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An animated explanation of the Old Testament Law
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There are 613 Laws in the Old Testament. We visualize the story of the law and how it is fulfilled in Jesus.

The Bible Project is a non-profit creating animated videos that explain the narrative of the Bible. These videos are free to use for personal and educational use. Download a full resolution version of this video along with a study guide at

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About the authors:

Tim Mackie is a Pastor of Door of Hope church and a Professor at Western Seminary.

Jon Collins is a founder of Epipheo and Sincerely Truman and a veteran explainer video producer.


48 thoughts on “Animated Explanation of The Law

  1. UPDATE :
    Because there has been so much controversy over my comment here and since no one ever reads my responses to  people, Before you continue, please take note of two things:
    2. I DO NOT BELIEVE ANY PERSON HAS EVER BEEN SAVED BY ANYTHING BUT FAITH. (Not even the Israelites-if they kept the law, but didn’t have faith, they still failed)
    I am adding a few updates to my original post as well because at the time I did not understand some things that are now clear to me:
    I love this video, don’t get me wrong and I am a monthly supporter (I love my Matthew poster btw) so know that I ask this in total love and absolutely honestly, but I have waiting months for this to come out, since you first announced you would be doing it and it left me asking more questions than it answered.

    I am not a Messianic Jew or a 7th Day Adventist or anything like that. I am just an average evangelical who has been REALLY struggling with this issue for months now and asking myself at what point the Bible makes it clear that all the OT law that doesn’t apply to love is now excused.

    When I look at the verses in the NT about diet, for instance, People use Colossians 2:16-17 to justify eating or drinking whatever we want or not keeping the Sabbath or New moons, BUT why do we assume it means we can eat whatever we want instead of assuming that those around us should not judge us BECAUSE we keep the holy days or follow the dietary customs? Because in verse 17 he says these are a shadow if what is to COME. as in the future-as in, in the future, we will keep the Sabbath and the dietary laws. So don’t let people judge you for keeping them because sometime in the future EVERYONE will be keeping them. besides this we have a description of who these people are-they trust in their own visions, they abuse their bodies with deprivation, worshipping angels etc. If you know anything about pagan religions and Gnostics or the Essenes then it seems obvious to me these are the people Paul is describing.  In fact he says in verse 20 “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to such decrees as Do not touch, do not handle do not taste?” See, I think this is where the problem lies. When people hear “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch…” they automatically assume this must be about not listening to the Jews because we all know the Bible has laws about touching unclean things, but so did other pagan religions and definitely the Gnostics and Essenes had these kind of restrictions and they made the Biblical laws look tame. But nothing else in this verse fits the Jews. Jews do not go by visions, or participate I self-abasement or worship angels. SO whoever is judging their food or drink or new moons or Sabbaths this can’t be the Jews. And on top of that Paul says that these things are related to the elementary principles of the world.  Paul would never have referred to God’s laws as “elementary principles of the world.” God’s commandments have never been about elementary principles of the world. His instructions (laws) are about setting ourselves APART from the world.

    And again, in Mark Ch 7 I feel like we might misunderstand this passage and say that Jesus now made everything ok to eat, but is that the real context? First of all-the sentence about him declaring all foods clean has been added at a later time. his was not in the original text. King James readers will notice it is not in their Bible and a few other translations, but most modern texts added it. (I am not a KJV only person, I just like to point that out)  the context is about hand washing before you eat, which was not a commandment from God, but a commandment that the Pharisees ADDED to God’s perfect instructions.  And God had told them NEVER to add to his law. So to me, the verses around it should be considered in that context. Jesus says that whatever we eat with dirty hands that goes in the body cannot defile us. (make us ceremonially unclean) But obviously you have to make some assumptions here. Obviously we can’t eat flesh of other humans, and we wouldn’t want to, but we still have to assume that. SO is EVERYTHING we eat, ok to eat? Of course not if we can’t eat flesh from other humans. So is He really excusing all foods or just saying that foods eaten with unclean hands are not going to defile us?

    I just, based on what you say in the video, that once our hearts are transformed, we will find it much easier to keep the law because it will be written on our hearts then how does it make sense that, once it should be EASIER and written on our hearts, that we no longer need to keep 99% of it?

