Why did some rules from the Old Testament cease to exist? Why are things included in the Old Testament that do not pertain to us today?
Old Testament laws are still in place today. But Christians don’t follow all 613 Old Testament laws. The reason for this is that some of them were only meant for the nation of Israel. Paul makes clear throughout his writings in the New Testament that Christians are not required to follow all of the Law of Moses.
Especially Romans and Galatians speak to the issue of Jewish laws. Things like circumcision, observing festivals and feasts, and things like that, are only meant for the nation of Israel. Gentile Christians were not under the restraints of these laws.
Old Testament laws didn’t cease to exist. Every law in the Old Testament still helps Christians in some way today. If it’s a moral law, like the Ten Commandments, we are still required to follow them today.
If it is a civic law, like the laws about ox goring, leaving the edges of your fields for the poor and widows, and not wearing clothing with two types of fabric, Christians can learn principles for holy living from these. For instance, not wearing clothing with two types of fabric speaks to purity. Leaving the edges of the field for the poor and widows speaks to kindness to those less fortunate.
There were also ritual laws pertaining to how to prepare sacrifices and all of the rules about the priests and Levites. These show us how important Jesus is as the perfect sacrifice and the greatest high priest.
He offered himself without blemish and fulfilled all of these ritual laws. Plus, he was the once for all sacrifice so we don’t have to offer animals anymore. And as the high priest, he perfectly fulfilled the mission of restoring our relationship with God.
So there is much to help us and teach us from the Old Testament. It is the basis for the entire New Testament. Without the Old Testament, we would not be able to understand the New Testament.
To say that the Old Testament laws, as part of the old covenant, are obsolete may be more accurate. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17-20). And he is the end of the law. So the Old Testament pertains to us very much today. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ in some way or another.
It’s not necessarily that he is on every page, but everything points to him. And the more we understand the Old Testament, the greater the depth of our appreciation and gratitude to Jesus as we read and study the New Testament.