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The law of God is surely a revelation of the very character andpersonality of God. Yet the scriptures appear to many to be filled withcontradictions on this subject.
For example, Christ says:
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 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.
From this point on, Christ begins a series of six '
you have heardit said by them of old time...' followed by,
but I say untoyou...In every case, the
but I say unto you... is a dramatic changefrom "the law" which Christ quotes every time he says
you haveheard it said by them of old time...
In several instances, Christ's teachings flatly contradict the lawof Moses. This is done immediately after warning us
whosoever...shallbreak one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shallbe called least in the kingdom of heaven.
How can this be? The writings of the Apostle Paul contain
thesethings...which are...hard to be understood, by
they that areunlearned and unstable...(2Pe 3:16).
Paul asks the question
Do we then make void [Greekword - katargeo] the law through faith? God forbid: yea,we establish the law (Rom 3:31). Yet later he says
havingabolished [same Greek word katargeo]in his flesh the enmity,even the law of commandments contained in ordinances... (Eph 2:15).
Is the law "abolished" or not? These are but a couple of examples ofthe confusion that is the rule whenever "the law" is discussed.
It is the purpose of this paper to show that neither Christ nor Paulcontradicted themselves. We will do this by demonstrating thatthere are two completely separate laws under discussion inthe scriptures.
It will be revealed that generally the phrase "the law" whenit stands alone refers to the law of Moses. It will also be shown ingraphic detail how this law is "oldness of letter" and is completelydifferent and separate from the "newness of spirit" (Rom 7:6). It willbe shown how in many instances the "newness of spirit" flatlycontradicts the "oldness of the letter." The scriptures will beprovided which show that while the oldness of "the letter killeth...thespirit giveth life" (2Co 3:6). Yet the "letter of the law," whileit defines sin, is not of itself sin.
The preordained function of the law of Moses corresponds with thefunction of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By both we cometo know what sin is (Rom 7:7) and what good is and therefore bothbecome "ministrations of death" (2Co 3:7).
While the "law of commandments contained in ordinances" (Eph 2:15)is a "ministration of death" (2Co 3:7) and is indeed "abolished"(Gr.- katargeo) and "done away" (also Gr. - katargeo), this is only so "after that faith is come" (Gal 3:25).
"The law" was not a "schoolmaster" just to bring Paul's generationto Christ and then disappear. "The law" was OUR schoolmaster to bringUS unto Christ" (Gal 3:24). This statement can be made in its pasttense only "after that faith is come". "Before faith comes" (vs. 23) weare all, generation by generation,
concluded under sin.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
It will be demonstrated "after faith is revealed" in each generationof believers:
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
It will be shown that it is only by the law that
all the worldmay become guilty before God. (Rom 3:19).
The law is "abolished" and "done away" only for those "in Christ."
Weknow that what things soever the law saith it saith to them who areunder the law... guilty before God (Rom 3:19).
We know [and hope to demonstrate]that the law is good when usedlawfully [meaning] that the law is notmade for a righteous man but forthe lawless and disobedient... (1Ti 1:8,9). "Lawful use of thelaw" is for the "lawless and disobedient". Thank God it is not"abolished" or "done away" for those folks.
This paper will show that "the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2) is assuperior to the ten commandments as Matthew 5 is to Exodus 20 and as meatis superior to milk.
The reader will be pointed to the scriptures which show that bothlaws, like both trees in the garden of Eden, were given by God and bothhave served and continue to serve their different and separatefunctions in God's plan and purpose.
We will show that the law of Moses was for a carnal,Christ-rejecting Israel.
Yes, even "the Israel of God" (Gal 6:16), those who come to knowChrist, "also shall be cut off" (Rom 11:22) if not continuing to seethat our standing in Christ brings us out from under the "yoke" (Act15:10) of "bondage under the elements of the world" (Gal 4:3). These"elements of the world" under which the heir is kept until he isbrought to Christ, are the ten commandments and the law of Moses.
We will determine that the failure to distinguish between these twolaws keeps us from being able to differentiate between the two Israels.That failure is as vital as distinguishing Ishmael from Isaac. One ofthem is the heir, no longer under the "yoke" and "bondage to theelements of this world", but the one under the law is the son of thebondwoman and will not be made heir (Gal 4:21-31). Christ cannot "beformed in those under the law" (Gal 4:19-21).
Understanding the law is just that important!
Finally, we reveal that the perfection of the lamb of God; theblamelessness of the Being without blemish; the perfect righteousnessof Christ was not reckoned by His perfect obedience to the "law ofMoses" which He deliberately violated on more than one occasion for thesole purpose of showing that His new covenant law was far superior tothe passing old covenant law; yes, even the ten commandments.
Rather, His righteousness was based on the righteousness of the newcovenant, "the righteousness of God without the law... being witnessedbythe law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is byfaith of Jesus Christ..." (Rom 3:20-22).
Christ was not "justified by deeds of the law" (vs. 20) any morethan we are.
There are two opposing theological thoughts and teachings amongChristians today:
Both of these views are untrue and unscriptural.
Lest anyone should seriously entertain the notion that the NewCovenant is in harmony with the Old Covenant or that it is amodification of the Old Testament or that it is still in force today,consider the following Scriptures:
|Old Mosaic Covenant||New Spiritual Covenant|
|OLD Cov........................2Co 3:14||NEW Covenant.....2Co 3:6|
|1st Covenant...............Heb 8:7, 9:1||2nd Covenant........Heb 8:7, 10:1-9|
|Came by Moses.................Joh 1:17||Came by Christ.....Heb 8:6, 9:15|
|Law of God in STONE.....2Co 3:3||Law of God in HEART ..Heb 10:16|
|Law of MOSES........Act 13:38-39||Law of CHRIST.....Gal 6:2|
|Law of flesh...................Rom 7:5-6||Law of the SPIRIT.Rom 8:2|
|NOT of faith....................... Gal 3:2||Law of FAITH... Rom 3:27|
|Yoke of BONDAGE...........Gal 5:1||Law of LIBERTY. Jas 1:25|
|Law of SIN................... Rom 7:5-6||Law of RIGHTEOUSNESS .. Rom 9:30-31|
|Law of DEATH..................2Co 3:7||Law of LIFE ..Gal 3:11,6:8|
|Christ removes OLD........ Heb 10:9||Christ enacted NEW.... Heb10:9|
|A SHADOW...............Col 2:14-17||REALITY.....Heb 10:1-18|
|FULFILLED...............Mat 5:17-18||NOW IN FORCE....Heb 8:6, 10:9|
|Priesthood CHANGED...Heb 7:12||UNCHANGEABLE Priesthood.... Heb 7:24|
|MANY sacrifices........Heb 9:12-13||ONE sacrifice for sin....Heb 10:12|
|IMPERFECT.................. Heb 7:19||PERFECT.......... Heb 7:19|
|Blood of ANIMALS........Heb 9:19|| |
Blood of CHRIST... Mat 26:28
|Circumcision.................. Exo 12:48||Uncircumcision Rom 4:9-12|
|WORKS of law.................Gal 3:10||NOT of works-GRACE ..Eph 2:8-9|
|REMEMBERS sins..........Heb 10:3||FORGETS sins..Heb 10:17|
|YEARLY atonement..........Heb10:3||PERMANENT atonement Heb 10:14|
|SINFUL priests..................Heb 5:3||SINLESS priest...Heb 7:26|
|AARONIC priests.............Heb7:11||MELCHISEDEC priest ...Heb 5:5-10|
|MAN MADE tabernacle....Heb 8:5|| |
HEAVENLY tabernacle ...Heb 8:2,9:11
|Out of LEVI.................... Heb 7:11||Out of JUDAH...Heb 7:14|
|POWER of ENDLESS LIFE ... Heb. 7:16|
|NO inheritance................Rom 4:13||ETERNAL inheritance ...Heb 9:15|
|Sacrifice of ANIMALS....Heb 9:13||Sacrifice of CHRIST ......Heb 9:28|
|Purified the FLESH......... Heb 8:13||Purged the CONSCIENCE ...Heb 9:14|
|PRODUCES wrath........ Rom 4:15||SAVES from wrath...Rom 5:9|
|Perfected NOTHING..... Heb 7:19||Perfects BELIEVERS..Heb 10:14|
|NO MERCY.................Heb 10:28||COMPLETE MERCY ..Heb 8:12|
|NO justification...............Act 13:39||BELIEVERS justified...Act 13:39|
|BRINGS a curse...............Gal 3:10||REDEEMS from curse...Gal 3:13|
|ABOLISHED..................2Co 3:13||CONTINUES IN GLORY ...2Co 3:11|
|Brought DEATH................2Co 3:7||Brought RECONCILIATION ... 2Co 5:18|
|ISRAEL ONLY.......Deu 4:7-8, 5:3||ALL MANKIND......Mar 14:24, 2Co 5:14-19|
So we have an abundance of scriptures that tell us there was anOld Covenant (for Israel) that was an administration of condemnationand death: it was but a "shadow" of a better covenant to come and hasbeen "annulled'. Now Christ has given us a New Covenant of the spiritbased on spiritual law:(1) the Law of God,
These seven(perfect) laws (for all mankind), written on our hearts by the spiritof God, cover every aspect of human life making the Old Covenant ofnone effect.
This composition is not directed at anyone who wonders "what thedefinition of 'is' is." While it is conceded that scriptural words andphrases do not always carry their original primary meaning, it is alsoasserted on scriptural grounds that the intended meaning can easily andscripturally be demonstrated to the edification of "those with eyes tosee, and ears to hear" Mat 13:16. To have any rational discussion onthe subject of the law of God, we simply must define two words;righteousness and sin.
Let's look first at the word 'righteousness'. The first mention ofthis word in scripture is Gen 15:6 - "And he [Abraham]believed in theLord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Paul quotes thisverse in Gal 3:6 arguing that righteousness attributed to ones selfsaves no one.
God was so pleased with Abraham's faith that He "counted it to himfor righteousness." Is this saying that Abraham wasn't really righteousat all, but because he believed God, God decided to substitute hisfaith for righteousness?
No, this is not what is meant by "counted", neither here in Genesisnor by Paul in Gal 3:6. The Hebrew word for "counted" is chashab- Strong's Concordance #2803. This is the word used repeatedly inLeviticus in connection with selling real estate. We today would notcall these transactions, sales. We would call them leases of 49 yearsor less.
The land shall not be sold forever: ...If your brother bewaxen poor, and hath sold his possession... Then let him count [chashab]the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man towhom he sold it; that he may return [the land]unto his possession(Lev 25:22-27).
This was an equivalent value that had to be returned to the man whobought the land: Counting (chashab) from the date of the sale upto the jubilee.
And so it is with faith. Faith is the equivalent of righteousness!"Without faith it is impossible to please... God" (Heb 11:6). Theauthorof this verse in Gen 15:6 seems to assume that we all already knowwhat righteousness is.
The first time this word is defined is...:
Deu 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.
Psa 119:172 ...all thy commandments [are] righteousness.
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Mat 19:17 ...if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
To sum it up, we have two definitions of righteousness:1) believingGod and
Combining these twodefinitions, we can say that doing through the faith of Christ thethings God commands seems to be a good, sound, scriptural definition of'righteousness'. As we will demonstrate with scripture though,obedience is now defined by "love," by "spirit," "by grace [of God]"(Tit 2:11-12) "through faith" [of Christ](Gal 2:20); by "thesesayings of mine" not Moses (Mat 7:24 and 26); by "the word that Ihave spoken" (Joh 12:48) not the law of Moses. This is the onlyrighteousness God recognizes (Eph 2:8-10).
The Hebrew word for sin is chattaah (Strong's #2403). Sinwas certainly brought in through Adam's disobedience (Rom 5:12), butthe word sin (chattaah) first appears in Gen 4:7. Cain did notsee the need for a blood offering, and the Lord had consequentlyrejected his offering. Beginning in verse 6,
The Lord said untoCain, Why are you wroth? And why is your countenance fallen? (Verse7)
If you do well [righteously], shallyou not be accepted? And ifyou do not well, sin lies at the door...
There's our first definition of sin:
...you do not well.
In Judges 20, the Israelites are gathering an army to fight againstthe tribe of Benjamin. Some Benjamite men had killed a concubinebelonging to a man of Ephraim.
Jdg 20:13 Now therefore deliver [us] the men, the children of Belial, which [are] in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel:
So the Benjamitesgathered their own army against Israel. They numbered 7,700 men. Now verse 16;
Amongall this people there were 700 chosen men, left-handed; everyone couldsling stones at an hair breadth and not miss (chata). Thisword chata (Strong's #2398) has the same root as chattaah(#2403). This is the only place out of the 220 times it is used in theOld Testament that it is translated miss. It is normally translatedsin, sinning, offend, blame, fault and harm. By far the most commontranslation in the KJV is "sinned."
So our second scriptural definition of sin is to "miss" the mark.The "mark", of course, is always understood to be God's commandments,His law. As Paul states it in Rom 7:7,
...I had not known sin, butby the law...
In our definition of righteousness, we pointed out that Gen 15:6and Gal 3:6 both say that Abraham's faith was counted (the equivalent)of righteousness. The flip side of that statement is our thirdscriptural definition of sin.
Rom 14:23 ...what soever is not of faith [the faith of Christ in us - Gal 2:20] is sin.
Even obedience to the laws of God, when credited to ourselvesinstead of Christ's faith working in us, is sin. Rom 2:27 says
You...bythe letter and circumcision dost transgress the law. And Gal 2:20tells us
...The life that I now live, I live by the faith of thesonof God...
The failure to recognize the sovereignty of God in our lives turnsour righteousness into sin.
All our righteousnesses are as filthyrags (Isa 64:6) and
Whatsoever is not of faith [the faith ofChrist in us Eph 2:8 and Gal 2:20] is sin (Rom 14:23).
1Jn 3:4 -
...Sin is the transgression of the law. Thoughthis might better be translated "sin is lawlessness", law is stillunavoidable if we are to define sin or righteousness. The inescapabletruth of any definition of sin is:
...By the law is the knowledgeofsin... (Rom 3:20)
To sum it up: whether we're discussing sin or righteousness, the lawof God is central to both. Righteousness is heads, sin(unrighteousness) is tails on the coin of God's law.
Having scriptural definitions of sin and righteousness, we are nowin a position to evaluate the inspired teachings of the apostle Paul onthis subject of the law.
Central to this discussion is remembering that there are twocovenants mentioned in scripture. God
...hath made us ableministersof the new testament, [the Greek word is diatheke,Strong's#1242, the same word translated covenant in Luk 1:72, Act3:25; Act7:8; Rom 9:4 and Rom 11:27], not of the letter but of the Spirit:for theletter killeth but the spirit giveth life (2Co 3:6).
Paul is referring to the two covenants mentioned in
Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer 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 [in the spirit, not in the letter], and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Did you catch verse 32:
Not according to the covenant that Imade with their fathers...? There is something different about thiscovenant. It is not according to the "letter but of the spirit" (2Co 3:6).
Verse 33 of Jer 31 tells us that both covenants concern God's law,but the difference is that in the new covenant, nothing is physicallywritten. The only writing involved in the new covenant is
I willput my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts...The"inward man" is the "mind and heart" (Heb 10:16) separate from thecarnal mind (Rom 7:22 and Rom 8:7) and separate from the carnalcommandment (Heb 7:6). The inward spiritual law isn't abolished; it isactually "established" and fulfilled through Christ in us (Rom 3:31).The "letter" of the law, while being "abolished" for those "in Christ,"is established as the "schoolmaster" to bring us all to Christ.
Now we need to ask, exactly what is the Old Covenant that has beenreplaced by the new covenant? Does the Old Covenant include the tencommandments? Yes, it does! It is only the ten commandments that arecalled the "tables of the covenant".
Deu 4:13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, [even] ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
Deu 9:11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, [that] the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, [even] the tables of the covenant.
It seems today that many in the body of Christ are so afraid thatthey will be accused of turning grace into lasciviousness, that theycannot agree with Paul that the "tables of stone" (2Co 3:3) are"the ministration of death" (2Co 3:7) and "the ministration ofcondemnation" (2Co 3:9).
It was the ten commandments written on two "tables of stone" thatMoses had in his hands when he came down from the mount. It was the tencommandments of which Paul says "if the ministration of death, writtenand engraven in stones was glorious..." (2Co 3:7). What wasgloriousis "that which was written and engraven in stones".
The "glory of Moses' countenance" was simply a reflection of theglory of that which was "written and engraven in stones." (vs. 7)
Butif the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, wasglorious [this is the source of the glory],so that the children ofIsrael could not behold the face of Moses for the glory of hiscountenance; which... was to be done away. The King James bible has
...whichglory was to be done away, but the word "glory" is in italicsmeaning it does not appear in the original Greek. Now verse elevenagrees with verse seven:
For if that which is done away wasglorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. "Glorious" isan adjective describing "that which is done away." The ministration ofdeath written and engraven in stones was glorious and is done away.Until we see and agree with this statement by Paul, we will never fullysee the "glory of that which remaineth."
The "law of Moses" is the law of God only in the same sense that thefirst Adam is called the "son of God" (Luk 3:38) "...that was notfirstwhich is spiritual [the law of love - Mat 5],but that which isnatural: [carnal old covenant law of Moses, Tencommandments - Heb7:16 and Deu 4:13] and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual" (1Co15:46). Speaking of the law, the first covenant, we are told "...Hetaketh away the first that he might establish the second" (Heb 10:9)."The law [of Moses] is not made for arighteous man but for the lawlessand disobedient" (1Ti 1:9).
There have always been those who will turn the grace of God intolasciviousness (Jud 4), but we must not let this keep us from using a"form [Greek: pattern as in 1Ti 1:16]of sound words" (2Ti 1:13).
Many today, perhaps afraid of appearing too liberal in theirtheology, do not believe that the ten commandments should ever beconsidered a part of the old covenant. "Surely", they reason, "Paul isnot saying that the Ten commandments are done away."
The argument goes something like this:
"The only thing 'abolished', 'done away', 'vanishing away', 'disannulled' or 'blotted out' are the ceremonial laws regarding the sacrificial system. Christ has died for us so we no longer need those laws because Christ is the fulfillment of all those typical sacrifices. But the death of Christ did not abolish or fulfill the laws regarding the Sabbaths or the laws regarding clean and unclean meats or any of the laws of restitution or tithing, etc., etc. Oh, yes, Paul specifically states that circumcision is now of the heart in the spirit and not in the letter (flesh). But if Paul does not specifically mention that a particular part of the old covenant has been fulfilled, we cannot take it upon ourselves to decide what has and what has not been 'fulfilled' and 'done away' or 'abolished', etc."
It is this more or less orthodox (not scriptural) mind set that hasbequeathed us our present fractured Christian world.
Arguing that "we can't just decide for ourselves what part of theold covenant is 'fulfilled', 'disannulled', etc.," much of Christendomhas done just that. For example, some believe we should observe theseventh day Sabbath. For these folks, if you don't do that, you aredisobeying the fourth commandment. Others have replaced the seventh daywith the first day of the week. To these folks, if you aren't in churchon Sunday, you probably won't go to heaven. And if you're still keepingthe seventh day Sabbath, then you are 'still under the law'. The"Sunday keepers" feel they are not "under the law" because they keepthe first day of the week.
Both schools of thought seem to agree that you still need to tithe.Some are more dogmatic about that than others.
Many, but not all, of the Sabbath keepers maintain that the Sabbathand the holy days and the laws of clean and unclean meats were given toAdam and kept by Noah, Job and Abraham; and therefore are eternal andare not typical so are not fulfilled, or at least not yet fulfilled inChrist. Volumes could be written on the differences in doctrinesconcerning the law. Many if not all, denominations have beenestablished based on slightly different or sometimes big differences ofopinions concerning the law. Is there any truth to any of theirarguments?
