The commandments of Torah are called in many places, that which we are to observe to do forever; everlasting ordinances, perpetual statutes, that which we are to observe throughout our generations.
‘If you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which YHVH has spoken to Moses—All that YHVH has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day YHVH gave commandment and onward throughout your generations—’ Num 15:22-23
And the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall be careful to observe forever; you shall not fear other gods. 2 Kin 17:37
I began meditating on this when I saw the same language used in many places in the instructions to Aaron and his sons regarding their temple duties. For example:
And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before YHVH throughout your generations. Exo 30:8
The temple is no more, the temple furnishings are no more, the priesthood carrying out their temple duties are no more; so how are these commandments perpetual, everlasting, and observed throughout our generations? Haven’t there been 2000 years of generations where these perpetual commandments were not perpetual and everlasting? Many in the Christian church teach that there is a division in the Torah commandments between moral instruction – ‘Thou shalt not murder’ – and ceremonial instruction – ‘The priest shall light the lamps at twilight.’ They reason that the moral instruction is everlasting, while the ceremonial instruction was for a limited time and place. Torah itself, however, does not make such a distinction.
I have enough experience with the teaching tools of Torah to know that Torah often sets up intentional puzzles like this one for the purpose of getting us to dig deeper, to discover how the command does not contradict, and is still perpetual and everlasting. I am studying how this can be so in this new series, The Perpetual Commandments of Torah.
To be continued …