    As I have been re-reading the laws, I am realizing these laws were for ALL of our own good. For instance, you can wear a coat made of wool and linen woven together, but it will be of cruddy quality so God is trying to help them have things of the highest quality. When he says don’t eat Pork, should we eat it today? I love ham so this would be hard to give up, but should I? Pigs do not sweat out their toxins. They are high in fat and today we are dealing with some pretty serious cases of Swine flu. So perhaps we need to start revisiting God’s law because it seems to me it’s for our own good! Not to mention that all of the laws are based on how to treat people and how to honor God. (and food laws apply to honoring our temple which is honoring God)

    I could go on, but do you understand what I’m saying? I am asking because I can’t tell if God is convicting me or I am convicting myself, but I prayed about it for a while and thought I had settled it in my mind and no matter how much I run from it, It’s like God keeps bringing me back to it and now, even my 19 year old son is starting to have the same convictions and his go even deeper than mine and he is going to Bible college right now so he asked one of his professors about this and the answers they gave did not settle well in his heart. We watched this video together hoping to get some clarity but felt even more so that Jesus dying on the cross and the law being written on our hearts would not make sense to throw out so much of it.

    And when I talk to atheists online (for apologetic purposes) they always come back to the laws and how can I defend that? I can say that Jesus came to fulfill the law, but how can he fulfill the dietary laws, the material laws, the health laws etc just by helping us to love? It just doesn’t make sense to me. It use to, before I started really thinking about it. I just accepted it as what I have always been told, but now that I am reading my bible everyday for several years now, things are not quite lining up.

    And one last thing….Jesus said that this was his blood of the NEW Covenant. (Luke 22:20) Paul reiterates this in 1 Corinthians 11:25 when he reminds us that the blood was of the NEW Covenant. And Jeremiah 31:32-34 had promised a NEW COVENANT was coming and Hebrews 8:8-12 tells us exactly what that new covenant is. And even Romans 11:26 shows us how all of Israel (followers of Christ) will be saved through the New Covenant which will come through a deliverer from Zion to remove all ungodliness from Jacob and he will take away their sins. And no covenant made with God was ever made without a blood sacrifice, so Jesus blood ushered in the New Covenant that was promised to come. If you have never read Hebrews 8 you really need to before you comment. And I know the first thing on people’s minds when they read it will be “but it says the New Covenant is with Israel and Judah” YES! And who are we? Paul says when we accept Jesus WE (former Gentile pagans) are now grafted into the vine and are spiritual Israel. AND this new covenant includes Jesus dying on the cross to forgive our iniquities (Hebrews 8:12) so the new covenant HAS to be for ALL of Israel (which includes us) because the sacrifice which gave us forgiveness was for ALL men.

    • I posted this comment on the Leviticus video, and it seems appropriate here:

      Very good video! I would like to make a suggestion, although it’s not like you can change this video. The Purity laws could be further divided into different parts.

      (1) Practices that Israel was to follow that differentiated itself from the wicked people whom God was driving out of the land, which included not wearing fabric blends and only eating certain animals. (2) List of religious practices of the wicked pagans that were also forbidden. These included fortune telling, astrology, and sorcery along with other practices related to these in ways that we don’t understand today, such as cutting yourself or cutting your hair a certain way.
      (3) Certain acts that God considered detestable like bestiality, incest, and homosexuality.

      For the first part, this is nothing new. God regularly uses physical symbols for spiritual things. Circumcision is a good example.

      “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
      Deuteronomy 30:6

      Eating pork is regularly used to differentiate Israel from the surrounding nations. That is why the vision about eating unclean animals had so much meaning. And, if is extremely clear that the vision was understood to apply to both, unclean animals and the unclean people.

      “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”
      1 Timothy 4:1-5

      It is unclear what reasoning there was behind the unclean/clean issue. Is it merely how God chose to set Israel apart? Is there a greater spiritual element of it? If so, apparently the Resurrection changed things. In Christ, we see unclean/clean in the matter of being thankful for food and in the case of a Christian being married to a non-Christian. It could be that the grace of Jesus has made people who believe in Him clean by the washing of His blood. His righteousness imputed to Christians is why the Holy Spirit may dwell in the hearts of Christians where a high priest in Israel would have fallen dead for merely entering the presence of the Holy Spirit with the slightest uncleanness. Now, it seems that Christ makes unclean things clean rather than unclean things making Christ’s people unclean.

      The second part seems rather self-explanatory. Christians certainly are not supposed to take part in or imitate idolatrous practices that look to spirits other than God. There is no part of the new covenant that affects this at all. God still demands our full attention and trust, no idolatry.

      The third part is rather clear as well. There are certain things that God specifically singles out as especially bad. Rather than relating to ritual purity, these relate mostly to moral purity. These are clearly regarded differently by God than the matter of mixing fabrics.

      “You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity.”
      Leviticus 18:17

      “You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
      Leviticus 18:17,22,22

      “You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.”
      Leviticus 18:17,23,23

      Paul even affirms the wickedness of things in the third part. You never see Paul single out any of the matters related to ritual cleanness.