There is one truth in these arguments to which we should all agree,and that is that we cannot pick for ourselves what is and what is not"fulfilled" or "done away" in Christ (Deu 4:2, 12:32; Jer 26:2; Rev22:18-19). These scriptures make it clear that God does not take lightlyour adding to or taking away from His Word. This is about the onlytruth I can see in any of these arguments.
Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
With this stern warning in mind, we think it best to agree with theLord, the prophet (Jer 31:31-33) and the apostle (2Co 3:3-11) thatthe old covenant with all its glory has been replaced by the newcovenant (Jer 31:31-33 and Heb 8:8-10); that the new covenant is "notaccording to" the old (Heb 8:9); that
that which is done away wasglorious... and was "written and engraven in stones" (2Co 3:11and 7); that the new is a "better covenant" (Heb 8:6); that the old"is ready to vanish away" (Heb 8:13) and "he taketh away the first,that He may establish the second" (Heb 10:9). He doesn't parse (breakapart) the covenant. It is all "done away" or "abolished" (Greek - katargeo)for those "in Christ."
2Co 3:11 says: "that which is done away was glorious." Verse 7tells us: "the administration of death written and engraven in stoneswas glorious..." The only question then becomes exactly what was"written... in tables of stone (2Co 3:3)?
The phrase "tables of stone" appears twelve times in the Hebrew.Every time it appears, it refers to the ten commandments (Exo 24:12,Exo 31:18, Exo 34:1, Exo 34:4; Deu 4:13, Deu 5:22, Deu 9:9-11, Deu 10:1, 3; 1Ki 8:9).
Let's quote just four of these scriptures which refer to the tencommandments as tables of stone.
And He [God] declared unto youHis covenant which He commandedyou to perform, even the ten commandments; and He wrote them upon twotables of stone(Deu 4:13).
When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables ofstone even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you...(Deu 9:9)
And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nightsthat the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of thecovenant(Deu 9:11)
The Lord delivered unto me the two tables of stone writtenwith the finger of God...(De. 9:10).
The tables of stone are mentioned only two times in the NewTestament.
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle ofChrist ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit ofthe living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of theheart(2Co 3:3)
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenantoverlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that hadmanna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.(Heb 9:4)
The "tables of the covenant" were the 10 commandments written onstone (Deu 4:13 and 9:11).
The Greek word for testament and covenant are the same - diatheke(Strong's #1242). It is used 24 times in the new testament in directreference to the new covenant. (Mat 26.28; Mar 14:24; Luk 22:20;Rom 11:27; 1Co 11:25; 2Co 3:6, 14; Gal 3:15, 17; Gal 4:24;Eph 2:12; Heb 7:22; Heb 8:6, 8-10; Heb 9:15-17, 20; Heb10:16, 29; Heb 12:24; Heb 13:20; Rev 11:19).
The ten commandments are the heart and soul of the old covenant. Allof the other statutes and judgments are based upon and rest upon them.Without the ten commandments there would be no old covenant.
If we want to be careful not to add to or take away from the word ofGod, we need to simply believe "In that he saith, a new covenant, hehas made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is readyto vanish away" (Heb 8:13). The ten commandments are the tables ofstone of the (first) covenant (Deu 4:13).
You may be comfortable retaining some part of that old covenant.That's fine. It was always intended to be our "schoolmaster to bring usto Christ, that we may be justified by faith. But after that faith iscome we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Gal 3:24, 25). "Butbefore faith comes, we are kept [Greek: sunago- to begarrisoned as by military force] under the law, shut up [Greek katakleio- to lock up or imprison] unto the faith that will afterward berevealed" (Gal 3:23). Because "the scripture hath concluded [is also katakleio- to lock up or imprison] all under sin, that the promise byfaith ofJesus Christ might be given to them that believe" (Gal 3:22).
Those 'locked up' or 'imprisoned' [katakleio]"under the law"are those to whom the law is addressed. "Now we know that what thingssoever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: thatevery mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty beforeGod" (Rom 3:19). "Knowing this, that the law is not made for arighteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly andfor sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers andmurderers of mothers, for manslayers" (1Ti 1:9). The Law is notfor a righteous man!
So who are those who are "under the law"? As far as God is concernedit is "all the world" and they are "all... guilty before God" becausethelaw (the ten commandments) is a "ministration of death" (2Co 3:7)and "the ministration of condemnation" (2Co 3:9). Why is that?Because the ten commandments were not designed for those who have God'slaw of love written on their hearts.
Animal sacrifices were typical of the sacrifice of Christ (Heb10:10-11). Physical circumcision was typical of spiritual circumcision(Rom 2:29), and the ten commandments are typical of the spiritual lawsfirst revealed by Christ to his disciples in Matthew 5 in His sermon onthe mount.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
It is the words of Christ (not the lawof Moses) that will judge us.
Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
None of these verses is referring to the law of Moses. If they were,the sermon on the mount would never have needed to be delivered.
Shadows cannot perfect, and the first covenant is a shadow of thesecond. "For the law having a shadow of good things to come..." (Heb10:1). Notice again, no parsing (taking apart and analyzing) of "thelaw".
In Matthew 5, Christ is showing what the 10 commandmentsforeshadowed. Six times he says "You have heard it said of old time",then he quotes either the ten commandments or the law of Moses. It wasall the same to Christ.
The first two "you have heard that it was said by them of old time"concerned the sixth and seventh commandments. The last four concernedstatutes and judgments. All had already "waxed old and were ready tovanish away" (Heb 8:13).
In Romans 2, Paul is calling the Jewish believers to task forjudging the Gentile believers who "have not the law, but do by nature[the "divine nature" of 2Pe 1:4] thethings contained in the law"(Rom 2:14). Paul is not talking about the old covenant law becausethat law required circumcision. Circumcision, among many other laws, isNOT by nature. The Jews thought that because they had the law of Moses,they had the truth.
Rom 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, Rom 2:18 And knowest [his] will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; Rom 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, Rom 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
The old covenant, which includes the ten commandments(Deu 4:13), was a "form of knowledge and... truth".
The Greek word for form is morphosis (Strong's #3446) and isused only twice in the New Testament. The only other appearance is in2Ti 3:5. In verse one, Paul is telling us what it will be like "inthe last days" (vs. 2). "For men shall be lovers of their own selves,covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,unthankful, unholy...". Then in verse 5, he says "having a form ofgodliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." Paulinforms us "if ye be circumcised Christ will profit you nothing" (Gal5:2).
Now Paul was circumcised and goes on to tell the Corinthians that"circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keepingof the commandments of God [is everything](1Co 7:19). Don't letanyone tell you Paul did not believe in commandment keeping. Butneither should you be deceived into believing that "commandments ofGod" here in 1Co 7:19 are the ten commandments of the old covenant(Deu 4:13; Exo 20). "For I testify again to every man that iscircumcised that he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal 5:3)."Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things that are writtenin the book of the law to do them" (Gal 3:10).
Circumcision is as much a part of the Old Covenant as the tencommandments. And the ten commandments are the old covenant (Deu4:13). THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE SEPARATING or PARSING OF THE LAW. IT IS"THE BOOK OF THE LAW" (Gal 3:10), AND IT IS "A DEBTOR TO DO THE WHOLELAW" (Gal 5:3).
But the "whole law" and "the book of the law" is a mere "form of theknowledge and of the truth". It is "a yoke...which neither our fathersnor we were able to bear" (Act 15:10).
What Paul is saying is that if we mistake the outward ritual ofcircumcision for the spiritual reality that "Christ will profit younothing." The same is true for Sabbath and holy day observance.
The weekly Sabbath and all the holy days are mere forms of Christ,just as surely as animal sacrifices were mere forms, shadows and types.
Surely no Christian would sacrifice animals and expect animal bloodto cover and hide their sins. Why? Because "Christ is our Passover".Paul did not physically keep the feast once a year with physical bread.Paul put sin out of his life every day all year. He kept the feast withthe unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1Co 5:8).
Let us get away from 'forms'. Let us "keep the feast" not literallyonce a year, but daily with "the unleavened bread of sincerity andtruth."
Let's forsake the form of a Sabbath of one in seven and remain inour sabbatismos 24 hours a day seven days a week,
for wewhich have believed do enter into rest...
Heb 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.
For he that hath entered into his rest, he also hath ceased fromhis own works every day. Remember, forms "deny the power thereof"because they are all just 'forms' of Christ. Let's trade in the oldpassing, powerless form for the permanent, powerful reality of Christthrough whom we can do all things and conquer sin all thetime.
Mat 5 reveals to us that the 10 commandments are a morphosis, aform of godliness, not the spirit or power of godliness that Christ isrevealing here for the first time. If this is not so, then there wouldhave been no need for the "sermon on the mount".
The believing Jews who were attempting to judahize Paul's Gentileconverts, were concerned with the letter of the law and an outwardvisible show of righteousness and obedience. They wanted the Gentilesto be circumcised (Act 15:1), to observe the holy days (Col 2:15) andto keep the law of Moses (Act 15:5). It was not given to them to see(Mat 13:13) that circumcision must be of the heart (Lev 26:41). Theymay have realized that the Messiah was to be rejected (Isa 53:3), butthey did not see that he was to be a reformer like Moses. (Deu 18:15,Heb 9:10)
Yet it was all there in the "law and the prophets" for those whowere given "eyes to see and ears to hear" (Mat 13:13). The purposeall the types and shadows serve, being part of the law, is as a"schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Gal 3:24).
For the law, (notice it simply says "the law", not any particular part of it; the whole law) having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered, make the comers thereunto perfect (Heb 10:1).
As with Heb 7:12, which some say refers only to the laws pertainingto the priesthood, so here also many will argue that this refers onlyto the laws concerning the animal sacrifices.
But, it is not any particular part of the old covenant that is beingreplaced; it is all of the... old" covenant that is "ready to vanishaway"(Heb 8:13). So if "the law" is simply "a shadow [aform] of goodthings to come, and not the very image of the things", then what is"the very image that makes the comers thereunto perfect" (Heb 10:1)?
When our eyes are opened, and we are given ears that hear, the Biblebecomes amazingly simple and pleasantly redundant in its simplicity:"let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect ofan holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: [all part andparcel of the old "vanishing" covenant] which are a shadow ofthings tocome; but the body [casting that shadow]is of Christ." Once again,they all pointed to Christ who is the center of all scripture (Col1:19).
Again we ask, what is the "old covenant"? The answer is the same:"And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you toperform, even ten commandments; [the onessuperceded by Christ in Mat5] and he wrote them upon two tables of stone" (Deu 4:13).These arethe tables and the stones referred to in 2Co 3:3, 7 and 11). Theten commandments are the foundation of the law of Moses.
We cannot dissect the old covenant and use or discard its parts atrandom. It is all or none at all. We dare not mix the old with the new.Mat 9:16, 17, "No man putteth a piece of new cloth into an oldgarment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from thegarment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine intoold bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and thebottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both arepreserved." I think we all realize that Jesus is not speaking ofliteral cloths and wine bottles.
It is hard to give up the flesh (the letter of the law). It seems soright, so good to us. Old wine will always tastemore mellow to the carnal mind. Christ predicted that this "time ofreformation," this "new covenant," would not be well received. That isas true today as it has ever been. Here is Christ telling us that thenew covenant will be rejected by His people for the old:
No manalso having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, Theold is better (Luk 5:39). That statement was made to "the disciplesof John and of the Pharisees" (Mar 2:18, Luk 5:33), because to thisday, it is their disciples who want to go back to the law of Moses.
Keeping the old covenant laws and the ten commandments may seem like the right thing to do (Act 15:5 -
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.), however, unless we repent of breaking these new commandments of our Lord, just like the men on whom the tower of Siloam fell, "...ye shall all likewise PERISH" (Luk 13:4-5). Mixing the new with the old does not work. It makes things worse. In fact, Jesus said, "they PERISH"! So notice what Paul tells us regarding circumcision,
I testify to every man that is circumcised [or keeps the holy days, or the clean and unclean food laws, or tithing, etc. etc.] that he is a debtor to do the whole law (Gal 5:3).
Upon what scripture therefore, have some decided that, yes,circumcision is no longer needed, but the holy days, tithing, clean andunclean food laws, etc. etc. are to be observed? It is the "whole law"that must either be kept or it is all "things written in the book ofthe law" that are "done away" and "disannulled" but only after the lawbrings us to Christ (Heb 7:18). Circumcision is a type and shadow ofputting off the flesh and being given a new heart: "In whom also ye arecircumcised with the circumcision made without hands in putting off thebody of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ [Christliving his life in us] (Gal 2:22, Col 2:11). The type,physical circumcision, has been rejected for the reality, Christ in us.
"For we [those in Christ] arethe circumcision, whichworship God in spirit, and rejoice in Christ and have no confidence inthe flesh [such as being a physical descendant ofAbraham]" (Php 3:3).
This is what Paul means when he says
...though we have knownChrist after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more (2Co 5:16). Paul is not saying that we are no longer to acknowledgeChrist's teaching given while He was in the flesh. To the contrary, hesays
if any man...consent not to...the words of our Lord JesusChrist...he is proud, knowing nothing... (1Ti 6:3). What Paulissaying is that the type, being born of David after the flesh, beingAbraham's seed after the flesh, the natural is always first (1Co15:46). But once it is fulfilled, it
waxeth old [and] is ready tovanish away (Heb 8:13).
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.
On what scriptural grounds do we tend to think that, yes, part ofthe law (circumcision) is fulfilled in Christ, but that the rest of thelaw is not? Paul had no such doctrine. Yes, he did "become a Jew to theJew, and under the law to them that are under the law", but not becausethose types and shadows were necessary, but simply "that I might gainthe Jew" and that "I might gain them that are under the law" (1Co9:20). When Paul says, "...I must by all means keep this feast thatcometh in Jerusalem..." (Act 18:21), it wasn't that he esteemed itnecessary for salvation, but rather "and this I do for the gospelssake..." (1Co 9:23).
We should all follow Paul's example and tolerate those who are "weakin the faith" (Rom 14:1). One Christian may eat things not eaten byanother (vs. 2 and 3). Another Christian may observe holy days, whileanother doesn't (yes, holy days were "esteemed" above other days). Whatis Paul's advice? "One man esteemeth one day above another: anotheresteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his ownmind" (Rom 14:5). "To his own master (God) he standeth or falleth"(vs. 4).
But how did Paul really feel about clean and unclean meat laws?
Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that [there is] nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him [it is] unclean.
Rom 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with [thy] meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
So exactly how do we decide how to conduct ourselves among otherbrothers whose spiritual development differs from ours?
Rom 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ [is] acceptable to God, and approved of men.And how do we serve Christ?
Mat 25:40 ...Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
Therefore the way to "serve Christ" is to become a "servant" to yourbrother: "And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servantof all" (Mar 10:44). We must not allow our liberty to "become astumbling block" to our brothers (1Co 8:9). Understanding theliberties inherent in the new covenant is good as long as we do notbecome puffed up with our "superior knowledge".
1Co 8:1 ...Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
Keep holy days with those who keep holy days, eat meat with thosewho eat meat, herbs with those who eat herbs. Become "all things to allmen that you might by all means save some" (1Co 9:22).
"...Take heed lest this liberty of yours become a stumblingblocktothem that are weak" (in faith) (1Co 8:9).
"...Everyone of us shall give account of himself to God. Let usnottherefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that noman put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothingunclean of itself: [Gen 9:3 "...everything thatmoves is food foryou..."], but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, tohimit isunclean" (Rom 14:12-14).
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousnessand peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom 14:17).
The kingdom of God…is righteousness... sends many folks,oblivious to the whole point of Matthew 5, right back to thecommandments of God for carnal Israel.
All your commandments arerighteousness (Psa 119:172) they quote, blithely unaware that thesame God who commanded carnal Israel to take an
eye for an eye anda tooth for a tooth changed that command to
But I say unto you,that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on thy rightcheek, turn to him the other also (Mat 5:38 and 39).
Yes, "all thy commandments are righteousness", but Christ did notsay "Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things in the law or theTorah". What he did say was "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not thethings that I say" (Luk 6:46).
Christ did not say "Whosoever cometh to me, and keepeth the Torah orthe laws I gave to Moses..." What he did say was "Whosoever cometh tomeand heareth MY saying and DOETH them…is like a man which built anhouse…upon a rock" (Luk 6:47).
Anyone who thinks that "love your enemy" is obeying the law of Mosesdoesn't know the law of Moses. Anyone who thinks "except forfornication" is in the law of Moses, hasn't read the law of Moses.Anyone who thinks "don't look on a woman to lust after her" is in Torahdoesn't know Torah. And anyone who thinks that gathering corn to eat onthe Sabbath and telling a man to take up his bed on the Sabbath are notbreaking the Sabbath, simply hasn't read the old covenant laws (Num15:33-35; Exo16:5; Jer 17:21-22).
Christ did not do these things because they were permitted in the"spirit of the law which had been lost in the traditions of the elder."He did them to demonstrate "that he was Lord also of the Sabbath" (Luk6:5).
Christ, like Moses, was a reformer and a law-giver.
TheLord your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of thee,of thy brethren like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken (Deu18:15).
Which [tabernacle of Moses]stood only in meats and drinksand…carnal ordinances, imposed on them UNTIL [butonly until] the timeof REFORMATION…Christ being come (Heb 9:10 and 11).
Jesus Christ for the first time in history brought a spiritual (nota letter) law (Rom 7:6, 14 and Mat 5). "Thou shalt not commitadultery" (Mat 5:27) is letter law; "Whosoever looketh on a woman tolust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart"(Mat 5:28) is spiritual law. "All these have I kept from my youth up"(Mat 19:20) and "...touching the righteousness which is in the law,blameless" (Php 3:6) are statements made by the rich young ruler andApostle Paul respectively. Yet Christ says they were 'lacking' whilekeeping these laws (Luk 18:22). It is the "newness of spirit"primarily (Rom 7:6), that the carnal mind "cannot be subject to" (Rom8:7). One can keep the ten commandments from his youth up and beblameless in "the law", yet violate the "newness of spirit" (Rom 7:6),"the law of God" which is "inward" (Rom 7:22).
You can refrain from murder, adultery and love your neighbor,and still be carnal. But you cannot refrain from hate and lust and loveyour enemies and still be carnal. It is the spiritual law, not the tencommandments, not the letter of the law, that troubles the carnal mind.
Four times in scripture we are told that, in the eyes of God, thingsare not as they appear to us. Scripturally speaking the spiritual isREAL; the flesh is only the TYPE.
The first chapter of the book of Romans tells us to whom the book isaddressed and what is its subject. The book of Romans is written to theGentiles, "both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians …both wise andunwise" (Rom 1:14-15). The subject concerns the "ungodliness andunrighteousness of men, who hold [back-see yourBible margin] the truthin unrighteousness" (vs. 18). These are men who "knew God, (but) theyglorified him not as God … but...changed the glory of the uncorruptibleGod into an image... like corruptible man... who changed the truth ofGodinto a lie ...who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commitsuch things are worthy of death (yet they) not only do the same, buthave pleasure in them that do them" (Rom 1:18-32).
Will anyone deny that those who were "holding (back) the truth" who"knew God but glorified Him not as God", "who [know]the judgment ofGod" yet "have pleasure in them that" disobey; will anyone argue withPaul as to who these men are? "Behold you are called a Jew, and rest inthe law, and make your boast of God, and knowest His will, and[are] ...instructed out of the law..." (Rom2:17-18). The rest of chaptertwo is a verbal reprimand to the Jews (who were God's people) for theirhypocrisy. It concludes with a new revelation: Being Jewish and beingcircumcised is no longer a matter of the flesh as it had been. It isnow, as a result of the arrival, death and resurrection of the Messiah,a spiritual matter, a matter of a spiritual change, a change of heart,a change of mind and spirit (vs. 28 and 29).
