Some people think the ancient system of justice was barbaric and that today it is outdated. Many people think the ancient world was similar to a Wild West type of system, where people took matters into their own hands. Could anyone pick up stones and start stoning another person to death at any time? What’s interesting is that the judicial system in America is not that dissimilar from ancient Israel’s. There are some things we don’t have according to the judicial system of Israel (Temple, Levites, Priest, etc.) but in America, if we compare the way the system of punishment and protection was originally set up it has many of the same characteristics as those that were given to Israel. Today, of course, we are going in the opposite direction with more and more corruption working its way into the system, but the fundamental ideas are still in play (witnesses, a trial, and punishment, including death).
Let’s look at the Biblical system of judgment. For instance, if someone was going to be stoned they first had to have two witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6), then they had to hold a trial where two or more witnesses had to testify against them. If anyone gave false testimony then, they could be given the same punishment they were seeking for the person they falsely accused (Deuteronomy 19:17-19). Once someone was found guilty, the witnesses were required to cast the first stones (Deuteronomy 17:7). No single person or group of people could go stone someone on a whim because that would actually be against Torah not upholding it.
The law was set forth for all who were in covenant with Him and under His house. Whether by blood, foreigner, alien, sojourner, etc. all were to follow it. There was one Torah for all mankind, not different sets of instructions for different groups of people. However, not all of the instructions were for everyone. There are some things that can only be done by women, many only by priests from the line of Aaron, or by the Levites at the Temple, on the altar, and so on. Even Y’shua didn’t do everything in the Torah because it did not all apply to him. Think of it this way. If you don’t drive, then the laws about driving don’t apply to you.
Here’s a very important question. If all the instructions given to them were out of love from a Father to His children to show them how to love Him, love our neighbors, love ourselves, how to receive blessings, and how to be considered righteous, then why would anyone think they shouldn’t apply to us today?
The mindset of most people today is crazy, how can anyone believe YHWH’s instructions for us are done away with, and we don’t have to follow them today? We don’t have to obey; we have free will to choose just as they did back then. The creator knows what is best for His creation, His children. He has set apart Feasts Days for everyone to come together for family time, He tells us what is healthy for us concerning food, He tells us how to treat people with respect, how to teach our children. He also tells us, just like any father, that if we step out of line what the consequences will be if we do. Now we also have to look at something else, and I will use a personal experience as an example. My children have friends, and they have asked, just like I did as a child, “Why does, so and so, get to do this certain thing, and I don’t get to?” My answer is because they are not my child and for that reason, I cannot tell them to follow my rules. YHWH’s rules are set forth for His children to follow.
We can choose to live in His house and be a part of the functioning family, working together, or we can choose to walk away if we don’t like the way things are going (or in many cases because we have been taught that there is no longer need to follow our Heavenly Father’s instructions). Ultimately it’s up to us to choose as He will not take us by the hand this time like He did when He brought them out of the land of Egypt (Jeremiah 31:32). We have to take Him by the hand and say I want to follow you, just like Ruth stated to her Israelite mother in law, Naomi:
Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to go back from following after you. For wherever you go, I go; and wherever you stop over, I stop over. Your people are my people, and your Elohim is my Elohim.
If YHWH does not change and His instructions given to the Israelites were given as the loving instructions from a father to his children, then the most important question you have to ask yourself is…
Why would it be any different today?