Michael Heiser on the Mosaic Law

This is a follow up to a previous thread on Old Testament law and Jesus. In this video, Mike brilliantly explains the cultural context behind Mosaic law, and why it no longer applys:


Simply put, the mosaic law is the standard law of Ancient Near Eastern cultures. Since the messiah was meant to unite all cultures, the laws of one culture no longer hold primacy, and were only a temporary concession.

It is also worth pointing out that many of the Mosaic Laws are culture specific to Ancient Near Eastern culture, and make no sense if we try to apply them today. Adultery was punishable by death because women and children were highly dependent on men in a patriarchal culture, if a man left his wife for another woman, he was putting his family at risk, therefore meaning he should be punished in an ‘eye for an eye’ way (Jesus on the other hand said we should turn the other cheek), an unbetrothed virgin was forced to marry a man who had sex with her because virginity was highly valued in wives, so a deflowered virgin would be highly unlikely to find a husband of her own. Neither of these laws would apply to our culture.

In short, Christians need not worry about Old Testamwnt law, and certainly shouldn’t try to implement it, and atheists need not use it to grill Christians.



I am skeptical that all of Leviticus was "the standard law of the ANE cultures. "

What do you mean? I’ll admit it doesn’t always align, but in some areas it certainly does.

Put it this way, most of the law makes the most sense in the context which the Israelite’s lived in.


Do you think Persians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hurrians and Hittites shared the Leviticus taboo against pork?

Do you think all these cultures shared the rule against working on the Sabbath?

Do you think all these cultures shared the rule against enslaving their own people? The 7 year Jubiliee?

I think your sweeping statement is quite the flourish … but have you ever read anyone ever share in that opinion?

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.