While it is overly brief, it is not one bit inaccurate to say thatthe rest of the entire book of Romans deals with this change revealedin chapter two: "He is NOT a Jew which is one outwardly... He IS a Jewwhich is one inwardly..."
"...NEITHER is that circumcision, which is outward in theflesh... circumcision IS that of the heart, in the Spirit... There istherefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, whowalk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit... the spirit itselfbeareth witness with our spirit, that we [Gentiles,not physical Jews]are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God andjoint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we maybe also glorified together" (Rom 8:1, 16, 17).
In Rom 9, Paul lets us know that while he has acknowledged thewisdom and sovereignty of God, just like Abraham with Ishmael, he isgrieved for "my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Rom 9:3).
In Gen 16, Abram and Sarai conspire to help God accomplish Hispromise to Abram to make of him a great nation.
In Gen 17, God reveals to Abraham that the seed that would be theheir was not Ishmael. Abraham's response was identical to that of Paulupon learning that his "kinsmen according to the flesh" had been"broken off" and replaced by the "children of promise" (Gal 4:28). Weare not called the sons of Isaac because we are told that we, as Isaac,are "the children of the promise". Why would someone who IS as Isaac becalled his son? We are sons of Abraham as was Isaac, and therefore,heirs of the promise as was Isaac. "O, that Ishmael might live beforethee" (vs. 18), was Abraham's response. In chapter 21, Sarah bearsIsaac, "...and she (Sarah) said unto Abraham, cast out this bondwomanandher son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with... Isaac"(vs. 10). "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight becauseof his son" (Ishmael). Ishmael was Abraham's son, his "kinsmanaccording to the flesh". "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham'ssight because of his son."
This is exactly what Paul is experiencing in Rom 9: "I have greatheaviness and continual sorrow in my heart... for my brethren, mykinsmenaccording to the flesh" (vs. 2 and 3). This is what we experience aswe see our fellow Christians succumbing to falsehoods and deceits.
Why is Paul grieved for "my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who areIsraelites..." (Rom 9:3-4)? Because he has just told us of the changethat took place upon the arrival of Christ. Being a Jew and beingcircumcised now is a matter of promise, of faith, "of the spirit" (Rom.2:28-29). "He is NOT a Jew which is one outwardly."
Here in Rom 9 speaking of his "kinsmen according to the flesh"that are the physical descendants of Isaac, Paul again says: "Theyarenot all Israel which are of Israel" (vs. 6). "...that is, they whicharethe children of the flesh (my kinsmen according to the flesh - vs. 3)THESE ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD;... that the purpose of God accordingtoelection might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth" (Rom 9:8, 11).
In chapter 10, we are told: "For there is no difference between theJew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all thatcall upon him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord,shall be saved" (vs. 12, 13).
But aren't the Jews, modern Israel, still God's chosen people?Aren't "the gifts and calling of God without repentance' (Rom 11:29)?Won't the Jews be converted after the rapture and rule with us here onthe earth?
The answer is yes "the gifts and calling of God are withoutrepentance" and yes, "all Israel (my kinsmen according to the flesh)shall be saved", but "they are not... Israel which are of Israel(physically)... neither because they are the seed of Abraham are theyallchildren... that is they which are the children of the flesh, these arenot the children of God: but the children of promise are counted forthe seed" (Rom 9:6-8). ANYONE WHO REJECTS CHRIST IS "NOT A JEW".
No, Israel "according to the flesh" will not be reigning on theearth with the saints during the millennium.
How can we know that physical Israel will not reign with the saints?Because Paul tells us that "Hagar (not Sarah) answers to Jerusalem thatnow is and is in bondage with her children" (Gal 4:25). Hagar andIshmael are "of the flesh" and "flesh...cannot inherit the kingdom ofGod". "Now we brethren (Gentile Galatians) as Isaac was are thechildren of promise, but as then he that was born after the fleshpersecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now" (vs.29). Did you catch that? The Gentile Galatians are "as Isaac was... thechildren of promise." They are the same "children of thepromise... counted for the seed" of Romans 9:8. And Romans 9:8 alsosays"They which are the children of the flesh (physical descendants ofIsaac) ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD..."
Notice how Gal 4 harmonized with Rom 9: "nevertheless what saiththe scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son (Jews and Israeliteswho are not in Christ): for the son of the bondwoman (Jerusalem thatnow is in bondage - vs. 25) shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman" (Gal 4:30).
So, who is the true spiritual Israel counted for the seed ofAbraham? "So then brethren, we [Gentile Galatians]are NOT the childrenof the bondwoman, but [WE are the children]of the free" (vs. 31). "...Ifye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to thepromises" (Gal 3:29). "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcisionavaileth anything, nor uncircumcision, but [whatdoes avail much is] anew creature. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom9:6). "And as many as walk according to this rule [thatphysicalparentage and fleshly circumcision avail nothing, but being in Christmakes us the spiritual circumcision and spiritual Israelites],peace beon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God" (Gal 6:16).
The Israel "according to the flesh" of Rom 9:3-4 is opposedto the "Israel of God" of Gal 6:16.
The "son" of the Israel "according to the flesh" will not be madeheir with the son of the Israel of God. "Israel [accordingto theflesh] hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but theelectionhath obtained it." "The election [the Israel ofGod] has obtained thatwhich Israel [according to the flesh] hadsought (Rom 11:7).
That's why Paul says of the "Israel of God", those who are inChrist, "Do ye not know the saints shall judge the world... know ye notthat we shall judge angels... (1Co 6:2-3)?
So those in Christ will judge angels AND the world; and will "not beheir" with the son of the bondwoman.
Didn't we agree that the gifts and calling of God are withoutrepentance? What about the valley of dry bones "the whole house ofIsrael" who say "our hope is lost, we are cut off" (Eze 37:25)?
It will be when "the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so allIsrael (the whole house of Israel - Eze 37:25) shall be saved..."(Rom11:25 and 26). The "fulness of the Gentiles" is all those who will bein the second resurrection.
Exactly when will the fulness of the Gentiles be come in so thewhole house of Israel can be saved? "When thy sisters Sodom and herdaughters shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and herdaughters shall return to their former estate, THEN thou and thydaughters shall return to your former estate" (Eze 16:55).
Is there a scholar anywhere who doesn't agree that the pervertedSodomites will be raised in the second resurrection, also known as theGreat White Throne judgment, where all the dead are judged and thosewhose names are not in the book of life will be cast into the "lake offire" (Rev 20:12-15). This is where and when the "whole house"of physical Israel will be "restored to (her) former estate."
Until this present time, physical, Christ-rejecting Israel, with"the law of Moses" has served as "a shadow of good things to come, andnot the very image of the things..."(Heb 10:1). In 1Co 10, Paulgivesus a brief synopsis of Israel's history of rebellion against God whilewandering in the wilderness. In verse 6, he says: "Now these thingswere our examples..." Again in verse 11: "Now all these things happenedunto them for ensamples"
"Example" and "ensample" are the same Greek word tupos(Strong's #5179).
The point is that the entire history of "Israel after the flesh" (1Co 10:18), including the giving of the law, is a tupos ortype of the "Israel of God" (Gal 6:16). "The law (had) a shadow ofgood things to come" (Heb 10:1). The "good things to come" are allthose things possessed by those who are "in Christ."
But now that the body casting those types and shadows has come (Col2:16, 17), "there is of necessity a change... of the law" which "thepeople received under the levitical priesthood" (Heb 7:11).
Let's put this "change of the law" in modern terms. If I had acontract (covenant) with you last year, and I broke the terms of thatcontract, you would have every legal right to cancel that contract anddraw up a new one. In the new contract, you could change or retain anypart of the old contract that you want, but the old contract would beabolished, and the new contract would be established. (Heb 7:11)
In Heb 7, Paul tells us that this is exactly what has taken place.Under the old contract, only the sons of Aaron could be priests. In thenew contract, the Aaronic priesthood has been replaced by theMelchizedek priesthood, the priesthood that existed before theLevitical Aaronic priesthood; a priesthood that had everything to dowith God's calling and had nothing to do with one's pedigree orphysical lineage (Gal 3:28-29).
Verse 12 is a pivotal scripture: "For the priesthood being changedthere is of necessity a change also of the law". This "change" is notjust in the law requiring that priests be descended from Aaron. It is achange of "the law"... "received"..."under" the Levitical priesthood:"Forunder it (the Levitical priesthood) the people received the law [ofMoses]" (vs. 11).
Speaking of this change in his various letters, Paul uses eightphrases that are misused, abused and misunderstood by many in the bodyof Christ today. Those eight phrases are:
...a change also of the law.Heb 7:12
...that which is done away.1Co 13:10; 2Co 3:7, 11
...that which is abolished.2Co 3:13 - abolishing the
lawof commandments contained in ordinancesEph 2:15
...blotting out the handwriting of ordinancesCol 2:14
...a carnal commandment... [has been]...disannulled.Heb 7:16-18
...ready to vanish away.Heb 8:13
...under the law.Rom 3:19; Rom 6:14,15; Gal 3:23; Gal4:4,5, Gal 4:21; Gal 5:18
He taketh away the first that he may establish the second(Heb 10:9)
In this 7th chapter of Hebrews, Paul informs us that the AaronicLevitical priesthood has been replaced with a priesthood after theorder of Melchisedek. In verse 11, he says "the people received thelaw" under the Levitical priesthood.
But in verse 12, he makes a statement which bears heavily on theanswer to all these statements, concerning the law and its present formand function. "For there being a change in the priesthood, there ismade of necessity a change also of the law." (The law which the peoplereceived under the Levitical priesthood.)
Many contend that the only law under consideration here in verse 12is the law concerning the priesthood only. Let us assume for the momentthat this is true. Verse 11 then would really be saying this; "Iftherefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood [laws], (forunder it the people received the [Leviticalpriesthood] law)..."
This is obviously absurd. It is the law given by God to Moses, whichthe Levitical priesthood administered, and taught to the people, thatis under discussion here in verse eleven. This is the law which thescribes and Pharisees mistakenly assumed would perfect them. (Vs. 11)This is the law referred back to in verse twelve where we read: "Forthe priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change alsoof the law." (The law just mentioned in verse 11 which was assumed toperfect the people.) Laws regarding the priesthood were never assumedto perfect the people. Laws administered by the Levitical priesthoodwere assumed to perfect the people.
But Christ demonstrates in Matthew 5 that the law of Moses (the 10commandments and the statutes and judgments - the Old Covenant - Deu4:13) are all types and shadows "of the law of the spirit of life"(Rom 8:2).
Notice I did not say that Christ demonstrates the "spirit of thelaw" in Mat 5. The phrase "the spirit of the law" is not to be foundin scripture. "...In newness of spirit" is a scriptural phrase and isalways used in opposition to "the oldness of the letter" (Rom 7:6).
"...The letter..." is not a phrase for rabbinical or Pharisaical"traditions of the elders" which had
robbed the law of its originalspiritual intent. The letter always opposes the spirit. "Theletter" is "the law of Moses." There is no spirit to "hate your enemy"or "an eye for an eye."
Hate your enemy (Mat 5:43) taken from God's command toIsrael in Deu 23:3-6 is not to be spiritually construed to mean "loveyour enemy."
"Love your enemy" is opposed to "hate your enemy." If you try tosomehow make the old agree with the new, you will end up "making thetear worse;" "breaking the bottles" and "spilling the wine" and theresult would be to "perish"!
Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. Icame not to destroy, but to fulfil (Mat 5:17).
"...One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, tillallbe fulfilled" (Mat 5:18). Christ is not saying that Torah, the law,would be in effect till some time after the millennium. If that werethe meaning, then circumcision would be necessary for salvation,because it is one of the most oft repeated, obvious requirements of,and the original token of God's relationship with his people (Gen17:10 and Jos 5:3-7).
"As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for itis written, cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things[physical circumcision?] which are writtenin the book of the law to dothem" (Gal 3:10).
If "till all be fulfilled" (Greek - pleroo) means keepingevery "jot and tittle" of "all things written in the book of the law todo them, then why does Christ in this same chapter urge his disciplesto break the law and love their enemies?
Obviously pleroo "fulfilled" has more to do with bringingthe law to a spiritual consummation in "Christ [who]is the end [endproduct, goal - love] of the law for righteousness to every onethatbelieveth" (Rom 10:4), than it has to do with keeping every jot andtittle in Torah. What Christ is saying is that when all is pleroo,the law will pass away.
Has heaven or earth passed away? Why then are we not circumcising?
If "the man which doeth those things [containedin the law] shalllive by them" (Lev 18:5) is a positive statement encouraging us tokeep the law, why then is Paul contrasting "the righteousness which isof the law" with the righteousness which is of faith (Rom 10:4-6)?"Thou shalt not kill" has become "don't even hate your brother" and"thou shalt not commit adultery" has become "don't even look at a womanto lust after her." So there really is a "change also of the law" (Heb7:12).
The Greek word translated change, is Strong's Concordance #3346, metatithemi.This word is used in Jud 4 - "...certain ungodly men turning (metatithemi)the grace of God into lasciviousness." The change (metatithemi)here in Jud 4 is a drastic change. So is the change in Heb 7:12. Butthe "change also of the law" is in the opposite direction from this"change" or "turning" in Jud 4. Let us allow Christ himself todemonstrate what is involved in this "change also of the law," in this"new covenant... not according to the covenant that I made with theirfathers..."
In Mat 5:17, He tells us: "think not that I am come to destroy [kataluo#2647] the law or the prophets. I came not to destroy, but tofulfil [pleroo#4137]."
The word kataluo, "destroy," appears sixteen times in theNew Testament. The first time it is used is here in Mat 5:17. Thenext appearance of this word is in Mat 24:2; "...Jesus said... thereshallnot be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down" (kataluo).Of the sixteen entries of this word kataluo, the translation"destroy" and "thrown down" are by far the most common. Christ did notcome to "destroy" or "throw down" the law, but to fulfil (pleroo)the law.
This word, pleroo (#4137), appears 90 times in the NewTestament, generally in reference to various Old Testament propheciesabout Christ being pleroo or fulfilled.
But this is also the word used in Rom 8:4. In verse three, Paulsays that God sent Christ to accomplish in us what the law could notaccomplish because of the "weakness of the flesh". So "Christ in us"(Gal 2:20) accomplishes something the law could not do. Christstrengthens us "that the righteousness of the law might be-pleroo-fulfilledin us who walk not after the flesh [the letter]but after the spirit."This is the "law of love" (Mat 22:37-40) that faith establishes (Rom3:31-"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, weestablish the law"). Establishing the "law of love" necessitates the"disannulling of the commandment" (Heb 7:18) as Christ demonstrates inMatt. 5. "The law" is itself a prophecy and type of the kingdom of God.It is through the "fulfilling and vanishing away" of the old testamentlaw that the kingdom of God is "established" in the person and body ofJesus Christ.
In Paul's writings, the phrase "after the flesh" and "after theletter" are used interchangeably (Rom 2:29, 8:1); contrasted to "afterthe spirit" (2Co 3:6).
Rom 8:4 is often quoted by those who want to retain the tencommandments of the law of Moses: "That the righteousness of the lawmight be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after thespirit."
If we are walking after the spirit, we are not walking after theletter, "For the letter kills but the spirit gives life" (2Co 3:6).Simply not killing your brother and not committing adultery will notland you in the first resurrection. It will take a "change of the law"to accomplish that because a "change of the law" is also a change "ofthe heart" "not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart"(2Co 3:3). It is this changed law; walking after the spirit; thatChrist demonstrates for us in Mat 5. In verse 17, he tells us hecame not to destroy, but to fulfil the law. Keeping the "newness ofspirit" may or may not fulfill the law of Moses (the ten commandments),but the law of Moses (the ten commandments) does not fulfill the"newness of spirit", the law of love (Rom 13:10). The rest of thechapter demonstrates what he meant by this, and we will see that itinvolves a drastic "change also of the law."
Six times in this same chapter, demonstrating what he meant by theword pleroo (fulfill), Christ quotes out of the law of Mosespreceding each quote with "You have heard that it was said by them ofold time...", then Christ 'changes' what he quotes.
Christ precedes the changes He has made in the law with thisstatement, "...I say unto you that except your righteousness shallexceedthe righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no caseenter into the kingdom of heaven." There are many hypocriticalPharisees (Mat 23:2-3 and Rom 2:23-24) although there were others,perhaps Nicodemas, the rich young ruler and Joseph of Aramathea who,like the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus, were "touching the righteousnesswhich is in the law blameless" (Phil. 3:6). But even the righteousnessof a "blameless" keeper of the ten commandments was still to be"counted as dung" (Php 3:8) and "filthy rags" (Isa 64:6) and "yetlacking" (Luk 18:22).
Php 3:9 is the sum of it, "And be found in him, not having mineown righteousness, which is of the law, [this isthe ten commandmentsand though blameless, we must exceed that.] But that which isthroughthe faith of Jesus Christ, [the spirit, notletter, the changes inMatt. 5, etc.] The righteousness which is of God [not of self, Gal2:20] by faith [of Christ]" (Gal2:20).
Let us now examine the changes Christ made in the law.
The first example of this "change... of the law" is found in...:
Mat 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
This, of course, is a reference to what we call the sixthcommandment in the order given in Exo 20. Notice now how Christ"changes" this law.
Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
That is quite a "change... of the law". It certainly wasn't metatithemi"changed" or "turned" into "lasciviousness". Instead the person who"hates his brother without a cause is now as guilty before God as amurderer!
That, I submit, is a demonstration of "a change also of the law"under this new priesthood after the order of Melchisedek; this "newcovenant" "not of the letter but of the spirit". This change is sodrastic that it has, for those who walk in the spirit, "done away" withthe need for "thou shalt not kill" (Exo 20:13). Parents, schools andcourtrooms are still in desperate need of some of the laws of Moses. Itis "for the lawless and disobedient" (1Ti 1:9). "...The law was ourschoolmaster to bring us unto Christ... BUT AFTER THAT FAITH IS COME,WEARE NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER". But if we live in the spirit, amuch higher law has been written on the heart (Gal 3:24, 25).
The next "you have heard it said by them of old time" is the seventhcommandment. Mat 5:27 - "Thou shalt not commit adultery:"
Once again Christ is going to demonstrate for us a "change also ofthe law", "not of the letter but of the spirit"; a "new covenant". Hewill be writing his new covenant law "not on tables of stone, but onfleshy tables of the heart". The new covenant is not a "version" of theOLD. It is an entirely NEW Covenant. Christ will show us what is meantby "when that which is perfect is come that which is in part shall bedone away" (1Co 13:10). This "change of the law" concerning theseventh commandment will "abolish... the law of commandments containedinordinances" (Eph 2:15). It will "blot out the handwriting ofordinances" (Col 2:14). "A carnal commandment will be disannulled."(Heb 7:16-18). This "new covenant" "...hath made the first old. Nowthatwhich is old is ready to vanish away" (Heb 8:13). All of thesestatements of the Apostle Paul are demonstrated in the changes in thelaw made by Christ here in Mat 5. He does not kataluo(destroy) the law, but he does katargeo (abolish) the "law ofcommandments contained in ordinances [Eph 2:15]by reason of the glorythat excelleth" (2Co 3:10).
Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Now notice how the "law of the spirit of life" contrasts with theletter; verse 28, "But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a womanto lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in hisheart."
Under the old covenant, your mind could be filthy as long as youdidn't physically commit the act of adultery. Not so in this newcovenant. If our obedience does not come from the deepest part of ourbeing; from the heart (2Co 3:3) "not of the letter but of thespirit" (2Co 3:6), it will not even be counted as obedience orrighteousness. You "have committed adultery with her already in yourheart". You "by the letter..transgress the law" (Rom 2:27).
Paul agrees with Christ. 'Letter only' obedience amounts todisobedience, and is no more acceptable to our heavenly father than itis to us. Any decent parent who tells a child to close the door and isobeyed with a slammed door, will immediately administer the muchdeserved discipline for what really amounts to disobedience.