      “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
      Galatians 5:19-24

      To summarize this specific comment, the law is now written on our hearts. I believe that we are to follow an even greater standard now that the Holy Spirit leads us and that we are empowered to live righteously. Without God, you cannot live well at all. That is why Paul said that living righteously was evidence of salvation. We will know what is right and wrong if we are truly seeking God. And, we don’t live righteously to be saved as Israel tried to do; that is impossible. We are empowered to live righteously _because_ we are saved.

    • The law is not dead unless you want to cut pages out of your bible……..

      Isaiah 56:3-5
      3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
      4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
      5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

      matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness

      Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one pronunciation mark of the law to fail.

      Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
      Matthew 5:18 For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
      Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

      1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
      1 John 3:6 Whoever stays in him sins not: whoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.

      1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
      1 John 2:4 He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
      1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
      1 John 2:6 He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 

      James 1:25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

      Psalms 119:44 So shall I keep your law continually for ever and ever.
      Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek your precepts.

      John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

      Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
      Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
      Matthew 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
      Matthew 22:39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
      Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

      Romans 13:8-10 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

      John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

      John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

      Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the
      Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

      Isaiah 2:3  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem

    • special c thank you for quoting Jeremiah 31:33 it is proof that the law has not yet been written in are hearts yet which really many modern christians think has already happened when understanding the context in Jeremiah you learn it’s in a millennium rein context and not now!

    • +Manasseh
      *”thank you for quoting Jeremiah **31:33** it is proof that the law has not yet been written in are hearts yet which really many modern christians think has already happened when understanding the context in Jeremiah you learn it’s in a millennium rein context and not now!”*
      You should not give spiritual advice or attempt to correct other Christians before carefully reading the New Testament.

      _The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins._
      Hebrews 10:1-4

      _The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:_
      _“This is the covenant I will make with them_
      _after that time, says the Lord._
      _I will put my laws in their hearts,_
      _and I will write them on their minds.”_
      _Then he adds:_
      _“Their sins and lawless acts_
      _I will remember no more.”_
      _And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary._
      Hebrews 10:15-18

      _If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God._
      Hebrews 10:26-31

      I also suggest
      Galatians 3 (
      Galatians 5:13-26 (
      1 John 2:1-6,9-11 (,9-11)
      Titus 3:3-11 (

  2. I am sorry, but i don’t think I can agree with you guys on the later part of the video… there is a great inconsistency on the matter….I don’t think you read your bible very carefully. Kindly give me feedback on these following verses: Observe Romans 10: 4 “For Christ is the end [or culmination] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth”… Romans 6:14, ” 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” OR kindly compare these verses in Matt. 22: 36- 40, “”Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” And John 13:34, “”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

  3. An important note: The ten commandments are the only part of the Bible that is written by God Himself.If the ten commandments are just part of 613 laws that could just as well come from any old place, they could just as easily be done away with one way or another. The ten commandments are special. Within the ten commandments is the seal of God. Otherwise Anyone can come along and say “this is my law!” see Isaiah 8:16. Hebrews 10:16, Revelation 7:3, Revelation 14:1.

    • Peter Read +So… believe that Paul teaches, Paul, Who was beheaded for the witness of Jesus, teaches that we should disobey the law that, Jesus suffered and died, rather than disobey? that Paul? He who said “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourself servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom you obey.” Romans 6:16?

    • 2 Corinthians 3 says whenever Moses is read a veil covers the heart. This means if you’re under old covenant teaching you will never understand. I can feel the veil coming over me now so bye bye.

    • +Gabriel Matthews If you believe in the ten commandments, which are old testament laws from Yahweh, then why don’t you believe in the other 603, which are also old testament laws from Yahweh? The Lord directly spoke to Moses and gave him all the other laws in Exodus and Leviticus. In Deuteronomy, Moses claims that Yahweh spoke him, giving more laws and repeating old ones. If you’re going to follow the ten commandments, then why ignore the other “divine” commands in the book? You can’t pick and choose.

    • Emad Shalabi From what I understand now, the law was given so Israel people can be in God’s holy presence by being pure, without dying because of the holiness of God. Yet, they keep betraying the law and the cycle always repeats. And that’s why the Messiah must come in place, because humans themselves will just always repeat the cycle and thus cannot be in God’s presence without Messiah.

    • Please, Brothers are Sisters, Think for a minute! Read Genesis 26:5, Psalm 119, Isaiah 8:20, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Matthew 5:19, and Revelation 22:14. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is clear on the subject of Obedience. If you continue to disobey God’s commandments, it’s because you want to. Your blood is on your own hands.

    • Chris C I worship the father everyday… I dedicate everyday to him. I do rest on the sabbath because it is set apart and go to meet like minded people who are dedicated by there actions to the word of our creator on the sabbath. But I like to go Sundays to church as well sometimes and meet people. I don’t do this because I have to. It is the fruit of my faith. I can guide people with the word but different trees yield different fruit.

