Levitical law help please

I need help in explaining how Levitical law was ended. What exactly ended and explaining how the Sacraments are worthy and not considered part of Levitical law. I think I understand how a lot of the Mass is continued Jewish in nature Tradition but I need help in putting it to lay mans terms so to speak.

If you read Acts you will see that there was confusion about this among the early Christians as well. For example, some thought that gentile converts should be circumcised before they could be Baptized - that they had to pass through the dictates of the old covenant before they could be accepted into the new. This particular issue was settled in a manner similar to an Ecumenical Council, and it was Peter’s voice that ended the debate, and a letter was sent out to all the Churches regarding which laws are still applicable:

Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell. [Acts 15 24-29]

This act essentially abolished Levitical law as far as Christians were concerned. The few remaining rules actually pre-date Moses - they go back to Noah and were considered applicable to all humanity, not just Jews (because Noah pre-dated Abraham).

This is an early example of the Church acting with authority. Note that the letter is sent with the authority of the Holy Spirit: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”


If you want to read an excellent, short book that really paints the big picture regarding how the old and new covenants fit together and why, pick up Bible Basics For Catholics by John Bergsma.

Outstanding. Should be required reading for all priests, deacons and catechists in my opinion.

thanks for the helpful hint!

The way it was explained to me by a Jewish Catholic theologian is that each newer covenant is a fulfillment of the preceding one. The Mosaic priesthood (Levitical) is fulfilled by the new priesthood of the new covenant that being the high priesthood of Christ Himself. The sacrifices of bulls and goats of the old covenant is now fulfilled in the continuing sacrifice of Christ Himself on the altar at each mass. The initiation into the covenant people was circumcision for men and naming ceremonies for women. Now it is baptism which brings us into the Church and makes us children of the promise. The old testament minor sacraments were things that did not directly give grace but pointed to something better. The present sacraments instituted by Christ DO give grace and are the fulfillment of the old. The statement of an eye for an eye is replace with the law of love. The ten commandments are fulfilled by the sermon on the mount.

This new and everlasting covenant is a big deal.


Could you elaborate this for me please! This is one of the things I am not understanding all that well. I have thought that the X Commandments were what was still binding. Or maybe I am confused what lev law truly is. I am trying to get a better hold of when the Challange of “works based” argument is presented. My extended family has a lot of AOG and Sola Scriptura members.

Did you check out the link?

Try this article by Bergsma, “The Old Testament: Why can’t We Just get Rid of It?”


One of the problems with protestantism in general is the complete loss of authority. One pastor says this, another says that. Heretics in the 3rd century started to say we could get rid of the Old Testament. Billy Graham might say we must obey the Ten Commandments while Creflo Dollar or Joseph Prince (on TV) say it’s all wiped out by the cross.

The beauty of the church is that we’re not on our own to figure this stuff out. The church has always taught that the commandments are forever while the old ceremonial laws (washing, eating and much more) are no longer required. God gave the Ten Commandments, the rest was added later due to Israel’s disobedience! It’s not all the same. The article should help explain how this fits together.

God bless you.

The ten commandments are still binding. The sermon on the mount is just a higher fulfillment of them. If I did not answer your question let me know and I may be able to elaborate some more.

I appreciate the direction. But the only statement about the 10 Commandments is a non-statement: it says that "pople forget, on the one hand, that Jesus’ twin commands of love, to “love God with all your heart, soul, and strength” and “your neighbor as yourself " (Mt.22:37–40) are taken directly from the Old Testament (Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18). “On these two commandments,” Jesus says, “depend all the law and the prophets,””

That is the only use of the word “commandments” in the article.
Thus, I read it that the 10 Commandments, like the rest of the law, were overcome/overturned by the coming of Jesus.

Now, I do agree that the various commandments were (mostly) reiterated by Jesus separately at various points, never does the NT SAY the 10 Commandments are somehow removed from the law.

Does anyone have an actual Church doctrine stating the 10 Commandments are still binding? And a reason why? I see no reason why…Even the chapter in exodus that includes the 10 C also includes other laws to be followed. And the following chapters aren’t separated by some big note that they are different.

Thank you for any help with this!

Are you serious?