The Scriptural Definition And Function Of Grace
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Yes, the King James Version has "teaching" where I have "chastens"but while it is true that teaching can involve discipline, "teaching"is not the best word to convey the seriousness with which God dealswith "ungodliness and worldly lusts" Chastening is thescripturalfunction of Grace.
The Greek word for teaching is paideuo (Strong's #3811). It is the same wordtranslated "chasteneth" in Heb 12:6: For whom the Lord loveth hechasteneth (paideuo) and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."When we are judged, we are CHASTENED of the Lord..." (1Co 11:32).
This is how "where sin abounds grace [in theform of corrective chastening] does much more abound" (Rom 5:20 and Rom 6:1, 2).Anyone who believes that they can come and stay 'just as I am' doesn'tknow the meaning of the word 'Father', nor the scriptural definition ofgrace. "Grace... chastens us [to] denyungodliness and worldly lusts..."(Tit 2:11, 12).
We may certainly come 'just as I am', but we had better "go and sinno more lest a worse thing (discipline from a loving Father) come untothee" (Joh 5:14).
This is surely a 'wet blanket' to those who want only to hear aboutthe salvation of all. There is no way around Mar 9:45 and Heb 12:6.It is "EVERY SACRIFICE" and "EVERY SON". There are NO EXCEPTIONS! Thedoctrine of universal reconciliation through a false definition ofgrace is just as nourishing to the Adversary as the false doctrines ofeternal death or eternal torment. What do we think the word 'dragged'means? Chastening IS certainly a 'dragging'. No child goes willinglyand cheerfully to be disciplined.
We are "justified freely by his grace" (Rom 3:24). There is nocharge and there is nothing we can do to earn the chastening andscourging [of] "EVERY son whom Hereceiveth" (Heb 12:6). It is givenfreely.
We now come to the third "you have heard that it was said..." Mat5:31: "It hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let himgive her a writing of divorcement."
The previous two "changes of the law" (Heb 7:12) have beendramatic. Will this change be any less so? Not likely. Before weexamine this change, let's ask the question: what did the two previouschanges have in common?
In the first change, being "angry with your brother without a cause"is elevated to the offense of murder.
In the second change, "looking on a woman to lust after her" hasbeen elevated to the offense of adultery.
What they have in common is that they have both been dramaticallychanged from a "letter" law to a "spiritual" law. "Who hath made usable ministers of the new testament [covenant]NOT OF THE LETTER BUT OFTHE SPIRIT, FOR THE LETTER KILLETH, BUT THE SPIRIT [Thenew covenant]GIVETH LIFE" (2Co 3:6).
Before we continue, let us take note that this change has nothing todo with the ten commandments, but only the statutes and judgments.There was no difference to Christ; it was all "the law of Moses."
Continuing on; "It hath been said, whosoever shall put away hiswife, let him write her a bill of divorcement. But I say unto you, thatwhosoever shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication;causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that isdivorced, commits adultery" (Mat 5:31-32). So what "change also ofthe law" (Heb 7:12) has been made here? Did Christ really say that"whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery"?
No he did not!! The changes made here are as monumental as thechanges in the sixth and seventh commandments. This change is in factsimply expanding upon the changes made in the "thou shalt not commitadultery" commandment.
Christ is not banning divorce here, and he did not say "whosoevershall marry her that is divorced comitteth adultery."
The Greek word translated 'divorced' here in Mat 5:32 is apaluo(Strong's #630). This is the same word which is properly translated'put away' in the preceding verse.
The translators' mistake here has contributed to mountains ofunnecessary misery over the past 400 plus years.
While it is true that a Christian couple would never seek todissolve "that which God hath joined together", it is not true thatChrist said "whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committethadultery." What He did say was
whosoever shall marry her that isput away (apoluo) committeth adultery.
There is a Greek word for divorce. It is apostasion(Strong's #647). It does not appear in Mat 5:32. It does appear inMat 5:31: "...let him give her a writing of divorcement (apostasion)."Under the law of Moses, a man was never to apoluo (#630) or'put away' his wife without giving her apostasion; a bill ofdivorcement.
But men have never kept the law of Moses. Men were 'putting away' orapoluo their wives without a bill of divorcement or apostasion.Christ was stating the obvious when he pointed out that legally this"causes" the woman and the man she marries to commit adultery becauseshe is not legally apostasion or divorced.
Why would Christ mention this? He certainly was not suggesting thatthis somehow complicated things for the Father to decide what was to beheld accountable for whatever. He is not in any way excusing sinfulactions on the part of either partner in the marriage. This was simplya legal statement. It is helpful to realize that before Sinai and thegiving of the "law of Moses" the world was governed by the law ofHammurabi.
Under both laws the husband was the decision maker and wives wereowned by their husbands.
Under both laws the husband could divorce his wife for many reasonsbesides fornication. "...if you have no delight in her, then you shalllet her go..." (Deu 21:14).
But there was one major distinguishing feature between the law ofMoses and the law of Hammurabi regarding the subject of divorce. Thelaw of Hammurabi says simply "if a man wishes to separate from hiswife... he shall give her the amount of her purchase money... and lether go"(Law 138). "...if her husband offer her release, she may go on herway..."(Law 141). "She shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house"(Law 142).
Under the law of Hammurabi women had very few legal rights orprotections. Nowhere did Hammurabi require a husband to give hisex-wife a bill of divorcement. The door was wide open for aself-centered, jealous and spiteful ex-husband to deny the fact that hehad divorced his wife.
The law of Moses on the other hand required the husband to give thewife a written and signed bill of divorcement. So while divorcing one'swife was a simple matter under the law of Moses [simply"if you have nodelight in her" (Deu 21:14)], the ex-wife at least had theaddedlegal protection of being in possession of a document which proved shewas legally free to "go and be another man's wife" (Deu 24:2).
Now let's go to Mat 19 and see how the KJV translators correctthemselves regarding this Greek word apoluo - which is the sameword translated 'divorce' in Mat 5:32 -
the Pharisees... came tohim, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to putaway his wife for every cause? (vs. 3).
Why would the Pharisees ask Christ this question "to tempt him"?Perhaps this was some time after the humiliation the Pharisees sufferedwhen they brought an adulterous woman to Christ.
Master, this womanwas taken in adultery, in the very act (Joh 8:4). The law says,
Ifa man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then theyshall both of them die (Deu 22:22).
The emphasis is on the man. The Pharisees had already admitted theyhad caught her "in the very act". If they were serious abut keeping thelaw, where was the man? Of course they weren't sincere about obeyingGod; they only wanted to rid themselves of their nemesis who wasconstantly revealing them for the hypocrites they were. A new tack hadto be taken.
So in this case, with the allowances for divorce plainly andexplicitly given in the law, the Pharisees, like so many so-calledChristians today without the faith of or the spirit of Christ in them,were simply looking for a way around the spiritual new law. Thisspiritual law had never been given before -- certainly not by Moses.The Pharisees knew this and weren't about to miss a chance to pointthat out. This is not a new application of the law, this is not somefabled 'spirit of the law'; this is new law disannulling the old law(Heb 7:18).
Our wise, all knowing Savior knew exactly what was taking placehere. He knew that the Pharisees preferred their "own righteousnesswhich is of the law" (Php 3:9) to the spiritual law which He wasrevealing.
So what do these statutes and judgments of "the Lord your God" haveto say about divorce? What are the scriptures the Pharisees had ontheir side? Do these scriptures (yes, these are scriptures) actuallysay that a man can put away his wife for any reason or "every cause"(Mat 19:3).
Well, as a matter of fact, they do: "When a man hath taken a wifeand married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in hiseyes, because he hath found some uncleanness [ervah#6172] inher: then let him write her a bill of divorcement [kerithuth#3748] and give it in her hand, and send her out [shalach #7971]of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go andbe another man's wife" (Deu 24:1,2).
The "some uncleanness" is certainly not speaking of sexual fraud.The penalty for that was death. "...they shall bring out the damsel tothe door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone herwith stones that she die..." (Deu 22:21). Neither was it adultery.Thepenalty for adultery was also death (Deu 22:22).
The Hebrew word translated "uncleanness" is ervah (Strong's#6172). It appears 40 times in the Old Testament. 37 times it istranslated "nakedness". Its first appearance is typical of its use:"And Ham the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father..."(Gen9:22). Of the remaining 3 verses, it is translated shame. In Isa 20:4:"So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners... evenwith their buttocks uncovered to the shame [ornakedness - ervah#6172] of Egypt."
In Deu 23:14, we are given the meaning of this word to be appliedhere in Deu 24:1. "For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thecamp, to deliver thee and to give up thine enemies before thee:therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing [ornakedness - ervah #6172] in thee, and turn away fromthee"(Deu 23:14).
The church of Laodicea is told that she thinks she is rich and hasneed of nothing, but in reality, she is "poor and blind and naked. Icounsel you to buy of me... white raiment that you may be clothed andthatthe shame of your nakedness do not appear" (Rev 3:17-18). Nakedness inscripture is a type of sin; not any particular sin but any sin. Thewhite raiment is defined as "the righteousness of the saints" (Rev19:8). This is "Christ in us" (Gal 2:20) covering any sin.
Clearly the Pharisees were right. Adultery and sexual fraud werepunishable by death (Deu 22:21, 22) not "a bill of divorcement"and "she may go and be another man's wife". "Some uncleanness" reallywas all that the law of Moses required for divorcing one's wife.
But in case there is any doubt that the Pharisees were right intheir understanding and that Christ wasn't really "changing the law",let's look at one more scripture. If you "seest among the captives abeautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest haveher to your wife; then thou shall bring her home to thine house; ...andbeher husband and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if you have nodelight in her, then you shall let her go whither she will; but thoushalt not sell her at all for money..." (Deu 21:11-14)
The reason given here to "let her go" (shalach #7971, thesame word translated "send her out" - Deu 24:1) is simply "you have nodelight in her" or as the Pharisees put it "for every cause" (Mat19:3).
Sounds like the Pharisees knew the letter of the law pretty well.Better apparently than some bible teachers of our day who say that inMat 5, Christ's words here are "not to be construed to mean thatJesus is putting away all these divine laws, or that he is replacingeach of them with something different or better. It is not the law ofGod he is discrediting; it is the Pharisaical interpretation of the lawand a legalistic spirit that he is disagreeing with... The purpose ofthe'sermon on the mount' was to improve upon the law's interpretation andapplication. The true spirit of the law had been lost through thetraditions of the elders" (Divorce and Remarriage is NOT Adultery by S.Jones, pg. 10).
This statement pretty well summarizes the orthodox teaching on "thelaw" of what is called our "Judeo-Christian culture". But this doctrinedoes not follow a "pattern of sound words" (2Ti 1:13). It is not inaccord with scripture.
To begin with, nowhere in the bible is the "law of Moses" called'divine law'. It is called "the law of Moses" eleven times in the NewTestament (Luk 2:22; Luk 24:44; Joh 1:45; Joh 7:19; Joh 7:23; Act13:39; Act 15:5; Act 28:23; Rom 10:5; 1Co 9:9; Heb 9:19).Secondly, according to Jer 31:32 the new covenant is "not according tothe covenant that I made with their fathers..." So it is "different".According to Heb. 8:6, it is "a better covenant". What makes it betteraccording to Heb. 8:10 is that God's laws, only since Christ, are "putinto their minds and written in their hearts." This is called "of thespirit and not of the letter" in 2Co 3:6. To say "the true spiritof the law had been lost through the traditions of the elders" is tosay that in reality there was no difference between the old and newcovenant. To say that 'Christ was simply restoring what had "beenlost"' is not the teaching of Mat 5 or the Apostle Paul.
This "new covenant" is "not according to" the old; it is "different"and it is "better", because it, not the old one, is of the spirit. Ifwe insist on believing that "the true spirit of the law had been lostthrough the traditions of the elders" (ibid.), we are denying thatthere is any difference to begin with. "Not according to" the old meansthat the old NEVER was intended to be written on their hearts andminds" (Heb 8:10). It was designed as a "carnal commandment" (Heb8:16). It did not carry with it the promise of eternal life. That iswhat is meant by "not in tables of stone" (2Co 3:3) and "the letterkilleth, but the spirit giveth life" (2Co 3:6). The old covenant isthe ten commandments written on two tables of stone "his covenant whichhe commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote themupon two tables of stone" (Deu 4:13). It was definitely "...not madefor a righteous man, but for the lawless and isobedient" (1Ti1:9).
Yes, Psa 37:31 and Psa 40:8 say "the law of... God is in his (therighteous man's) heart." Having God's law of Moses "within" one's heartis obviously quite different, so far as God is concerned, from havingit "written on our hearts and minds" (Jer 31:31; Rom 8:2; Heb 8:10and 2Co 3:3).
If this is not true, then in reality there is no "change also of thelaw", and all of Paul's statements concerning the "letter" of the laware in error.
Now that we have established that the law of Moses concerningdivorce was indeed changed, let us consider the direction of thischange. The first two changes amounted to requiring the impossible ofthe flesh. What human being without God's spirit could live withouthate, or what man can live without looking on a woman to lust afterher; especially in a time so similar to the "days of Noah" and in acountry so similar to Sodom?
What was Christ's answer to these religious leaders asking thebaited question; can a man "put away his wife for every cause"? (Mat19:3) "And he answered and said unto them, Have you not read that hewhich made them at the beginning made them male and female. And said,For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave tohis wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no moretwain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let notman put asunder."
Had Christ not been "changing... the law", he would not have allowedhimself to be drawn into a discussion with the Pharisees about the lawof Moses. Christ was oblivious to the law of Moses. Instead, he changesthe source of authority from what was given by God to the physicalnation of Israel through Moses (Deu 5:31) to that which comesdirectly from the mind of God and was never written on "tables ofstone". In other words, once again, Christ introduces the new spirituallaw, never before known to man, and certainly not in the words he hadgiven Moses "if thou have no delight in her, then you shall let hergo..." (Deu 21:14).
While the "spiritual law" asks what is commendable and ideal, theletter asks what is permissible? What can I get by with? The Pharisees,in their divinely appointed role as a type of the flesh and letter ofthe law, could not receive this changed spiritual answer.
"Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and toput her away?" (Mat 19:7)
The way the Pharisees phrased this question you might think we werecommanded to seek some little reason to put our wives away.Nevertheless, it is a legitimate question; why did God through Moses,make provision for divorce? Why did God, through Moses, allow men todivorce their wives? Simply because "[you]found some uncleanness inher" or "if you have no delight in her" (Deu 24:1; Deu 21:14).
"...Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you toputaway your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. Now for thethird time Jesus emphasizes his new spiritual law: "And I say unto youwhosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, andshall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her whichis put away doth commit adultery" (Mat 19:8-9).
This was such a profound change from what the disciples had beenbrought up with (the law of Moses) that it elicited this response: "Hisdisciples say unto him, if the case of the man be so with his wife, itis good not to marry" (Mat 19:10). Clearly Christ is not talkingabout simply remembering to write that "bill of divorcement" before yousend her out of your house. The disciples would have had no problemwith that, but this was more than they could receive. "But He (Christ)said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whomit is given" (Mat 19:11). Christ's answer to "Is it lawful for a manto put away his wife for every (any) cause? did not appeal to the lawof Moses, but rather to the spirit of God, whose representative he was,for its authority. Once again Christ ignores the law of Moses, isoblivious to it. His answer is: "What... God hath joined together letnotman put asunder." Show me that anywhere in the Old Testament. Truly,Christ, like Moses, was a great reformer (Heb 9:10). Do you realizethis answer by Christ is the equivalent of saying the law of Moses ismen putting a marriage asunder?
Christ himself has not changed (Heb 8:13. He has always been theChrist of Mat 5, 6 and 7, but the law he gave through Moses was forIsrael "according to the flesh" (Rom 9:3-4) not the "children of thepromise" (Rom. 9:6-8) who are now called "the Israel of God" (Gal6:15,16), and "able ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter butof the spirit... (2Co 3:6). That letter law brings us to Christ andthen for the chosen person is "abolished" (Eph 2:15).
The new seed of Abraham ("now if you be Christ's, then are youAbraham's seed" Gal 3:29) has the new covenant with a new spirituallaw (2Co 3:6) written on their hearts (Heb 8:10) and nowhere else.
Some people who do see the differences between the old and newcovenant conclude that Christ is not the God of the old covenant. Intruth, He is the same God. He was merely using the entire history of"Israel according to the flesh" (Rom 9:3) along with the law given togovern that carnal nation, as simply a type and shadow of the "Israelof God" (Gal 6:15, 16), and as such, "Israel according to theflesh" and the "Law of Moses" were both temporary types and shadows ofthe "Israel of God" and "the law of God after the inward man" (1Co9:6 and 11; Rom 7:22).
Truly, Christ does not change, for He is of the spirit (Joh 3:34),but anything, especially the law which is not of faith, must bechanged. (Joh 3:6, 7 and Heb 8:13).
Christ appealed to the spirit in his "thou shalt not kill" change,and he appealed to the spirit in his "thou shalt not commit adultery"change. If we do not glean the spirit of this "but I say unto you", wewill not be able to "receive this saying" concerning divorce andremarriage.
Now let's take what Christ has said here and analyze it withspiritual eyes and ears (Mat 13:13).
First, what does "hardness of your hearts" mean? Are these laws ondivorce and remarriage the only laws written "because of the hardnessof your hearts"? Absolutely not! Any and every law ever written iswritten "because of the hardness of your hearts" (Rom 2:5). Hardnessof heart is a form of self-centered rebellion and self-will.
"The law [of Moses] is not made for arighteous man, but for thelawless and disobedient..." (1Ti 1:9), those with hardened hearts.
We must understand this if we are to understand the place andfunction of the law of Moses (1Ti 1:9-10 - the law is not made for arighteous man but for the... disobedient) as opposed (yes, opposed) to"the law of God after the inward [spiritual]man" (Rom 7:22) which isfor the righteous man because it (not the ten commandments) is..."newness of spirit not oldness of letter" (Rom 7:6).
We are now able to ask, what does "saving for the cause offornication" (Mat 5:32) or "except it be for fornication" (Mat19:9) mean? This is, without a doubt, one of the most hotly contestedbiblical questions of all time. So as with all our definitions of wordsor phrases, we need to allow God's word to be our dictionary andlexicon.
The first scripture that should always be quoted before thisdiscussion begins is Mal 2:16 - "For the Lord, the God of Israel,saith that He hateth putting away..." That fact is foremost in the mindof everyone who has the spirit of God dwelling in them.
Marriage is the most sacred institution God has bequeathed to man.It is by its very nature the most intimate, maturing, loving andnurturing relationship one can experience in this physical life. It isa reflection of our relationship to God (Isa 54:6). Christ is thebridegroom of the bride (Mat 9:15) and He tells us plainly that Hehates "putting away". So whatever "except it be for fornication" means,it certainly is not an easy way to dissolve a marriage. No one with themind of God is looking for a way to dissolve "what God hath joinedtogether". Every God-fearing Christian is seeking to nurture andstrengthen the marriage bond. Looking for another mate is certainly noteven a consideration for anyone who can truthfully say "I am crucifiedwith Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me..."(Gal 2:20).
So with the "Not my will but thine be done" attitude of Christ,(Luk 22:42), let us consider the meaning of this word "fornication".The Greek here for fornication is porneia (Strong's #4202). Theword appears 25 times in the New Testament: Mat 5:32, 19:9; Mar7:21; Joh 8:41; Act 15:20, 15:29, 21:25; Rom 1:29; 1Co 5:1,6:13,18, 7:2; 2Co 12:21; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; 1Th4:3; Rev 2:21, 9:21, 14:8, 17:4, 18:3 and 19:2. These 25 words are allin the present tense.
The past tense of this noun is porneuo (Strong's #4203), andit appears in seven verses in the New Testament: 1Co 6:18, 10:8;Rev 2:14, 2:20, 17:2, 18:3 and 18:9.
