22)

Jesus also instructed us to continue tithing when He said, “Ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and (Matthew 23:23)

So it is clear that tithing was not a part of the Mosaic law, but an institution that preceded Moses by many years.

You also mentioned not eating unclean meats. Here again we are dealing with an institution that was in effect long before Moses was born, and therefore could not be part of what the Bible calls “the law of Moses.”

When God sent a flood upon the earth He commanded Noah to bring more clean animals into the ark than unclean animals. “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” (Genesis 7:2)

After the flood Noah offered only clean animals as a sacrifice to God. “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20) God never permitted men to offer unclean animals as a sacrifice to Him.

“He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.” (Isaiah 66:3)

God speaks of swine as being an abomination to Him. “The swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” (Deuteronomy 14:8)

We also learn that at the time of the Lord’s coming this prohibition against swine is still in effect. “They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 66:17)

Both tithing and unclean meats were instituted long before “the law of Moses” existed. Therefore they cannot be lumped together with that which has been done away.

There are principles in the law of Moses regarding the way we should deal with our fellow man, and keep ourselves clean, that are still good, and many things that are still in effect. For example,“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.” (Leviticus 18:22, 23)

These were not just temporary prohibitions, but principles to be followed today. There are many examples like this in the books of Moses. It is obvious that those relating to the sanctuary and its service are not binding for us today.

I am certain that some of these things are still binding, and that others are not. Yet determining which is which is a little difficult. I understand that tithing and unclean meats are still in effect since they are not part of “the law of Moses.” It is also clear from the Bible that the Ten Commandments are still in effect. Of these things we can be certain.