I. Jesus and the Law

*577 At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus issued a solemn warning in which he presented God’s law, given on Sinai during the first covenant, in light of the grace of the New Covenant: (1965, 1967)

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law, until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.329

(from the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

There you have both direct scripture quotation and infallible declaration of the Magisterium. I say this with charity, truly: if you still claim that it’s hard to discern whether or not the commandments are “still binding” I would suggest you might be hoping for someone to give you a way to discard them without losing sleep over it.

Any good examination of conscience starts with a summary of the commandments. If you pick up a Baltimore Catechism, or one of those St. Joseph’s New American Catechisms, you’ll find sections on each commandment, what it means and how it applies to our lives.

Is this making any sense?

There is no doubt that the Church believes, and has clearly stated, that the commandments apply to believers today. If you weren’t sure the Church had a teaching on this, there you go. If you know what the Church teaches but disagree or don’t like it, that’s another story. Joseph Prince, Creflo Dollar and a few other current evangelical protestant celebrity preachers would be on your side!

Another way of looking at what you are trying to get at is that there are certain things about Christ and God for that matter that are unique about Him. One is truth. Another is faithfulness. When putting these two together it shows that God does not go back on His word because it is truth. Truth is what is everlasting.

All covenants were glimpses of relationships with Him. Each one was fulfilled and made better. Each has truth about God and how He wants to relate to us. Fulfilling a covenant means that the preceding one is completed as far as God wants it to and shown in the next as a better fulfillment or a perfection of what was in the past.

Protestants today make the assumption that a past covenant is no longer valid. This is wrong in the sense that one has to see the new one in light of the old and all that has been perfected. Past disciplines were meant to learn about God and be faithful to Him until He shows us the better way of doing what He has been asking us. For example, the commandment not to kill is fulfilled by the law of Love. The sacrifices are replaced by the one everlasting sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The old priesthood is replaced by the high priesthood of Christ which our priests share in. Circumcision is replaced by baptism.

It just is a wrong assumption to say past covenants are not valid without knowing how they were perfected. This is one reason why Protestants don’t have all the sacraments. They deny any priesthood and the continuing everlasting sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Many don’t see the entry into the Church in baptism as the entry into the chosen people by circumcision or the naming ceremonies of you are female.

It is a shame this is happening as we would have a great reason to become one as the Father wants us to be.

I’m trying to be honest and thank you for your reply…but I can’t find it in myself to thank rudeness. Your assumption about my motives was not only incorrect, but insulting.

Thank you for quoting Matthew, Chapter 5. That would be the very section of the Bible we’re discussing in my apologetics group and that I’m studying for my website. Before I ask the question on this website, I checked the following sources:

  1. The St. Jerome’s Bible commentary (approved by Catholic Church) actually puts forth two views:
    First) That Jesus’ words about the law not changing applied until His death and resurrection. Then, we accept Christ’s sacrifice, the old law is no longer applicable, and we follow Christ’s instructions.
    Second) That his words should be taken as exact, and that Christians should be following the law, including purity laws.

  2. On the other hand, the Catholic Study Bible (also approved by Catholic Church) go towards the first opinion. The Bible study section is empathetic in its pointing out that Christ’s coming means Christians don’t need to follow the old law.

  3. One of the most extensive Bible commentaries, and most popular, the Haydock, has the best answer. “It is true, by Christ’s coming, a multitude of ceremonies and sacrifices, and circumcision, were to cease; but the moral precepts were to continue, and to be complied with, even with greater perfection.” So, this would say that the 10 Commandments, among other laws, were no longer binding, but we are bound by higher moral demands. This is what I personally agree with, but was looking for validation from another source.

  4. St. Chrysostom is also most vocal about the old law, including 10 Commandments, not applying to Christians.

Oh, and I checked the Catechism as you suggested. Didn’t need to purchase one, had one of the shelf.

If you have anything to add over the experts (and the answer provided below by staff), I would be happy to hear it. But, I with charity, suggest that you perhaps should ponder why you assume the worst motives out of an honest question.

I’m sorry I made an insulting assumption.

I hope you can forgive me.

Unsubscribing, as I have nothing to add to this discussion.

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