Now Christ was a Jew living with the Old Testament only. To know forcertain what Christ meant by porneia, we must find a scripturein the New Testament that refers to a specific act of porneiain the Old Testament. Of the 32 verses listed above where this wordappears, the only verse that refers to a specific act of porneiain the Old Testament is 1Co 10:8: "Neither let us commit fornication(porneuo #4203), as some of them committed, and fell in one daythree and twenty thousand."
This is a reference to the seduction of Israel by the daughters ofMoab on the advice of the prophet Baalam (Num 31:16). Apparentlytwenty-four thousand died altogether, but twenty-three thousand diedthe first day of the plague.
Now notice the spiritual affect of this physical sin. "And Israelabode in Shittim and the people began to commit whoredom (Hebrew word zanah,fornication-Strong's #2181) with the daughters of Moab. And theycalled the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people dideat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself toBaalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel" (Num25:1-3).
Physical fornication (porneuo or porneia) led Israelto spiritual fornication or idolatry.
The Hebrew word for fornication is zanah (Strong's #2181).It appears 82 times in the Old Testament. It is translated variouslyharlot, whore, whoring and fornication. The first time this word forfornication, zanah appears is in Gen 34:31: "...should he dealwith our sister as with an harlot (zanah)?"
This physical application represents 25 of the 82 entries of thisword fornication in the Old Testament Hebrew. The remaining 57 entriesare spiritual in their application: "Lest you make a covenant with theinhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring (zanah -fornication) after their gods and do sacrifice unto their gods and onecall you and you eat of his sacrifice" (Exo 34:15).
This scripture is typical of well over 2/3 of the entries for aspiritual application of this word zanah: "He [Jehoram, king ofJudah] made high places [for idol worship]in the mountains of Judah,and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication [Hebrew: zanah],and compelled Judah thereto."
Clearly "the invisible things..." [spiritualfornication among them]are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [likephysical fornication]" (Rom 1:20). The primary sin "not aftertheletter, but after the Spirit" (2Co 3:6) in the New Covenant, isunfaithfulness to God, or spiritual fornication.
It is before God that we take an oath to be faithful to our mates.Physical marriage is simply a type of our relationship with our God.Our faithfulness to our mate is a reflection of how faithful we are toGod, our Father, and Christ, our husband (2Co 11:2). "For thiscause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined untohis wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: butI speak concerning Christ and the church" (Eph 5:31-32).
But spiritual idolatry or fornication can be and is more than justphysical fornication: "Mortify therefore your members which are uponthe earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evilconcupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry" (Col 3:5). In thestrictest sense, any sin that comes between us and our husband, JesusChrist, (2Co 11:2) becomes unfaithfulness, spiritual idolatry orfornication. Idolatry, spiritual fornication, is not a thing of thepast. It is more prevalent in society and in the church of thismaterialistic age than it has ever been in history. Also, idolatry andspiritual fornication are increasing every day. "...In the last days...evilmen and seducers shall wax worse and worse..." (2Ti 3:1 and 13).
What Christ then is saying in Mat 5:32: "Whosoever shall put awayhis wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commitadultery...", is that anyone putting away his mate for purely a selfishmotive is the one responsible for any adultery committed.
What would be an unselfish motive? Let's let the Apostle Paul answerthat question: "If the unbelieving depart, let him [orher] depart. Abrother or a sister is not under bondage [to themarriage vows] in suchcases" (1Co 7:15). Now, Israel was still in the land, still claimingto be God's wife while she was in effect, slapping her husband in theface and committing "adultery" with anyone and everyone including"stones and stocks" (Jer 3:9). If a man or woman beats and abuses amate or children, he or she is as guilty of leaving that union asIsrael was of leaving God. And He wrote Israel a "bill of divorcement"(Jer 3:8).
"And whosoever shall marry her that is put away (not divorced)committeth adultery:" There is no respect of persons with God (Rom2:11). There is neither male nor female in Christ (Gal 3:28). So thisverse could just as scripturally read "Whosoever shall put away herhusband saving for the cause of fornication", and "whosoever shallmarry him that is put away committeth adultery".
There are those who say, in effect, that the exception clause is noexception. They quote Rom 7:2: "For the woman which hath an husband isbound by the law (of Moses) to her husband so long as he liveth; but ifthe husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband."
Those who quote this verse in support of 'no exception' must besimply ignorant of the law of Moses. As demonstrated above, there weremany reasons in the law of Moses for a man to put away his wife,including "she find no favor in his eyes" (Deu 24:1) and "if you haveno delight in her" (Deu 21:14).
The only conditions given in the law under which a man could neverput away his wife, was if he had falsely accused her of premarital sex(Deu 22:19) or if he himself were guilty of premarital sex with hiswife (Deu 22:29).
There are certainly no provisions in the law of Moses for a woman toput away her husband "if he find no favor in her eyes" or "if she haveno delight in him". Instead, "the woman which hath an husband was boundby the law to her husband so long as he liveth..." (Rom 7:2) so longas"she findeth favor in his eyes" (Deu 24:1).
Christ, of course, once again acts oblivious to the law of Moses. Hechanges the law as He sees fit, for He sees things as the Father seesthem. (Joh 5:30).
There is no respect of persons under this new law. The accountableparty or parties are held responsible for their own deeds. (Rom 2:6and Gal 6:7). We must consider the atmosphere in which Christ lived.Under Moses' law, a man could put away his wife for almost any reason.Christ was, as always, placing the ideal before us as our goal.
Later however, in the gospels, He simply tells us how we are to dealwith that which is less than ideal (1Co 7). "I have yet many thingsto reveal unto you, but you cannot bear them now" (Joh 16:2). Some ofthese "many things" were the fact that Christ fulfilled circumcision(Rom 2:29); that accepting Christ turned a Gentile into a Jew (Rom2:28-29 - this was and is especially hard for many to bear!); that theentire law of Moses, including the ten commandments (2Co 3:6-7) wasto be replaced by a new covenant written on fleshy tables of the heart(which was and is perhaps the hardest truth of all for both physicaland spiritual Jews to accept). Tables of stone have no glory ofthemselves.
What was written on those tables of stone was what made Moses' faceshine. "That which was made glorious (the ten commandments written andengraven in stones - Exo 31:18 and Deu 9:10) "HAVE NO GLORY in thisrespect, by the reason of the glory that excelleth (the NewCovenant)..."the epistle of Christ... written... in fleshy tables oftheheart"(2Co 3:3 and 7).
Now there is something else Christ had to reveal that could not havebeen bourn at that time (Joh 16:12). Once again, His instrument forthis revelation is the apostle Paul "...to avoid fornication let everyman have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" (1Co 7:1). "Defraud ye not one another, [don'twithhold sexualrelations from each other] except it be by consent for a timethat youmay give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and come together again,that Satan tempt ye not for your incontinency" (1Co 7:5). "For Iwould that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his propergift of God, one after this manner [celibacy],and another after that(vs. 7). What Paul is saying is that God has not gifted some men tolive without a wife. Such men need a wife "to avoid fornication", andbeing "tempted of Satan".
This is certainly not the tone of the "sermon on the mount":, therevelation of the new covenant in Matthew 5. In that chapter, ourSavior is setting forth the ideals of the new covenant. This was notthe time or place for the revelation of the "abolishing of the law ofcommandments contained in ordinances" (Eph 2:15). The sermon on themount was not the time to reveal that "Israel according to the flesh"(Rom 9:3 and Eph 2:11,19) was to be "broken off" (Rom 11:11,19) andreplaced by the true "Israel of God" which has nothing to do withphysical descent (Gal 6:15,16; Rom 9:6-8, Gal 3:28,29). Indeed therewere "many things they could not bear then" (Joh 16:12). That Godwould call the Gentiles at all was more than the disciples could bearat the time of Matthew 5.
But Paul's Corinthian epistle is addressed to Gentiles. Not onlythat, but these Gentiles were "carnal babes in Christ" (1Co 3:1-3).Former "fornicators..., thieves... and drunkards" (1Co 6:9-11).They, aswe all do, were even then struggling against the flesh (Gal 5:17).
So this is the time and place to reveal even more of the differencesbetween the two covenants, the old (of the letter, law of Moses) andthe new (written only in 'fleshy tables of the heart' 2Co 3:3).
Our Maker knows better than we, that maturity is a process. "If youCONTINUE in my word, then are you my disciples indeed, and you shallknow the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Joh 8:31,21).There are far more "disciples" than there are "disciples indeed". TheCorinthians were, being "carnal babes", merely "disciples". But theinspired word of God is for us all regardless of our degree of maturityin Christ.
Paul did not say "To please God let every man have his own wife". Hedid not say "come together again because you love your mate". It was"come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency"and "to avoid fornication let every man have his own wife and everywoman have her own husband".
Why did Paul put it this way? "For [because]I would that all menwere even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, oneafter this manner [the ability to live a celibatelife], and anotherafter that" (needing a mate "to avoid fornication" and "that Satantempt you not for your incontinency" (1Co 7:5).
Continuing this thought: "I say therefore [withthe understandinglaid down in verse 7] to the unmarried (agamos #22) andwidows,it is good for them if they abide even as I" (1Co 7:8).
Paul did not say "I say therefore to virgins and widows..." He said"unmarried". Does unmarried mean virgin?
This word 'unmarried' appears in only four verses in the NewTestament, and they are all right here in 1Co 7. The first is verse8 which we've just quoted. The next is verse 11: (starting in verse 10)"And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, let not thewife depart from her husband (Mar 10:12) - Christians do not seek anexcuse to dissolve "that which God hath joined together"): (vs 11) butand if she depart, let her remain unmarried..." (agamos #22).Thisis obviously not talking about a virgin.
So what is Paul saying here? Does this verse forbid divorce andremarriage? In verse one, Paul says "Now concerning the things whereofyou wrote unto me...". It is obvious from the context of this chapter,that "the things whereof ye wrote unto me" concerned relationshipsbetween married couples. Verses 1-11 appear to be addressed tobelieving couples while verses 12-15 are addressed to couples in whichone spouse is not a believer. This being the case then, the answer toour question is yes, divorce and remarriage is not even a considerationfor truly believing couples. Why would anyone truly attempting toplease their Maker and their mate want a divorce? Of course, believershave problems, too, but the advice for true believers is not "a brotheror sister is not under bondage in such cases" but is instead "...if she(or he) depart, let her (or him) remain unmarried (agamos) or bereconciled to her husband (or his wife); and let not the husband (orwife) put away his wife (or her husband -1Co 7:11). Notice thechange of subject in verse 12: "But to the rest", that is, those withunbelieving spouses.
Let's now go to the next verse containing this word "agamos",verse 32: "But I would have you without carefulness. He that isunmarried (agamos #22) cares for the things that belong to theLord, how he may please the Lord:" There is nothing in this verse thattells us whether the unmarried is a virgin or a divorcee.
The last verse we have to consider is verse 34: "There is adifference between a wife and virgin." [Thatstatement clarifies verse27: "are you loosed from a wife"] The unmarried woman [agamos#22, the 'virgin'] careth for the things of the Lord, that shemay beholy in body and in spirit: but she that is married (the wife asopposed to the virgin) careth for the things of the world, how she mayplease her husband."
What can we conclude from these four verses? Verses 10 and 11 do notmake it clear whether "agamos" includes divorcees ("if the wifedeparts, let her remain agamos") and verse 34, while it onlymakes it clear that agamos includes virgins, yet it also makesthe "are you loosed from a wife" of verse 27 appear to be clearly adivorced man who had married a woman instead of a man who never had awife.
To be on the safe side though, let's consider this word 'loosed' inverse 27: "Art you bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed (lusis#3080 from 3089). Art you loosed (luo #3089) from a wife (not avirgin, not a prostitute) seek not a wife."
This first 'loosed' is lusis #3080. It appears only here inthis verse. It is derived from the second 'loosed', luo whichappears in 40 verses in the New Testament. The following four versesare typical. We'll take one quote from each Gospel to illustrate:
It is obvious that 'luo' means to 'unloose' that which hadbeen joined together whether by a 'tie', a 'latchet', a 'stall' or'graveclothes'.
The man in verse 27 had been "loosed" from a "wife"..."are youloosedfrom a wife? seek not a wife." A Christian does not seek to leave hismate, and because of "the present distress", Paul's advice is to foregomarriage altogether. Now still speaking to the man who has been "loosedfrom a wife", notice verse 28: "BUT AND IF YOU MARRY, YOU HAVE NOTSINNED; and [besides the man who was loosed froma wife] if a virginmarry, she hath not sinned..." There would not be the contrasting 'and'if they were both virgins.
There is an 'exception clause'. There are scriptural grounds fordivorce and remarriage. There are however, NO scriptural grounds forpriests and ministers making decisions for fellow believers in thepainful situations some believers find themselves. To their "ownmasters they stand or fall".
This "but and if you" [a "loosed from a wife"- a divorced person]marry you have not sinned" is an application of the "exception clauseof Matthew 5 and Matthew 19? The fornication referred to by Christ inMatthew 5 is consistent with every other statement in the six different"you have heard it said by them of old time...", "but I say unto you"changes that Christ made here? ...Consistent in that every change wasfrom the physical to the spiritual sphere. ...Consistent in that in theOld Testament, of the 82 entries for the Hebrew word for fornication, zanah#2181, 57 entries are spiritual in their application? That's over twoto one condemning Israel for turning her back on God, turning to othergods and committing fornication (zanah) by putting anotherhusband in place of her true husband.
It was the unbelieving that departed. God had not sought a divorce,but "for all the causes where by backsliding Israel committed adultery,I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce" (Jer 3:8). Thelaw of Moses certainly allowed for God to remarry (Deu 24:1), butwith no regard for the law of Moses, much less Rabbis of Mishnah,Christ (in Mat 5 and 19) and Paul also provided for the injured partyto remarry. Whether some men want to acknowledge it or not, at leastthe word of God does: "For I would that all men were even as I myself[able to live a celibate life]. But everyman [and woman] has hisproper gift of God, one after this manner [celibacy]and another afterthat [someone who God has not equipped for such alife but on whom Hehas bestowed a different gift]."
Indeed God and anyone with the mind of Christ "hates putting away"but provision is made for a believer whose unbelieving mate decides toleave: "A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases" (1Co 7:15).
As we have pointed out, verses one through eleven of this chapterare addressed to couples who both are believers: "And unto the[believing] married I command yet not I,but the Lord [only believingcouples would care about a command from the Lord] let not thewifedepart from her husband. But and if she depart, let her [a believingwife married to a believing husband] remain unmarried, or bereconciledto her [believing] husband: and let notthe husband put away his wife."
"Yet not I but the Lord" shows that Paul was aware of what Christhad said in Mat 5:31, 32 and 19:4-12. Paul is not going to teachcontrary to his teacher.
Paul obviously saw the spiritual change of "Thou shalt not kill" and"Thou shalt not commit adultery". He also understood the spiritualapplication of "except it be for fornication" (Greek porneia,Hebrew- zanah).
As pointed out above, of 82 entries for this Hebrew word, over twothirds of the entries (57 to be exact) are used for the nation ofIsrael turning her back on God committing spiritual fornication (zanah).According to this apostle, a believer is not to put away hisunbelieving mate so long as the mate "be pleased" to dwell with him" (1Co 7:12).
"But if the unbelieving depart, [notice it isalways the unbelieverwho departs] let him [or her]depart. A brother or sister is not underbondage in such cases: but God has called us to peace" (1Co 7:15),not to beatinds, abuse and living in fear of our lives. It is theabuser who has 'left' the relationship, not the abused.
No doubt, there are situations in which both mates feel the other isthe "unbelieving". God alone can be the judge of some of the situationsfound within the body of Christ. God's word simply gives to us all,what God's mind is in these matters.
Nowhere in scripture is there a single example of any minister orfellow Christian enforcing these words upon others. Quite to thecontrary, Paul says; "Not for that we have dominion over your faith,but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand" (2Co 1:24).
Let us follow Paul's example, and never try to exercise dominionover the faith of a brother; "ye ought rather to forgive him andcomfort him lest such an one be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow" (2Co 2:7). This, it is believed, is referring to the fornicator who wasliving with "his father's wife" (1Co 5:1). We should indeed separateourselves from such overt fornication and idolatry. But let us not makejudgments on relationships of which we have no intimate knowledge.
Instead, let us love and pray for those who are involved in suchpainful struggles.
Let's go on now to our next "change of the law". "Again you haveheard it said by them of old time [God throughMoses - Lev 19:12],Thou shalt not forswear [Strong's #1964 epiorkeo- commitperjury] thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:But Isay unto you, Swear not at all; ...but let your communication be yea,yea;nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Mat 5:34, 37).
Is anyone who knows the law of Moses ("For I speak to them that knowthe law" - Rom 7:1) going to argue that Christ is not really changinganything here; the law was really spiritual all along; men had simplybeen unaware of that or had lost the spirit of the law and all Christcame to do was to restore the law to its original glorious position ithad lost through the traditions of the elders?
No, this is not the case. Christ is indeed "changing the law" (Heb7:12) not just the "law of the priesthood" a phrase not found inscripture. Just what did the law say about swearing or making oaths?"Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear byhis name" (Deu 6:13) "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shaltthou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name" (Deu10:20).
Does that in any way agree with "swear not at all"? Of course not.Christ is demonstrating that He, like Moses before him, is makingdrastic changes in the law. Yet most refuse to believe that because theten commandments are part (the heart) of the old covenant. They refuseto apply the words of Paul "abolished", "done away", "disannulled","vanishing away", and "nailed to the cross" to the ten commandments.
Why should we not swear at all? Because swearing has no place withus in the kingdom of God. Most have at best a very foggy notion aboutwhat constitutes the kingdom of God. Jesus Christ came with the kingdomof God IN Him. The kingdom IS the gospel (Mat 4:23). This samekingdom must be IN us (Luk 17:21). Before the manifested sons of Godcan bring the kingdom to all creation (Rom 8:18-23), it must first beestablished WITHIN. We enter INTO the kingdom of God, just as God (andHis kingdom) enters into us. But Jesus said that unless our"righteousness" should "exceed the righteousness of the scribes andPharisees", we will NOT enter into the kingdom (Mat 5:20).
Many scribes and Pharisees kept the ten commandments but will not bein the kingdom of God. Saul (Paul) was a Pharisee who "...touchingrighteousness which is of the law, BLAMELESS" (Php 3:7), yet Saul wasunfit for the kingdom. Likewise, the young rich man who came to Jesusseeking salvation into the kingdom was denied even though he kept allof the commandments from his youth. Why? What did he lack? He lacked"perfection".
Jesus said to him: "If you will be PERFECT... sell... give to thepoor... follow me" (Mat 19:16-26). Keeping all the old covenant andtencommandments is not good enough to enter the kingdom of God. Our Lord'snew teaching is that we must be "perfect" (Greek: teleios,complete, mature).
But here is the problem. The Mosaic law and law-keeping "perfected[matured] NOTHING" (Heb 7:19)! And theLevitical priests and all theirsacrifices perfected nothing. Likewise, swearing by God's name orswearing an oath in the name of God did not make their word any morehonest nor did it add one cubit of stature to their carnal character.
So we are not to swear at all anymore. Peter swore and cursed withan oath to his own dismal chagrin (Mat 26:69-75), for which herepented bitterly. Swearing by "our head" (our name and character) or"for heaven's sake" or "for land's sake" or "by h-o-l-y Jerusalem" oron "a Bible" or on a "stack of Bibles" will not add one cubit of truthto our statements. But should GOD swear an oath, it is eternally true.It is by an OATH that Jesus Christ is now our High Priest after theorder of Melchisedec of a "BETTER covenant" (Heb 7:21-22), the IS"PERFECT" (vs 19), that will "NEVER CHANGE" (vs 24), that "SAVESto the uttermost" (vs 25), and all this is by an oath from the wordof God (vs 21 and 28).
