For Christians in general (and of course religious Jews) the answer to the question in the title of this article is an obvious and emphatic “yes!” The Jews as “God’s chosen people”; the Tabernacle (and later Temple) worship; the commands to totally destroy the enemies of the Jews; and most certainly the system of sacrifices and offerings; all of these things were inculcated in “the Law of Moses” and are to be taken as “the Law of the LORD [Yahweh or Jehovah]”.
Yet for the Prophets of the “Old Testament” the answer was totally different; it was an emphatic “no!” All of those animal sacrifices and grain offerings were innovations invented by Levites and scribes and falsely put forward as God’s Law; and the Prophets very boldly denounced them. (Those Prophets were consequently hated, persecuted, and killed by the ‘orthodox’ leaders and their followers, of course.)
Listen to the Prophet Jeremiah in 7:22-24: 22 For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did NOT speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.
Jeremiah said that God commanded them to obey His voice; but burnt offerings and sacrifices were no part of what that “voice” said to them! So the Levitical sacrificial system was not an act of obedience to the true law of God! In order to try to get around this explicit declaration that the “Torah” was a result of “the false pen of the scribes” and was a lie (Jeremiah 8:8) one modern English translation has deliberately falsified Jeremiah’s statement in 7:22 by adding just one word (which nevertheless completely reversed the meaning of the Prophet). The New International Version (NIV) rendered the verse this way: For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices.
The translators of the NIV were so convinced that the Biblical writers could not contradict each other, that when they came across this flagrant contradiction in Jeremiah they felt they had to ‘piously’ correct the Prophet! Instead, they have opened themselves up to the denunciation of Jeremiah in 8:8 – their ‘pen’ became a ‘false pen’ and they turned the Prophet’s statement into a lie! Because they agree with the lying scribes, they themselves become liars!
Here’s Jeremiah again in chapter 6:16-20: 16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’ 18 Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. 19 Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. 20 What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.
Jeremiah called on his hearers to return to old ways, the true “Law of God” of which the sacrifices and offerings formed no part. Those were the “ancient paths” before the scribes falsified them with their lying pens.
What were those ‘ancient paths’? The Prophet Micah gave a brief summary, again in contrast to the false ‘Torah’ given by the lying scribes (Micah 6:6-8): 6 “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Again, all of those sacrifices and the anointing with oil were not part of God’s requirements of people; only justice, kindness, and humility were required! Hey, no wonder the Prophets were persecuted and killed: they exposed the whole false corrupt system imposed on the people by liars who claimed to represent God!
Now read what Isaiah had to say about God’s attitude toward the Levitical system (1:11-15): 11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
“Who has required of you this trampling of my courts?” Just as Jeremiah and Micah said, it was NOT God who made this requirement. Jeremiah told us it was the false pen of the scribes which introduced those lies; and Isaiah (29:13) says it is “a commandment taught by men”.
Would to God that the early leaders of Christianity (such as Paul and the other apostles) had just as clearly repudiated the “Law of Moses” as being falsehood introduced by lying scribes and Levites. Jesus certainly did in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7, particularly chapter 5). He said that he did not come to destroy the true Law of God; rather he came to restore and complete it by correcting the falsehoods found in the supposed “Law of Moses” and the traditions of “those who sit in Moses’ seat”.
His followers, though, either accepted the ‘Law’ as being truly of God; or they at least felt like they ought to treat it as such in seeking to convince the Jews of the gospel they preached. But they at least treated it, for the most part, as metaphorical and typological, and as being “no longer” in effect since Christ had “fulfilled” the types and symbols. They also maintained that the Jews ‘used to be’ exclusively God’s chosen people, and the Gentiles ‘used to be’ excluded; but that was no longer the case. Now Jews and Gentiles together constitute the people of God – so long as they’re believers. God had “broken down the middle wall of partition” separating Jews from Gentiles.
Unfortunately, this treating of the so-called “Law of Moses” as formerly valid, and God’s Law, has left the door open to all sorts of nonsense in the Christian churches and those who are influenced by Christianity even though they may not claim to be actual adherents of the religion. There remains the suspicion – frequently stated as a clear truth – that the Jews are ‘still’ in some way God’s chosen and special people. Some actually teach that “the Church” will one day soon be ‘raptured’ out of this world, and the “Old Testament” Levitical system will once again be restored – with the Jews ruling the world from Jerusalem, having a restored Temple, and practicing all of the sacrifices which the Prophets said God not only did not require or command, but actually detests! They claim that the Jews absolutely had a right to kick the Palestinians out of their homes and lands, destroy their crops, and continue to have a right to wage destructive wars against all “Israel’s” ‘enemies’ (using other nations such as the USA and the UK as their proxies, of course) – all because (despite the denials of the Prophets) they maintain God chose the Jews as his own special people, gave them the land from the Nile to the Euphrates, and commanded all of those strange and horrible things found in the “Torah”. And the fact that the Christian writers said this was ‘no longer’ the case (though it ‘used to be’) for some strange reason does not prevent it from once again becoming valid.
It’s high time we all came to realize that all of that is nonsense and lies. God is not “a respecter of persons” (has no favorite people), does not dwell in Temples constructed by humans, does not grant a ‘holy’ land to his supposedly favorite people, and hates sacrifices (both human and animal) and religious rituals. Those sacrifices were not part of God’s Law at any time, and they were most certainly not ‘types of Christ’, fulfilled in his supposed ‘vicarious atonement’. Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death (or at least apparent death) was a vile act of murder (or attempted murder); and while it may certainly serve as an example to us of “turning the other cheek” and praying for those who mistreat us – as well as being a metaphor for us of the need to “die to the world, that we may live to God” – it most certainly is not intended to propitiate the wrath of an angry God! May our minds and hearts be enlightened to come to know the truths of the Universal Life, and depart from the errors and lies we formerly believed.