Ritual - Ceremony - Rule of the Pharisee

         Today it is not unusual to hear a popular Christian preacher teaching on a spacious ritual, ceremony, rule or law from the Old Testament using scripture of very dubious relative support. An example is teaching heard recently that the book of Ezekiel beginning chapter-40 explains some mysterious Millennium upon this earth, or at other times a Temple yet to be constructed in the State of Israel. This Millennium is a continuation of that taught by Cerinthus in the first century church, taught as a time when Christ returns beginning a Thousand years for saints of flesh dwelling as ruling body over lesser peoples. Not only is this from earlier Jewish mysticism, but described now as a Christian duty while enjoying sensual indulgences. Concerning a Temple yet to be built, instead was a temple that should have been built (condition's however not accomplished), and certainly ignoring teachings of Christ in New Covenant salvation for purpose that church (temple) accomplish works of righteousness predestined.

         What these first few chapters starting in Ezekiel-40 describe concerns a very precise measure of a temple, a reading that should as a Millennium theory give pause to worry. Within this temple is found applications returning to a period before grace and salvation through Christ, involving an altar for animal blood-sacrifice for sin and guilt, warning priests of need to be ceremonially clean as caution about touching the dead, concerning even whom these priest's may marry. In entirety if describing a 'Millennium' to be found at the Return of the Lord or a Temple built sometime shortly before, sounding much like the teaching of Pharisee that put their followers under bondage of what Christ called man made (in this case) ritual rules and laws. These many ritual rules and laws however ignored by Pharisee themselves apparently not foolish enough to place themselves in bondage, the danger for their followers of possibly losing salvation and resurrection into Gods' Paradise.

         Teachings as above are surely a sign Christians must renew their minds with Christ's teachings and the new Covenant, certainly in prayer seeking truth from Gods word that includes the entire Bible. Much symbolism is found in the Old Testament that will be found answered and indeed fulfilled within the New Testament. The OT is of the Law by faith for those obedient, the NT is of Grace by faith for those obedient, God no longer wants our sacrifice now fulfilled by Christ once and for all, God wants our love. The high priest now is Christ Jesus, through Christ we are no longer separated from God requiring animal sacrifice, nor is God confined within a man made inner sanctuary within a man made temple.

         Apostle Paul was confronted with these rituals, ceremony, rules, and man made laws when apparently immature Jewish Christians began teaching the Gentile church of the many laws, rules, and circumcision was mandated be accomplished by the Gentile. Paul then traveled to Jerusalem and consulted with the church leaders, these wisely settled upon a four situations more apparently to placate Jewish Christians still getting over egregious teachings of the Pharasee, settling upon simple ritual and rules concerning abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. There is wisdom to be learned from these instructions, most important is what is found within a person than concerning ritual performed outwardly as ceremony and ritual.

         This same concerning rote or ritual was addressed by Christ concerning the commands, commandments, or laws of God that need be obeyed, when a teacher of law asked of all the laws which was the most important. To this Christ answered in Mark 12:29-31 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Very wise men in their great minds will established an order of importance concerning Gods laws, some with three steps, others with perhaps four or five, maybe even six, ten or twelve. But in this even the simpler mind may have a better way, such as when God asks a thing, simply do and obey. Certainly within the heart, mind, and soul, if God and His creation are shown full love and respect, as example explained in Mark 12:29-31 the simplest and best advice.

         The first Covenant God made with a chosen people was a contract being conditional, for those of Old Testament that were obedient and kept covenant faith, some of the promises made to them are yet to be fulfilled, at their resurrection all promises will be fulfilled through Christ. Who cannot see that it is in the New Covenant through Christ that these promise will now be answered, consider in I Chronicles 23:13 God promises Aaronic priesthood would continue forever. In I Chron 23:25 God said He had come to dwell in the Temple in Jerusalem forever. In II Samuel 7:12-16 God promised descendants of David would sit on his throne forever (prophetically Christ). In II Chron 33:7 God said He will put His name in the Temple of Jerusalem forever. The first covenant was broken by the chosen when they turned away from God to worship false gods, God then declared the covenant broken. God now has announced a new covenant through Christ, all promises of God that remain unanswered will be fulfilled through Christ Jesus in the new heavens, new earth, and the new Jerusalem wherein is found the Temple of heaven made by the hands of God that shall last for eternity. These OT promises in the NT will be answered and fulfilled through Christ, the old Covenant is no longer, those wanting to return to the old Covenant have not understood the teachings of Christ found in the NT nor the prophetic purpose of God.

         Concerning these issue's much false teaching has infiltrated the Christian church, respected preacher's mouthing ritual that certainly some themselves must question. For answers to Old Testament ritual and ceremony, today completion is found in grace through Christ, found in the teachings of Christ and the new Covenant, certainly Christ has warned about ceremonial ritual and rules of the Pharisee. Christ warned of the false prophet and teacher as those not admitting themselves part of the world, but instead warned as those within the church leading followers astray. Not all church leaders are the antichrists of deceit being warned of, certainly once being a babe themselves first hearing as followers they may have received teaching by those misleading also possibly having been misled. However concerning the servants of darkness and their works bringing death and deception, these are not to be ignored nor permitted if discernment exists within the body of the church. Instead we were commanded to have nothing to do with the wickedness of the world, but rather as light of the world to expose evil.

         Are you restricted from wearing different patches of clothing, do you bring in the first from the harvest and other first's, is a learning tool for disobedient children to be stoned, does the Bible truly subjugate wives to remain always silent beneath their husbands authority? Where does it say there will be a Thousand years (Millennium) of peace when Christ returns not to bear sin again, but for final judgment? These are only a few of the teachings I've heard, often ignoring or denying Christ's established church concerning desolations of the very last day described as becoming like conditions found during creation itself never seen before, and never to be seen again. Denying the Apostle speaking of the city Jerusalem being no longer an enduring city, and instead looking forward to the enduring Jerusalem yet to come. More also awaiting the creations of new heaven and new earth as promised, these new creations described in the book of Isaiah.

         Do you have an oxen today treading out the grain on a mill floor, can you imagine Gog and Magog gathered and marching abreast across the earth to surround Jerusalem, what does the chapter of Luke mean concerning this surrounding army as a sign to be followed with desolation that begins as punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written? Read the New Testament and the Old Testament, remember the OT best describes Gods' purpose for the law, also the first Covenant was broken and has been replaced... read with prayer and understand the New Covenant and it's purpose. Then you will understand the significance of Old Testament rituals, ceremony, and rules.

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