Now that Jesus has taught us this new truth regarding swearingoaths, it now "...is of EVIL" if we continue to keep the old letter ofthe law.
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and atooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: butwhosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the otheralso. And if any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat, lethim have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile,go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him thatwould borrow of thee turn not thou away" (Mat 5:38-42). This writerhad an interesting experience involving Mat 5:42 which will serve todemonstrate what is meant by "not of the letter, but of the spirit" (2Co 3:6).
A minister in his late 70's was holding a Bible Conference with"Salvation by Grace Alone" as the theme of the conference. Havingattended several similar conferences in the previous few years, it began todawn on me that what these people meant by "grace alone" was that therewas no place at all in the new covenant for "good works". The emphasisseemed to be more "revel in your liberty" than "showing yourself apattern of good works" (Tit 2:7). I have yet to hear a sermon atthese conferences with the title of "show yourself a pattern of goodworks".
This group would have more likely turned grace into lasciviousnessthan try to 'earn' their own salvation, both of which are distortionsof biblical truth.
"I don't want to hear one word about works in this conference" werethe opening words of our host. I had traveled many miles for theexpress purpose of discussing the place and function of works in thenew covenant, so I simply waited til the first break and asked what thesermon on the mount was all about, if there was no place for works inthe new covenant.
"So you think the words of Christ are for us?", I was asked.
"Well, I certainly do", I replied.
"Then give me all the money you have on you", he demanded. "Christsaid 'give to him that asks of you', and I'm asking for all of yourmoney. You say you think the words of Christ are for you, so give meall your money."
I must confess this caught me a bit off guard. "I'm also told toprovide for my own household, and I have to get back home, so I can'tdo that."
"See, you don't really believe the words of Christ are for you oryou would give me what I asked for," he said.
Having had time to reflect on this experience, the meaning of thephrase "of the spirit, not of the letter" has begun to sink more deeplyinto my heart and mind.
Here was an elderly minister, highly respected by his congregationand many of his fellow ministers, and yet with all of his years ofministry, he was taking the words of our Lord in the sermon on themount, revealing for the first time a secret concerning the spiritualnew covenant, and turning that very spiritual revelation into merecold, written, legal words to be adhered to without one ounce ofspiritual discernment.
Yes, even the New Covenant can, by the wiles of theAdversary, be perverted into mere letters which would have a personshowing anything but love.
I was probably made to look foolish to those who were near, butfortunately for us all "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom14:23). So a loving Father looked down on us all and judged us all asHe saw fit, according to our faith and the integrity of our hearts.
For me to have given him my traveling expenses simply becauseChrist, in His revelation of a new spiritual covenant, had stated,"Give to him that asks of you" without consideration for the effect ofdoing so, would have been tantamount to breaking the spirit of the lawof love.
Christ's main purpose for making that statement was to draw acontrast between the carnal law God gave Moses; "an eye for an eye anda tooth for a tooth" and the new spiritual law He was giving throughChrist; "resist not evil..." Find that anywhere in the old covenant lawof Moses! For that matter, find a Christian today who believes that NOTresisting evil is good advice. Whether or not most Christians ever seeit, the truth is "the law [of Moses] isnot for a righteous man, butfor the lawless and disobedient..." (1Ti 1:9).
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you" (Mat 5:43, 44).
Once again, the law of the new covenant reverses the law of the old.Once again, while being liberated from tedious rituals, the burden ofthe spirit is impossible for flesh alone to receive. Who among us,without the empowering spirit of God, can love their enemy, do good tothem that hate them and pray for them which despitefully use them andpersecute them?
Whenever we avoid scriptural terms like "abolished", "done away","disannulled", "vanish away", "nailed to the cross", etc., we havetaken the first step away from "a form of sound words which thou hastheard of me" (God through Paul - 2Ti 1:13). There is a reason whythe adversary doesn't want God's people to see the truth of theabolishment (#2673 Greek-katargeo - 2Co 3:13) or the doingaway (#2673 katargeo) of that which was made glorious (the tencommandments). The reason is "for if that which is done away (katargeo)was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (2Co 3:10and 11).
So long as the adversary can keep our eyes on the old covenant, wewill never fully see the glory of the new: "Even unto this day, whenMoses is read, the veil is upon their heart" (2Co 3:15). How truethis is of all those who want to retain parts, of their own choosing,of the old covenant.
Moses was a mere type of Christ (Deu 18:15). The law of Moses isbut a shadow of the spiritual law of God (Heb 10:1). Types and shadowsserve a necessary purpose, but are completely incapable of revealingthe fullness of the body of Christ to whom we are to be conformed.
Of just what will clinging to the letter rob us? Let's list a few ofthose godly thoughts:
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many [physical Israelites]; but as of ONE, and to thy seed WHICH IS CHRIST... If ye be in Christ, then [and only then] are ye... heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:16 and 29).
As long as our eyes are on the old covenant, we will never see whattrue circumcision is, what a true Jew is (Rom 2:28, 29). We will,like Esau, fail to see our birthright as rulers and judges of "this world" (1Co 6:2). We will givethis birthright, as mostChristians do, to "Israel... according to the flesh..." (Rom 9:3 and4)who are called "Agar... answering to Jerusalem which now is, and is inbondage with her children" (Gal 4:25). So we have the seeminglyimpossible situation of those who claim to be Christ's representativeson earth, the leaders in Christendom, standing as the staunchestsupporters of "the son of the bondwoman". ("Hagar... Jerusalem that nowis" who rejects Christ.)
"Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman andher son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son ofthe freewoman. So then, brethren, we (those in Christ - Gal 3:29 -"heirs according to the promise") are not the children of the bondwoman(Jerusalem that now is - Gal 4:25), but of the free" (Gal 4:30-31)."The free" are the "Israel of God" of Gal 6:16 "And as many as walkaccording to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon theIsrael of God."
In Gal 5:1, Paul opens our eyes to the bondage of the old covenantas opposed to the liberty of the new. If you doubt that this is hispoint read verse 2: "Behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye becircumcised [live by the old covenant, the letterof the law] Christshall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that iscircumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal 5:3).
Once again, yes indeed, Christ "magnified the law and made ithonorable" (Isa 42:21), but we do not pick and choose for ourselveswhat part of the old covenant is to be retained because the "law ofMoses" which is the law of God for carnal Israel (Heb 7:16), is"abolished" (katargeo #2673 - 2Co 3:13).
Not just circumcision, not just the laws on divorce and remarriage,not just the laws regarding oaths and vows, but "the law" has beenabolished. "He is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal 5:3).
To make the law "honorable" (Isa 41:21), required the giving of thespirit which could not be done until after Christ had died and beenresurrected: "...I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that Igoaway: for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; butif I depart, I will send him unto you" (Joh 16:7) with "newness ofspirit" (Rom 7:6). Receiving God's Spirit (see article on Trinity) has everything to do withunderstanding the "things of the spirit" which "the natural manreceiveth not: (1Co 2:16). With the Spirit, we have the mind ofChrist.
Yes, it is true, the words of the Holy Spirit are "turned... intolasciviousness" (Jud 4) every day, but that should never be used as anexcuse to try to "help God to keep this from happening by avoidingcertain words and phrases He has chosen to use to tell us that the oldcovenant, all of it, is "abolished" and has been replaced with an"honorable law" (Isa 42:21), a spiritual law (Rom 7:6).
The new "spiritual law" of Rom 7:14 is not the "carnal commandment"of Heb 7:16, but the "spirit" of Rom 7:6: "But now we are deliveredfrom the law [of Moses given by God for carnalIsrael], that being deadwherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, andnot in the oldness of letter" (as in Matthew 5 and all the epistles ofPaul and the other apostles.
Let's take the time here to contrast this statement of scripture(Rom 7:6) with some prevailing teachings concerning the Old Covenantlaw.
This writer is certainly casting no aspersions on the character orintentions of those whom he is quoting. It was only 'yesterday' thatthese were my own convictions. They do not conform to scripture,however, which is our only criteria for truth. Notice what one writerhas to say regarding the old covenant:
"The fault with the old covenant was not the terms, [He means the law, the Torah] but the fault was that the people did not keep their promise of obedience to the terms, of keeping Yahweh's law, the ten commandments. To shore up this weakness in the people, Yahweh is going to establish a new covenant with them: 'This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their El, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, Know Yahweh, for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." (Heb 8:10-12 RSV)
Notice, instead of writing His laws on tablets of stone, He will putthem in their minds and hearts. ...The terms on the part of the peoplehaven't been changed, they still must obey His law, the tencommandments, but He, by putting them into their hearts and minds hasmade it possible to do so. ...Now we have the spirit of the law." [TheCovenants, The Law and Grace by Henry Anderson, pp 9 and 11.]
Is this really why God wants to give us His spirit? So we can "bythat spirit... keep the letter of the law"?
What does the above writer think Paul meant when he said "not of theletter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spiritgiveth life" (2Co 3:6)?
If "the letter killeth" why would the spirit help us to keep it?
These are completely separate and incompatible covenants. We, inChrist, are in a "new covenant". Contrary to the prevalent teaching onthis subject, we are not keeping the "spirit of the letter" or the"spirit of the old covenant which had been lost in the traditions ofthe elders". The 'spirit of the letter' is like saying the 'thespiritual carnal mind'. The new covenant is "not in oldness of theletter" (Rom 7:6) and the "oldness of the letter" had no spirit tolose. "The law [of Moses] is not made fora righteous man, but for thelawless and disobedient..." (1Ti 1:9).
If one is keeping the letter of the law, he is a "debtor to do thewhole law" (Gal 5:3); not just the Sabbath and holy days, not just theclean and unclean meat laws, not just the "immutable moral law", but"the whole law". The "old covenant" is "waxing old" and is "decaying"and is "ready to vanish away" (Heb 8:13). Once again we ask, what isthe old covenant? Once again, we answer "he declared unto you hiscovenant... even ten commandments; ...upon two tables of stone" (Deu4:13).
"The spirit of the letter" is not a pattern of sound words becauseit is not in the scriptures. It will mislead you, and you will end upattempting to retain the letter to some degree. "Not of the letter, butof the spirit (2Co 3:6) "...in newness of spirit and NOT in oldnessof the letter" (Rom 7:6) and "in the spirit, and NOT in the letter"(Rom 2:29). These verses are a pattern of sound words which if usedand adhered to will deliver us from many erroneous teachings.
Apparently the above expositor believes '"Now since we have thespirit of the law living in us and by that spirit, we keep the letter".To him "not of the letter" doesn't really mean "NOT of the letter"; butrather 'one can't keep the letter without the spirit, and one can'tkeep the spirit without the letter.' This is scriptural nonsense.
Again I ask, is that really why we were given the spirit? So wecould keep the letter? Were Christ and His disciples simply lacking thespirit when they deliberately broke the letter concerning the Sabbath(Joh 5:18)? Was Jesus lacking the spirit when He healed the impotentman and told him to take up his bed and walk, contrary to the letter ofthe law?
The scripture 2Co 5:17 doesn't say "...old things [the oldcovenant] have not passed away; behold nothing has become new"or "wecan now keep the letter because we have the spirit"
Decades after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, Paul said, "Whohath made us able ministers of the NEW COVENANT; NOT OF THE LETTER, butof the SPIRIT: For the letter [the old covenantof ten commandments,Deu 4:13] KILLETH, but the spirit giveth LIFE" (2Co 3:6)!NoticeMat 5:17: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or thePROPHETS; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Why do we fail tocall attention in this verse to the word "prophets"? Jesus came to"fulfill the prophets". All of the Old Testament prophesies concerningHis humble, death-doomed first coming have been fulfilled. And just assurely, there are no more Old Testament covenant laws remaining to befulfilled ("OLD things are PASSED AWAY" - 2Co 5:17).
We now have New Testament prophesies concerning His second coming inpower and glory. And we have a New Testament law of the SPIRIT("...behold, all things are become NEW" - 2Co 5:17). Never againwillour Lord ride into an OLD Jerusalem on a donkey. Never again will menspit into His face. Never again will they mercilessly beat Him. Neveragain will they drive nails through His body or pierce Him in the sidewith a spear. Our Lord drank the last dregs for the last time. And justas surely as Jesus Christ "fulfilled' all the prophecies concerningHim, He ALSO "fulfilled" the LAW! He filled them FULL! Nothing of themremains to be fulfilled - "IT IS FINISHED" (Joh 19:30)!
2Co 3:6: "Who [Christ Jesus] alsohath made us able ministers ofthe NEW testament [covenant]; NOT OF THELETTER [engraved on tablets ofstone], but of the SPIRIT; for the letter KILLETH, but theSPIRITGIVETH LIFE." "...the words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, andthey are LIFE" (John 6:63). "I am come that they might have LIFE..."(Joh 10:10). "I am the Way and the Truth and the LIFE" (Joh 14:6).
Heb 8:10: "...Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I willmakea NEW covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:NOT according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the daywhen I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt...ForTHIS is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel afterthose days, saith the Lord; I will put MY LAWS into their mind, andwrite them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shallbe to me a people." Clearly it is NEW and NOT according to the old. OurLord did NOT say: "...I will make a REVISED covenant with the house ofIsrael and with the house of Judah; somewhat MODIFIED to the covenantthat I made with their fathers..." So why would anyone teach such anunscriptural theology?
"Who hath made us able ministers of the NEW testament [covenant];not of the letter, but of the SPIRIT: for the letter killeth, but theSPIRIT GIVETH LIFE." This is a "GLORIOUS" covenant (vs 8), a"ministration of RIGHTEOUSNESS" (vs 9), "Now the Lord is thatSPIRIT: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY" (vs17). Notice our "glorious liberty, righteousness and life, in theSPIRIT"? Where do we find such things in the Ten Commandments? The Oldwas "DO in the letter or DIE"! The New is "BE in Christ and LIVE"!!
Oh yes, God does indeed have a law, but until we see the vastdifference between the old and new covenants, we will be unaware of whowe are in Christ, and unaware of the opposition (NOT the compatibility)of the letter to the spirit. "...That which was done away WAS [pasttense] glorious..." but "...That which was made glorious had NOglory inthis respect, by reason of that which excelleth". That which excels is"not of the letter", but "of the spirit" (2Co 3:6,10,11).
Mr. Anderson would do well to notice all the "changes of the terms"made in Matthew 5. He would also benefit greatly from realizing that"his law" for ancient Israel was not just the ten commandments, butthat "...every man that is circumcised... is a debtor to do the wholelaw"(Gal 5:3).
"The terms on the part of the people HAVE changed; they must nowobey "the law of God after the inward man" (Rom 7:22) also called the"law of the Spirit" (Rom 8:2). These were not even available at thetime of Exo 20 and Deu 5). These changes are revealed in Matthew 5.They are not the letter of the ten commandments. What Christ introducedfor the first time was a "magnified... honorable" (Isa 41:21) and"spiritual" (Rom 8:2) "new commandment" (Joh 13:34). When we refuseto see the point Christ made by deliberately breaking the letter of thelaw, we rob ourselves of spiritual vision and spiritual hearing. We arespiritually unaware of "that which remaineth". We think we know what"remaineth", yet we cannot cope with the teachings of Paul.
Few Christians would agree with this heading. Yet, it is scriptural(Rom 2:27 and 29); the "letter... dost transgress the law" (vs 27).Ourobedience is to be "in the spirit and NOT IN THE LETTER!" (vs 29)
Failure to follow Paul's words (words given by the Holy Spirit) onthis issue will leave us confused when we read "having abolished in hisflesh... the law of commandments contained in ordinances..." (Eph2:15);"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, whichwas contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to hiscross" (Col 2:14).
Much of the confusion on the subject of the law stems from anegregious, deplorable error in the thinking of most Christians. Thislie is perpetuated by most ministers, including the late RichardCardinal Cushing. Cushing was an ardent ecumenical leader. In thatrole, he wrote an introduction to a book entitled To Understand Jews byStewart E. Rosenberg. In this introduction, Cushing makes thisstatement: "It is a well-known fact of history that Jesus was anobservant Jew." If Christ were an "observing Jew":
Six times he changes the law in this one chapter. He concludes hiscareer telling his disciples "I have many [more]things to say untoyou, but ye cannot bear them now" (Joh 16:12).
This was an "observant Jew"? The Jewish leaders of Christ's daycertainly didn't think so. Undeniably they were hypocrites, anddefinitely Christ exposed that, but that was nothing in comparison tothe reforms Christ introduces in Matthew 5. Here is what Christ trulybelieved that cost him his life. Here is what was despised by thereligious leaders of that day as it is despised by the ecumenicalleaders of today: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comethunto the Father but by me" (Joh 14:6). "I am the door of the sheep"(Joh 10:7). "He that entereth not by the door but climbeth up someother way, the same is a thief and a robber" (Joh 10:1).
Christ was no doubt reared observing all the Jewish laws andtraditions. At the age of twelve, he submitted himself to his parents(Luk 2:51), but his ministry was anything BUT that of an "observantJew". No, Christ was not an observing Jew! Christ was a Christian! Hiswas a "new commandment" (Joh 13:34) in every sense of the word. The"love" spoken of here in Joh 13:34 is not the love of the tencommandments of Exo 20, but rather the love of the new commandment,the love expounded by Jesus in Mat 5.
As is so often the case, the Adversary allows us to choose betweentwo evils:
The following is a fairly good summation of this school of thought:
"The civil laws were given to a particular people, at a particulartime, and for a particular purpose. Many of them are still valid today,but changing circumstances have of necessity made a change in theapplication of some of those laws.
The idea extant today among religionists that Yahweh's immutable,eternal moral law has somehow been disabled, done away, repudiated asbad, or otherwise tampered with to negate it, is ridiculous at best andfatal at worst, unless repented of. Generally, those who teach that thelaw is "done away", claim that the Ten Commandments were "nailed to thecross". And then nine of the ten were brought back, they say, leavingout that old "legalistic" fourth commandment, about the 7th daySabbath... the Ten commandments and the rest of the moral law areeternaland will never pass away. They are part and parcel with Yahweh's verynature and character. He would have to change in order for His law tochange." (A Question About the Law, by Frank Brown, pp. 3 and 4)"
Let's ask Mr. Brown (as representing this school of thought) a fewquestions.
Obviously "the law" (not the civil law, not the "eternal" tencommandments, but "the law"; the WHOLE LAW) and "the old covenant" (notany particular part of the old covenant, the WHOLE OLD COVENANT) is"abolished", "done away", "disannulled", "waxing old", "vanishingaway", "nailed to the cross", etc., etc. These are the words andphrases selected by the Holy Spirit to make a point completely missedby the "turning grace into lasciviousness (Jud 4) crowd and the "It isneedful to command them to keep the law" (Act 15:15) crowd.
The point is that "a NEW [Yes, it is NEW]commandment I give untoyou; that... as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
It has been said that "the first four commandments teach us to loveGod, and the last six commandments teach us to love our brother." Isthat what Christ meant when he said "a new commandment I give unto you;as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (Joh 13:34)?
If the ten commandments express the love of Christ, why does he callhis saying "a new commandment"?
Matthew 5 demonstrates that the ten commandments and the law ofMoses do not express the love of Christ. Matthew 5 truly is "a newcommandment." It is a commandment that is "of the spirit and NOT of theletter." The ten commandments, on the other hand, are "for the lawlessand disobedient" (1Ti 1:8-9). "Whosoever shall break one of THESE[Christ's] least commandments ...shall becalled least in the kingdom ofheaven... (Mat 5:19)
It is of utmost significance that Christ did not say "by this shallall men know that you are my disciples, if you keep the tencommandments". Because according to scripture, they could have "doneall these from their youth up" and still have been lacking that whichwill give us eternal life (Mat 19:20).