    • To David , yes you are right but my understanding is we are not bound by the law anymore we are made right by fellowship with the holy spirit which guides us in All truth yes we must follow the law but we do it by default without TRYING that comes with being renewed daily not following a list of rules brother the law points out our sin and shows us that we need a saviour the law points us to Jesus / yeshua thank you for your time to talk brother bless you where ever you are in the world

    • David Rodriguez ive been searching out the law as well. I’m convinced that the Hebrews roots movement is a end times deception. but let each man work out his own salvation with fear and trembleing.

    • Yahshua Worshipper

      I’ve seen some odd teachings and I’ve seen some good teachings. test everything. The law or better translated as instructions, were and are there to teach us how to live morally right, how to cast judgement (court system), how we would be judge, what animals were made to clean the earth, what animals were made clean enough to eat, how to be ceremonially clean. how to be a clean people and avoid sickeness ect..(Judgment is on Yeshua the high priests and he is the sacrifices for sins and without a temple there is no ceremonial cleaniness needed for service ) Paul said that he wouldn’t have not known what coveting was had it not been shown to him thru the instructions. Yes… no one in Yeshua is bound to it because you are not a slave to sin. but remember that the transgression of the law is Sin and if we are of the Messiah then, why do we make his redemption an excuse to Sin? You would be consider lease In the kingdom if you are redeemed thru him.
      in the book of Acts.. they give the gentiles 3 food laws that they had to keep and to stay away from idols before they can be accepted in the community. The rest they had to learn in the synagogue on the Sabbath. So the yoke was light on them and thru learning of the Word ( or Torah which is defined as light and defined as Yeshua) they would change there old ways and start fulfilling the law on there own. not killing, not lying, not burning there kids, not sleeping around, ect. that all comes from the Torah and getting to know the Word or Torah is how you get to know the one who we call Jesus.

  4. Although I appreciated the video I can’t help questioning “The Bible is literary genius and has divine wisdom for the modern world.” If that claim is true, why is it that no other book in history (as far as i know) has caused more confusion, division, disunity, bigotry, hypocrisy, hate, anxiety, fear and dispair?

    • Torgeir Molaug You are full of good questions. Do you watch the videos of people who specialize in Christian apologetics? Voddi Baucham has an excellent video here on YouTube about why the Bible is trustworthy. it’s titled “Why l Choose To Believe The Bible” if you care to search it. l also recommend you look into the works of Ravi Zacharias leader of a ministry called Let My People Think. Both are exceedingly intelligent gentlemen who have lots of good stuff out there that I believe will satisfy your questions. But l have a question for you; how do you think loving enemies will transform you into a hypocrite?

    • MelodyAMc14 If someone had molested and killed your loved ones, would you be able to truly love them? Even if you made an honest try, I fear that your love would be closer to the hypocritical than the real one.
      I have to admit that I always get very frustrated when I am told that I have good questions, but then never get them answered due to almost never ending lectures. I am familiar with Ravi Zacharias, but I’m affraid he is not the “right” preacher for me. Regarding Voddi Baucham, whom I’ve never heard of, I’ll serach for “Why l Choose To Believe The Bible”, but I’m not very optimistic.

    • Torgeir Molaug OK, thanks for clearing that up. Forgiveness is not in our nature. for far smaller offences many people have died angry and bitter so the idea that someone can forgive for something as evil as you described sound very fantastic. However the teaching is that God himself will transform you to reflect his likeness and though we hold grudges he is forgiving. The Bible says where we are weak he is strong. In every person’s life we face challenges that are too great for us and have to humbly pray “l try to obey but l am too weak to do this. Please, help.” That’s when Christ will step in and give us the ability. l am not a naturally submissive person and have sins that l must overcome so l pray “Lord, transform me” constantly. Hypocrisy is not having weaknesses that cause you to call to the Lord for help, it’s pretending not to.

    • Torgeir Molaug it’s not the Bible that brings that, it is hardened hearts. It takes a deep humility to follow Christ and surrender to the Lord, that is for sure.

    • Andrea DiLorenzo. Are you really convinced that there is nothing in the bibel that cause confusion, division, disunity, anxiety, fear and dispair? What about deserving eternal hell unless you believe? Is it my lack of deep humility that makes me distraught and upset? Am I too insensitive due to my hardened heart since I oppose such an outrageous atrocity?

  5. Awesome guys I’m glade I found you because I was fighting with my girlfriend about God’s law in the Old Testament I tell her there are any laws in the Old Testament can you help me explain to her that there was no laws in The Old Testament can you help me explain it better please

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