Sunday, January 31, 2021

Are we still under a “death penalty” for breaking the Shabbat?


Exodus 31:15 says the following,

15 ‘Six days work is done, and on the seventh is a Sabbath of rest, set-apart to יהוה. Everyone doing work on the Sabbath day shall certainly be put to death.

QUESTION- is it the “being put to death” part of these commands that we are no longer under? The same as stoning for adultery? It’s the penalty of having to die when you break a command that’s been removed under the death and resurrection of the Messiah?

Am I getting this right or way off?


This is an impressive question. Thank you!  Of course, you can probably guess that none of us, no human, knows the "right" answer and so I am going to caveat my response with the disclaimer that this is a complex subject and my answer is most certainly not absolute.

What we do know is that we are under civil authority in the same manner that the Jews were under Roman authority at the time of the 2nd Temple; and the Jews were not allowed capital punishment by YHWH's rules when they were under said Roman law.

We clearly see some potential leniency in our time, as we are under the redemption of the Messiah (Romans 5:8), which is good, because we are not to tolerate such behavior in our God-fearing community. In fact we (the people if we are a community under YHWH) are to RID our communities of such evil (Deuteronomy 13:5, 17:2-12 for example.)

As you know, we are commanded to be a "set apart and special" people (the meaning of holy/Kadosh) when YHWH tells us to "be holy for He is holy" (Leviticus 19:2, 20:7, and many other citations). The rules in the Bible for capital punishment are TORAH and we (if we had the authority to live by the governance of Torah) would not have the authority to change YHWH's capital punishments.

So, the answer to the question is this: We are still "under" YHWH's rules of capital punishment, but since we currently live under civil authority, we are obligated to follow the civil authority. Even if we miraculously returned to YHWH's authority, no individual has or will have any authority to carry out any of these capital punishments on their own, as the punishment is to be levied only by the appropriate court, even when under YHWH's authority.

The resurrection of the Messiah did only ONE thing. His blood redeemed us individually for our past sins – and some of those sins may have actually included punishment worthy of death! (His redemption was, in that sense, a fantastic thing!) But once we have received that redemption, we are obligated not to willfully or intentionally sin again (Hebrews 10:26).

The whole issue boils down to that "will" or "intent". If the sin was willfully or intentionally committed, and Torah cites the sin as worthy of death, then we must accept that as our possible fate. Torah amply provides for the difference between an unintentional and an intentional sin. The Messiah's resurrection did not change that.

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