And what was it the rich young man lacked? It was the "newcommandment", not the ten. It was the law of love, the "new covenant"that "fulfilled" and "excelled in glory" (Rom 13:9, 10; 2Co3:10), it was "Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). It waslacking these attributes that made him unwilling to "sell that hehad... and follow" Christ (Mat 19:21).
We are given two unquestionable examples of the "doing away", the"abolishing" of "the law" given by God to Moses. We are also shown howit is replaced by the "newness of spirit" of Rom 7:6; the newspiritual law of love. When Paul says "the law is spiritual" in Rom7:14, he is referring back to verse five where he reveals the "newnessof spirit".
"At that time, Jesus went on the Sabbath day through thecorn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the earsof corn, and to eat" (Mat 12:1).
What Christ and the disciples were doing here was not in oppositionto "added on traditions of the elders". These actions, gathering foodon the Sabbath, were in direct opposition to the principle the Lord hadlaid down in Exo 16. In verse 4 "...the Lord [said]unto Moses, Behold, Iwill rain bread from heaven... on the sixth day they shall prepare thatwhich they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gatherdaily" (Exo 16:4 and 5). "See, for that the Lord hath given you theSabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of twodays; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his placeon the seventh day" (Exo 16:29).
They were told to prepare for the Sabbath by gathering twice as muchmanna on the sixth day. The same was true for gathering sticks for afire "And they that found him gathering sticks [onthe Sabbath] broughthim unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation... And the Lordsaid unto Moses, the man shall be surely put to death:... And all thecongregation ...stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lordcommanded Moses" (Num 15:33, 35, 36).
Obviously, gathering food or sticks on the Sabbath was not to betolerated under the Old Covenant.
When the Pharisee demanded an explanation of Christ for doing "thatwhich is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day..." (Mat 12:2), Christagreed with them pointing to David who had also broken the law. "But hesaid unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was anhungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house ofGod, and did eat the shewbread, WHICH WAS NOT LAWFUL for him to eat,neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests" (Mat12:3,4).
Christ was not fleeing from Saul, yet he had not prepared for theSabbath on the sixth day as was clearly commanded in Exo 16:4, 5and Num 15:33-36.
Again Christ agreed with them, he and David had done that "which wasnot lawful for him...". Those who deny that Christ had broken theSabbathboth disagree with Christ who admits that like David he had done that"which was not lawful for him..." (Mat 12:4), and deny that the lawrequired one to prepare for the Sabbath on the sixth day at peril ofdeath. This, again, was clearly commanded in Num 5 and Exo 16.
In Joh 5:5-9, it is revealed to us that Christ healed a certain man"which had an infirmity thirty and eight years" (vs 5). "Jesus saithunto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk" (vs 8). "And on the sameday was the Sabbath" (vs 9). "The Jews therefore said unto him thatwas cured, It is the Sabbath day: it is not lawful for you to carryyour bed" (Joh 5:10).
Is this true? Was it unlawful for this man to carry his bed on theSabbath?
"Thus saith the Lord; take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden onthe Sabbath, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carryforth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye anywork, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers" (Jer17:21, 22). "...And some of my servants set I at the gates thatthere should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day" (Neh 13:19)."...the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thoushaltnot do any work..." (Exo 20:10).
Clearly, according to the law, the man should not have been carryinghis bed on the Sabbath.
"...Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to kill him,because he had done these things on the Sabbath day" (Joh 5:16).
Christ does not deny working on the Sabbath, thereby breaking it."But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I WORK. TheJews sought the more to kill him because he not only had BROKEN THESABBATH, but said also that God was his Father..." (vs 18).
Here we have it plainly stated; he "had broken the Sabbath". Thiswas not a matter of pointing out unscriptural "traditions of the eldersthat had been added to the law". Certainly that had been done, but onceagain that is not the case here with Christ. The apostle John underinspiration of the Holy Spirit, states clearly "he had broken theSabbath". "Supposed" or Deliberate?
There are those who assert that what is actually meant here is "theysupposed he had broken the Sabbath". These people say the same thingabout Christ and his disciples deliberately failing to prepare for theSabbath, and instead picking and eating corn on the Sabbath.
Should this really read "they supposed he had broken the Sabbath"?It is worth noting that in at least one case where some had made afalse assumption about our Lord, the Holy Spirit was quick to point itout. "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being(as was supposed) the son of Joseph..." (Luk 3:23).
Christ, as we know, was born of Mary, but not of Joseph, and theHoly Spirit corrects this false assumption concerning Christ. But thereis no such correction here in John 5. Instead, it is plainly statedthat Christ broke the Sabbath and claimed to be God's son, both ofwhich were true.
Christ could easily have healed this man on the Sabbath withoutinstructing him to "take up his bed and walk". The only question is whydid he eat corn from the field on the Sabbath, and why instruct a manto carry his bed, both in direct violation of clearly stated oldcovenant laws? Christ's answer: "My Father works hitherto and I work"(Joh 5:17). Christ's Father never tires although He sustains theuniverse twenty-four hours a day, SEVEN days a week.
Christ and his disciples were under no duress from the king. Christwas not a priest or even a Levite, yet He justified Himself and Hisdisciples for working on the Sabbath.
In Mark's account of Christ and His disciples' flagrant violation ofthe laws commanding Israel to prepare for Sabbath meals on the sixthday, we read "And He [Christ] said untothem: the Sabbath was made forman and not man for the Sabbath."
This is certainly not the message gleaned from reading God's rebukeof those who gathered manna on the Sabbath, or the stoning to death ofthe man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath the equivalent of Christ andhis disciples gathering corn. Christ's whole point in gathering corn onthe Sabbath was "Therefore the son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath"(Mar 2:27 and 28).
Matthew's account of this same event concludes with these words fromour Lord: "But if you had known what this meaneth, I will have mercyand not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the GUILTLESS. For theSon of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day" (Mat 12:7, 8).Christ had just admitted that He, like David, had done that "which wasnot lawful for him" (Mat 12:4).
John states clearly that Christ "had broken the Sabbath: (Joh 5:18)yet Christ rightly claims to be "guiltless".
It is very instructive to note that in Mark's gospel, the narrativeof Christ and his disciples' violation of the Sabbath preparation lawsimmediately follow this statement of Christ: "No man seweth a piece ofnew cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it uptaketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse, And no manputteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine doth burst thebottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: butnew wine must be put into new bottles" (Mar 2:21, 22).
The next verse (vs 23) begins Mark's account of Christ and hisdisciples flagrantly eating corn right out of the field on the Sabbathday.
Anyone who, in this context, cannot see that Sabbath keeping has nowbecome a new piece of cloth completely incompatible with the old letterof the law of ritualistically refraining from physical work, stillinsisting on "preparing for the Sabbath", has no idea what "newness ofspirit" means regarding the Sabbath. These people are attempting to putnew wine (the new covenant) in old bottles (the old covenant) and asChrist so aptly put it, the result is they spill and waste the gospelof the new covenant (the new wine) and destroy the significance andlessons of the types and shadows of the law and the old covenant (theold bottles).
How many seventh day Sabbath observers (who generally keep some orall of the holy days, which are also Sabbaths) know what the rootmeaning of the Hebrew word for Sabbath is? Many Christians followingthe lead of the Roman Catholic Church, observe the first day of theweek as the Sabbath, and refuse to work on Sunday. How many of thesepeople have any idea what this word means, or what the Sabbath and holydays, as given by Moses, foreshadow? Knowing this might help us keepthe new wine in new bottles and old wine in old bottles.
The very first mention of the seventh day is Gen 2:2. "And on theseventh day God ended his work which he had made; and rested on theseventh day from all his work which he had made". The Hebrew wordtranslated "rested" here is shabath (Strong's #7673). This wordappears 67 times in the Old Testament, but it is used only three timesin the book of Genesis. The first two are here in Gen 2, in verses twoand three. In both verses, it is translated "rested", "...and he restedon the seventh day", "...in it he had rested from all his work".
But no one in his right mind thinks God was so winded by Fridayafternoon that he needed a breather on Saturday.
I have declaredthe former things from the beginning: and they went forth out of mymouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass(Isa 48:3). For God, creation was simply a matter of "declaring...things" like "let there by light, dry land, fish, fowls, beasts, etc."and he did it "suddenly". So God certainly was not winded and in needof what we think of as "rest" from exertion and exhaustion
The very next appearance of this word gives us a clear view of itsreal meaning as God meant for it to be understood in Gen 2:2 and3 and in virtually every other place it appears. "While the earthremaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer andwinter, and day and night shall not cease" (Gen 8:22).
The word "cease" is shabath, the same word translated "rest"in Gen 2:2 and 3.
Now, let us look at a verse which reveals the spiritual significanceof the ritual of the weekly Sabbath and of all the Sabbaths. "Sevendays shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall putaway (Heb - shabath) leaven out of your houses..."(Exo 12:15).It doesn't take a seminary degree to know that leaven typifies sin.
As the writer of the book of Hebrews puts it: "There remaineththerefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his[Christ's] rest, he also hath ceased fromhis own works, as God didfrom his."
Those in Christ have ceased from their works, not one day in seven,but seven in seven, "as God did [cease]from his".
Yet this very verse is used by those devoid of spiritual vision topromulgate a ritual, a shadow of a spiritual reality in Christ; a"vanishing", "old", "decaying" "covenant" (Heb 8:13) which Christ wentto great lengths to demonstrate was not compatible with the newcovenant. The mixing of the two destroys both (Mat 9:16, 17;Mar 2:21, 22 and "the new agrees not with the old" - Luk 5:36and 37).
This statement was made to the disciples of John the Baptist and thedisciples of the Pharisees (Mat 9:14 and Mar 2:16 and 18). Thespirit of the Pharisees is to this day the champion of the old covenant(Mat 16:6 and 12) and John's ministry signaled the end of the oldcovenant (Mat 11:13 and Luk 16:16 and Joh 1:17). "...The newagreethnot with the old: (Luk 5:36). The old covenant is the letter of theten commandments: "...His covenant... even ten commandments... upon twotablesof stone" (Deu 3:14).
Some of the '"it is needful to... command them to keep the law"school'(Act 15:15), have noticed the truth in Christ's statement "...thepriests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless" (Mat12:5). The Sabbath is, of course, the busiest day of the week for aminister. This is his best opportunity to "command them to keep thelaw". So, without one word of scriptural backing, they assume for theirministers the priesthood. Therefore, in their minds, now the 'fact'that the ministers are priests, justifies their working on the Sabbath."...The priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless."
There is only one thing wrong with this bit of human reasoning. Ithas not one word of scriptural foundation.
To whom do the scriptures promise the priesthood? "Unto him thatloved US (all of us in Christ) and washed us from our sins in his ownblood. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; tohim be glory and dominion for ever and ever" (Rev 1:5, 6). Thissame promise is repeated to the same group in Rev 5:10 and 20:6.
It is those "in Christ" to whom "...all the promises of God IN HIMareyea and IN HIM amen..." (2Co 1:10).
Are ministers the only ones "in Him"? Of course not, and thepriesthood is not theirs alone, but for all of "us" because he"...lovedus, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. And hath made uskings and priests..." (Rev 1:5, 6).
Here is another exposition revealing the way many today feel aboutthe ten commandments and the law of Moses:
"There is the absurd notion among many of the mainstreamorganizations of Christianity that the law of God has beenabolished... There are many scriptures that confirm that the law isgoodand is to be obeyed... When Christ returns all of the bizarre argumentsagainst the law will come to an end." (Eschatology Journal; Vol. 3, No.2 pg. 2)
This same author, in a front page article of this same issueregarding the war on drugs, makes this statement:
"Making possession of a consumable item into a crime isquestionable lawmaking at best and legal malpractice at worst. Whenwill we learn that the prohibition on drugs cannot work any more thanthe old prohibition on alcohol?"
We might make the same observations about murder and adultery asChrist did in Matthew 5. And we might ask the same question about theentire old covenant (all ten commandments Deu 4:13).
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me"
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain"
"Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy"
"Honor thy father and mother"
"Thou shalt not kill"
"Thou shalt not commit adultery"
"Thou shalt not steal"
"Thou shalt not bear false witness" and
"Thou shalt not covet"
Were the sixth and seventh commands the only ones Christ changed inMat 5? They were the only ones mentioned there, "Ye have heard itsaid... thou shalt not kill... but I say unto you, that whosoever isangrywith his brother... shall be in danger of the judgment" (Mat 5:21,22). And "ye have heard it said by them of old time, thou shalt notcommit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a womanto lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart" (Mat 5:27, 28).
Since these are the only two commandments mentioned, are we toassume that these are the only two commandments in the old law thathave been annulled and replaced by the new law of the spirit?
Can we for example proclaim outwardly:
We, because of the spiritual blindness imparted to us by ourstubborn refusal to relinquish our ties to the outward letter of thelaw, cannot see that the reason Christ or we could "profane theSabbath: and yet be "blameless" is because Christ is our the spiritualSabbath: "There remaineth therefore a rest [Greek- sabbatismos- Strong's #4520] to the people of God" (Heb 4:9). Christreplacesoutward circumcision; Christ has replaced outward animal sacrifices forHe is our sacrifice; Christ has just as surely fulfilled and replacedoutward resting, outward ceasing from our works and outward Sabbathkeeping: "For we which have believed do enter into rest…he also hathceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb 4:3 and 10). Thisis now seven days in seven, not one day in seven.
And how do we enter into this rest? "For we which have believed [notwe which keep the outward Sabbath] do enter into rest…(Heb8:3). Yetwe cling instead to the type, the shadow, the symbol, the forerunner,the escort, the physical and thereby never truly enter into Christ'srest by ceasing from our own works.
Moses, the representative of the letter law, could not lead Israelinto the promised land. "For the law having a shadow of good things tocome, and not the very image of the things, can never with thosesacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comersthereunto perfect" (Heb 10:1). "The law and the prophets were untilJohn: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every manpresseth into it" (Luk 16:16). John represents the end of the law."The law (Moses through John the Baptist) was our schoolmaster to bringus unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Gal 3:24) (thefaith of the son of God - Gal 2:20).
This faith is "not of ourselves" (Eph 2:8). "But after that faithis come (Christ is come), we are no longer under a schoolmaster (thelaw)" (Gal 3:25). The "schoolmaster" is not the civil laws, thestatutes, the judgments or the animal sacrifices or circumcision, orany particular part of the law. It is "the law", the whole law.
Do you doubt this statement? "For as many as are of the works of thelaw are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is everyone thatcontinueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the lawto do them" (Gal 3:10). "For I testify again to every man that iscircumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal 5:3).
Paul says "I testify again..." This is referring back to his quoteinGal 3:10, which is from Deu 27:26 and Jer 11:3 "Cursed is everyonethat continueth not in ALL the things that are written in the book ofthe law to do them." Circumcision is only one of 613 laws ("all thethings that are written").
Jeremiah puts it like this: "...Cursed be the man that obeyeth notthewords of this covenant" (Jer 11:3).
What is the purpose of the weekly seventh day Sabbath, the new moonSabbath, the annual holy day Sabbaths, the land sabbaths, etc? Theirpurpose, as with circumcision and all the words of "this law" is topoint us to their ultimate fulfillment, to Christ, our Sabbath, ourPassover, our Days of Unleavened Bread, our Pentecost, our Day ofTrumpets, our Day of Atonement, our Feast of Tabernacles and our LastGreat Day. Christ is our Jubilee, He is the Tree of Life, the river ofLife, the cherubim on the vail of the temple, and every offering (yes,even the leper's dove and the scapegoat) in the Old Testament. "Who isthe image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for byHim were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth,visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, orprincipalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He isthe head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstbornfrom the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For itpleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell" (Col1:15-19). "IN HIM SHOULD ALL FULLNESS DWELL!" Christ is the center ofall scripture.
It does no violence to scripture at all to say that in him all isfulfilled. It was He Himself who said with His dying breath "It isfinished" (Joh 19:30). It is His blood (Rom 5:9), His faith (Eph2:8), that saves us. It is Him living His life in us through His faithin us (Gal 2:20) which empowers us to walk as He walked. "...One jotorone tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, til all be fulfilled"(Mat 5:18). There are many jots and tittles in the law, and inChrist, they have all, like circumcision, the Passover, the animalsacrifices, and "all things written in the book of the law..." (Gal3:10), been fulfilled: "For Christ, not Torah, is the end [Greek - telos,Strong's #5056-goal, conclusion, end product] of the law, forrighteousness to everyone that believeth" (Rom 10:4). Torah is "forthe lawless and disobedient" (1Ti 1:8-9).
I've spent so much time on this fourth commandment because, forthose Christians who are or have been involved in outward holy dayobservance, it is one of the most difficult parts of the letter of thelaw to understand as being fulfilled in Christ. Yet this is one of theclearest statements in scripture: "For we which have believed do enterinto rest..." (Heb 4:3). What exactly does that mean? Does it meanthatwe which have believed, observe the seventh day Sabbath? Not if Christis our example, and not if Hebrews is to be considered as worth ourconsideration. His is our circumcision (Rom 2:27-29). Do we thereforecontinue to circumcise? He is our sacrifice. Do we therefore continueto sacrifice?
What it does mean is "he that entered into his rest, he also hathceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb 4:10). "His ownworks" does not mean disobedience to the old covenant. It actuallymeant obedience to the old covenant, without acknowledging Christ. "Ourrighteousnesses are as filthy rags..." (Isa 64:6). It does not say"ourunrighteousnesses are as filthy rags". With this new view of ceasing"from his own works" in mind, Paul's statement "What shall we say then?That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, haveattained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith[once again we reiterate, this is the faith ofChrist - Gal 2:20]. ButIsrael, which followed after the law of righteousness [Israel had not"ceased from his own works"], hath not attained to the law ofrighteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but asit were by the works of the law..." (Rom 9:30-32). "For as many as areof the works of the law are under the curse: [whatcurse?] For it iswritten, cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which arewritten in the book of the law to do them" (Gal 3:10). Why is it acurse to be "of the works of the law"? Why did Israel not attain to thelaw of righteousness? "...For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; Asitis written, behold I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence:and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" (Rom 9:32-33)."Because they sought it not by faith" is a reference to "the faith ofChrist" (Gal 2:20). If you are an outward Sabbath keeper, or if youthink that your own personal faith saves you, you must be keeping theother 612 laws in Torah or this curse is pronounced on you. And if youthink you can keep all the law by adding Christ's faith to your faith,then you are putting new wine into old bottles and both will perish.
Alas, as Peter admitted, it is "a yoke upon the neck of thedisciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear" (Act15:10). We have always thought that Peter was referring to circumcisionalone, but the truth is, as Peter knew, "cursed is every one thatcontinueth not in All things which are written in the book of the lawto do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight ofGod, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law isnot of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them" (Gal3:10-12). One cannot "live in them" and in the law of faith laid downin Matthew 5, because it is impossible to love your enemy and hate himat the same time; because one cannot harmonize "except for fornication"and "if she find no delight in your eyes" One cannot keep the changesmade by Christ in Matthew 5 and keep the law of Moses at the same time.One cannot keep the spirit and the letter at the same time. In Col 2:16-17 we read that Christ is the spirit and the reality of the lawwhich was but the shadow. Now that we have the reality, it is sheerfoolishness to try and spiritualize and pay homage to the shadow.
5. Getting back to the rest of the ten commandments, we come to thefifth: Honor your father and your mother. What is the primary purposefor this command? Is it primarily to teach us respect for our physical,letter, fleshly parents? Is it not obvious that all the physical,fleshly, letter experiences we have in life are primarily to teach us(there's that schoolmaster again!) To honor our heavenly Father?Obviously, it is.
6. Thou shalt not kill and…
7. …Thou shalt not commit adultery, we have already coveredextensively in our discussion of the specific changes in the lawmentioned in the "sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 5.
8. Thou shalt not steal. "I'm no thief!" we would all, asChristians, proclaim. Yet this is possibly the most commonly broken ofGod's spiritual law. Taking that which is not ours is almost universalin the body of Christ. While loudly proclaiming God's sovereignty, westeal from Him that for which He claims the credit, the responsibility,and for which He will receive the glory. "By grace are you savedthrough faith, and that [faith] not ofyourselves; it [the faith] isthe gift of God" (Eph 2:8).
We, through our stubborn adherence to the "idol of the heart" (Eze14:7), known by the unscriptural phrase "free moral agency", rob God ofHis true role in the affairs of men. Certainly we make choices based onour will, but there is nothing free about it: "You have not chosen me,but I have chosen you..." (Joh 15:16). "No man can come to me, exceptthe Father which hath sent me draw him..." (Joh 6:44). "So then it isnot of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God thatshoweth mercy…Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, andwhom he will, he hardeneth" (Rom 9:16, 18).
There is but one 'free' will in the universe, and that is God's. Allothers are either shown mercy and drawn to Christ or "whom He wills Hehardeneth."
This is a subject for a paper of its own, but we will do well togive God ALL the credit for our salvation (and our blessings) anddispense with the false doctrine of free moral agency: "Man's goings[good or evil] are of the Lord, how can aman then understand his ownway?" (Pro 20:24). "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not inhimself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer10:23). Let's stop robbing God of His sovereignty in the affairs of men.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Whatprimary spiritual purpose is it toward which this letter of the lawpoints us? Is it not true that every false doctrine, every "idol of theheart" (Eze 14:7) besetting the body of Christ bears false witnessagainst our Lord and our Father? The most grievous lie of all, nodoubt, is the false tenet of eternal hell fire for those "whom hehardeneth" (Rom 9:18).
While God claims to be love (1Jn 4:8 and Eph 2:4), and while weloudly proclaim outwardly to agree with Him, inwardly we make Him aliar, capable of spiteful vengeance, of which even we, our own wickedselves, are not capable. Who among us could justify eternal,everlasting, unending torment in literal fire for all eternity for ourchildren? The enormity of this false witness against the character ofthe Father who truly is a Father of love, is blasphemous! Indeed He"chasteneth every son he receiveth..." (Heb 12:6, 7), but He isnevertheless "the Savior of ALL men, specially [NOTONLY] those whobelieve" (1Ti 4:10). "As in Adam all die, SO IN CHRIST will ALL bemade alive" (1Co 15:22). "Who will have all men to be saved and tocome to a knowledge of the truth" (1Ti 2:4).
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men countslackness; but is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any shouldperish, but that all should come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9). Did youchoose to be "in Adam"? No, your fabled 'free moral agency' had nothingto do with the fact that you are "in Adam". While you will choose to be"in Christ", your 'free will' will have nothing to do with it. You willbe drawn to that decision. It is only God who is sovereign.
Let us rid ourselves of all "bearing false witness" against the wordof God and the character of a truly loving heavenly Father who will"draw all men" to Himself through Christ (Joh 12:32).
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covetthy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor hisox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
This is the last commandment of the ten. At this point, you might beasking yourself, did the Spirit really change all ten commandments?:"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new [covenant]creature:old things are passed away [the old covenant tencommandments - Deu4:13]; behold all things are become new" (2Co 5:17).
Does "old things have passed away; behold all things are becomenew", really exclude the ten commandments? Are the ten commandmentsGod's immutable still-in-force, moral law or were they not already"waxing old" when Christ revealed the reality of what was previouslyjust a shadow? "In that he saith a new covenant he hath made the firstold. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away"(Heb 8:13). This, of course, is a direct reference to the oldcovenant, and the old covenant is the ten commandments and the rest ofthe "book of the law" (Deu 4:13). And this "vanishing away" wasalready taking place nearly 2000 years ago and continues to take placegeneration by generation as the law brings us to Christ!
So "all things" have become new to those "who are in Christ Jesus"."Thou shalt not covet…anything that is thy neighbor's" has beenreplaced just as much as "thou shalt not commit adultery" was replacedby Christ in Matthew 5. Note: Each individual commandment is notchanged or modified. There was a "change in the law". When we have achange of the guards, we have a new and different guard. When we changeour clothing, we do not modify our old or dirty clothing. We discardour old clothing and replace it with new white robes.
Adultery is often the end product of lust and Paul says: "What shallwe say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin butby the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thoushalt not covet" (Rom 7:7).
The phrase "the law" is used three times in this verse concludingwith a quote of the tenth of the ten commandments. There should be nodoubt what is meant by "the law".
Since the Old Covenant is clearly defined as "...His covenant... tencommandments [written] upon two tables ofstone" (Deu 4:13), thenEVERY part of that Old Covenant, the glory of which made the face ofMoses to shine (2Co 3:7-10), now has "no glory in this respect, byreason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away isglorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (2Co 3:10-11).
What is "that which remaineth" that so excels the ten commandmentsthat they are said to have "no glory" by comparison? "That whichremaineth" tells us that we are not talking about a vacuum. There issomething "which remaineth": "Therefore by the deeds [doing] of the lawthere shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is theknowledge of sin" (Rom 3:20). Does the "knowledge of sin" haveanything in common with the knowledge of evil? Yes, it does!
The knowledge of evil, like sin, produces death. It also produces,of necessity, a knowledge of good. Good and evil are from the same tree- "out of the ground made the Lord to grow…the tree of the knowledge ofgood and evil" (Gen 2:9). This knowledge of good is obtained throughdirectly transgressing God's command 'don't eat of it.' "...Workingdeathin me by that which is good..." (Rom 13:7). This is the 'good', the'righteousness' that Job knew before his conversation with God in thewhirlwind: Job "disannulled [God's]judgment [and] condemned [God] that[he, Job] mayest be righteous" (Job 40:8).We are told in the firstverse of Job one that Job "was perfect [good]and upright and one thatfeared God and eschewed [hated] evil." Howcan one "fear God" and atthe same time "condemn" God?
The answer is that Job had the same "knowledge of good and evil"that Adam and Eve had. Adam feared God for we are told that he said "Iheard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid..." (Gen 3:10). Butlike Job, Adam "disannulled [God's]judgment [and] condemned [God]"when he believed the serpent's lies. Both Job and Adam were 'good menwho feared God and eschewed evil', but neither had a spiritualunderstanding of God's sovereignty, and therefore acted in rebellion toGod. Even our good, when not recognized as Christ in us, produceddeath. Such is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.Eating of this tree produced death.
How, then, do we attain life? Life is not to be found on the tree ofthe knowledge of good and evil. Life is only to be found on a totallyseparate tree; a tree without evil, the tree of life, Jesus Christ.
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; andunto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sinunto salvation" (Heb 9:28).
Christ "bore the sins of many" "...He hath made Him to be sin forus,who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him"(2Co 5:21), but when he returns, it is "unto them that look forhim" and this time it is "without sin unto salvation". Christ wasspotless. He never sinned, but God made Him to be a sin offering for us.
The law is simply a "tree of knowledge". It is a knowledgeindependent of and separate from God: "knowledge [independentofChrist] puffeth up..." (1Co 8:1). "Thou…restest in thelaw…thou…makestthy boast of the law…[yet] through breakingthe law dishonorest thouGod" (Rom 2:17 and 23).
And how were they breaking the law? Do we break the law simply bydisobeying its precepts? You do "be the letter and circumcisiontransgress the law" (vs 27). Circumcision was as lawful a precept ofthe law as Sabbath keeping. But they are both fulfilled in Christ. Tocontinue the practice of things that Christ has fulfilled is to "by theletter…transgress the law."
The law is not sin, but it is the knowledge of sin: "What shall wesay then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but bythe law…(Rom 7:7).
So life is not to be found in the tree Christ became when He wasoffered up at the end of his first coming. How do I dare say thatChrist on the cross became the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin..." (2Co5:21). "...God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under thelaw..."(Gal 4:4). This is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "Yea,though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know weHim no more" [after the flesh] (2Co5:16). Life is to be found inanother totally separate tree "unto those that look for him shall Heappear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb 9:28). Ofcourse, Christ was not sinful and was not really a tree of knowledge ofgood and evil, but God considered him such "that we might (through hissacrifice) be made the righteousness of God in him" (2Co 5:21).
Christ is now the tree of life to all who believe: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst ofthe paradise of God" (Rev 2:7). "It is the spirit that gives life; theflesh profits nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spiritand they are life [the tree of life]"(Joh 6:63).
"The flesh profits nothing". Flesh is doomed, even the flesh ofChrist. "...Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet nowhenceforth know we him no more" (2Co 5:16). Our flesh is our worstenemy. It sets itself up in the temple of God proclaiming itself to beGod, demanding our total subservience. Our flesh is a beast" (Ecc3:18) lying to us telling us we cannot make war with the beast. Andindeed WE CANNOT, but "I can do all things through Christ whichstrengtheneth me" (Php 4:13).
Let's go back now to Romans 3: "Therefore by the deeds of the law[the tree of the knowledge of good and evil]there shall no flesh bejustified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin [andgood]. But now the righteousness of God [Christ]without law ismanifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets: even therighteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ unto ALL andupon all them that believe; for there is no difference" (Rom 3:20-22).
Life comes "without law" because life is an entirely different treefrom the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". "Good" isn't goodenough. It is the words of Christ, which most assuredly are not thewords of Torah, that "give spirit" and that "give life" (Joh 6:63).
"The righteousness which is by faith OF Jesus Christ" (Rom 3:22) isthe same as "the words that I speak unto you" that "are spirit and…arelife" of Joh 6:63. They are even called "the word of faith which wepreach" (Rom 10:8).
While life is not in "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"(Gen 2:9); not in the law which reveals what sin is (Rom 7:7); not inthe flesh which would dethrone Christ in us (Ecc 3:18; Mat 24:15;Rev 13:16), yet it is through death that life comes: "...We werereconciled to God by the death of his son [theresult of eating of thefruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil], much more,beingreconciled, we shall be saved by his [resurrected]life" (the tree oflife) (Rom 5:10).
The translators have done mankind a great disservice by translating ekthanatosas "from death". "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered upprayers and supplications with strong cryings and tears unto him thatwas able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;"(Heb 5:7). Christ was not saved "from death". He died, but he wassaved, as we will be, through death. All saints are saved through thedeath of the flesh. Even those who are alive at the return of Christmust exchange their fleshly bodies for spiritual bodies.
It is THROUGH the flesh (Gen 1:27), THROUGH sin (Gen 3:7), THROUGHevil (Isa 45:7), THROUGH the law (Rom 7:7 and Gal 3:23-24), THROUGH"the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and THROUGH death (Heb.5:7) that we must first pass before we can come to the "tree of life",to Christ. It was all "predestinated" (Eph 1:11). That's why we werecalled in Christ before the world began (2Ti 1:9); that's whyChrist was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).
When we do come to the tree of life, we find it is guarded by"cherubim, and a flaming sword which turneth every way to keep the wayof the tree of life" (Gen 3:24).
These mere letter-words take on great revealing spiritualsignificance as the light of the spirit is shined upon them.
Before we examine the message revealed in God's word concerning the"cherubim and fiery sword" guarding the "way of the tree of life", wewill complete our examination of the eight phrases used by Paul todrive home the need to "be not entangled again with the yoke ofbondage", the old covenant. (Gal 5:1).
The better part of this paper has been a demonstration of the depthof the first phrase:
Phrase 1) "A change also of the law" (Heb 7:12)
We have demonstrated how Matthew 5 conflicts with the 6th and 7thcommandments as well as four of the statutes and judgments. These, ofcourse, are simply examples given by Christ to show that the entire oldcovenant was being fulfilled in Christ. Christ could not very wellcover the 613 laws of the old covenant in one lesson. "Fulfilling"includes superceding, or else the Sermon on the Mount is aself-contradictory message. We have quoted the scriptures showing thatthe new covenant is spirit, is NOT in "the letter" (2Co 3:6).Phrase 2) "That which is done away..." (2Co 3:11)
This phrase (done away - used once as 'put away') is used five timesby Paul in relation to the old covenant:
Five times we are told that:
That 'vail' typically is adhering to the old covenant. After makingall these statements concerning the old covenant, Paul says: "...wehave…not handled the word of God deceitfully…but if our gospel be hid,it is hid to them that are lost" (2Co 4:13).
The Greek word for 'done away' or 'put away' in all these verses is katargeo(Strong's concordance #2673). It appears 26 times in the New Testament:
Luk 13:7; Rom 3:3; Rom 3:31; Rom 4:14; Rom 6:6; Rom 7:2; Rom 7:6; 1Co 1:28; 1Co 2:6; 1Co 6:13; 1Co 13:8; 1Co 13:10; 1Co 15:24;1Co 15:26; 2Co 3:7; 2Co 3:11; 2Co 3:13; 2Co 3:14; 2Co 15:26; Gal 3:17; Gal 5:4; Gal 5:11; Eph 2:15; 2Th 2:8; 2Ti 1:10, Heb 2:14
This Greek word, katargeo, has been assigned thirteendifferent translations in the Kings James Version.
The most common translations are 'destroy' and 'done away' with fiveentries each. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him[Christ], that the body of sin might bedestroyed [katargeo],that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Rom 6:6). This verse istypical of the five 'destroy' entries. 'Without effect' or 'noneeffect' is the third most common with four entries. "When I was a child[under the schoolmaster], I spake as achild, I understood as a child[in letter, ten commandments only], Ithought as a child: but when Ibecame a man [understood the law of God, the lawof love revealed herein this love chapter and in Matthew 5] I put away [katargeo]childish things" (1Co 13:11).
"But when that which is perfect [the law oflove] is come, then thatwhich is in part [the old covenant tencommandments] shall be done away[katargeo] (1Co 13:10).
"For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make thefaith of God without effect" [katargeo](Rom 3:3)? This verseis typical of the four verses translated 'without effect' or 'noneeffect'.
The next most common translation of the word katargeo bringsus to our third phrase:
Phrase 3) "...That which is abolished"
This Greek word, katargeo, is the exact same word translated'abolished' three times in the New Testament:
"And not as Moses which put a vail over his face, that the childrenof Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which isabolished" (katargeo - 2Co 3:13).
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law ofcommandments [the ten old covenant commandments]contained inordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so makingpeace" (Eph 2:15).
"But now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christwho hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality tolight through the gospel" (2Ti 1:10).
While this last verse is not directly concerned with the law, itdoes demonstrate the meaning of the word katargeo in relationto the law. That which happens to death is that which happens to thelaw. Being "in Christ" in no way denies death; yea it establishes "thelaw of sin and death" of the flesh and in so doing, brings in "the lawof the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:2).
Without the destruction of the weak and beggarly elements, the lawof Moses, the "law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus", the law oflove, could not be established. Why is that? Simply because "that[only] through death he might destroy himthat hath the power overdeath" (Heb. 2:14). It is the law of Moses, the old covenant, on "twotables of stone", that is according to the word of God, the"ministration of death" (2Co 3:7).
It is this law, which carries with it the fleshly inclination ofthinking one's own righteousness can save oneself that makes "all theworld guilty before God" (Rom 3:19).
The Gentiles absolutely do not "naturally" love their neighbor bythe nature inherited from Adam. The most apparent part of thepersonality of the purest infant ever born will be his complete andtotal self-centeredness from the beginning. "...Both Jews andGentiles…are all under sin" (Rom 3:9).
When Paul speaks of "the Gentiles, which have not the law, do bynature the things contained in the law" (Rom 2:14), he is notreferring to the Adamic nature nor the law of Moses: "...we all…in timepast [lived] in the lusts of our flesh,fulfilling the desires of ourflesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, evenas others" (Eph 2:3).
The Greek word for nature is the same in both verses. It is Strong's#5449 - phusis.
Circumcision, tithing, and Sabbath keeping are not natural to theGentiles, and it is not the law of Moses to which Paul refers. It isthe "law of the spirit of life", the law of love, and it is kept onlyby "being partakers of the divine nature having escaped [through thisdivine nature] the corruption that is in the world through lust(2Pe 1:4).
Phrase #4 - Blotting Out the Handwriting of Ordinances
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to hiscross" (Col 2:14). The Greek word here is exaleifo - Strong's#1813. This is the only place it appears in Paul's writings. This Greekword does appear four more times in the New Testament, however:
It is translated "blotted out" three times and "wipe away" twice.Once again the "handwriting of ordinances" has the same fate as sin.Sin is destroyed (katargeo - Rom 6:6) and here the "handwritingof ordinances" is exaleifo - blotted out.
So we really need to know what the "handwriting of ordinances" is.The Greek word for "handwriting" is cheirographon - Strong's#5498. It is a compound of #5495 cheir, the Greek word for handand #1125 grapho, to grave or write. This just happens to bethe exact description given the two tables of the old covenant: "And hedeclared unto you His covenant, which he commanded you to perform, eventen commandments; and he wrote [Heb. kathab- to (en)grave]them upon two tables of stone" (Deu 4:13).
How were they graven? "And he [God]gave unto Moses, when he hadmade an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of stonewritten [kathab - graven] with thefinger of God."
How about the word "ordinances"? The Greek here is dogma, Strong's#1378. Strong defines it as "a law (civil; ceremonial orecclesiastical) a decree, ordinance."
The most prominent handwritten "dogma" in the history of mankind isthe old covenant, ten commandments, written with the "finger of God.""Thou shalt" and "thou shalt not" are about as dogmatic as you can get.
We have demonstrated that the carnal mind can be subject to the lawof Moses. After hearing Christ quote the ten commandments, the richyoung ruler answers "all these have I kept from my youth up" (Mat19:20). "...touching the righteousness which is in the law [I was]blameless" declares Paul of himself before his conversion (Php 3:6).But Christ teaches us that righteousness which is in the law is yet"lacking". Outward obedience to the ten commandments does nothing tocleanse the inner man, any more than outward circumcision would giveone a circumcised heart. "Cleanse first that which is within..." (Mat 23:26). This admonition can never be performed by obeying the tencommandments and the law of Moses.
How can we say this? Because they are carnal commandments for carnalmen: "The law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless andthe disobedient..." (1Ti 1:9).
This is clearly stated in Hebrews 7. In verse 11, Paul points outthat the people "received the law" under the Levitical priesthood. Hemaintains that the priesthood now, under Christ, has reverted back tothe priestly system in place before Levi or Aaron, a priesthood "afterthe order of Melichisedec".
"The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a changealso of the law" (received under that priesthood) (Heb 7:12). Whychange the law? "For by the law is the knowledge of sin..."
We are told clearly "for the law made nothing perfect..." (Heb7:19)."Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified inhis sight: FOR BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN" (Rom 3:20). This isthe reason given for changing the law. This statement brings us to ourfifth phrase. Phrase #5-A "Carnal Commandment Has Been Disannulled"- Heb 8:13 "Who [Christ] is made [a priest] not after the law of aCARNAL commandment, but after the power of an endless life" (vs 16)."For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before forthe WEAKNESS AND UNPROFITABLENESS thereof" (Heb 7:18)
This verse doesn't say the law "was weak through the flesh". "Theweakness and unprofitableness thereof" is a verbal description of thesubject preceding it; " the commandment". Which commandment?
Matthew 5 only mentions two - murder and adultery. How did Christdemonstrate their weakness? By showing us that outward obedience to anylaw does nothing for the inner man. What has a man gained if heabstains from murder and yet hates his brother? What spiritual profitis it to abstain from adultery while lusting after a woman in ourhearts?
This law is so weak that it tells you to hate your enemy. It favoredthe concept of an eye for an eye.
Paul says "the law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (1Ti 1:8).How does one use the law lawfully? By "knowing this, that the law isnot made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient..."(vs 9).
Many a sermon has been preached quoting "All thy commandments arerighteousness" (Psa 119:172) and "sin is the transgression of the law"(1Jn 3:4) as if Christ had never said 'love your enemy' contrary tothe law of Moses; as if he never told a man to pick up his bed on theSabbath, contrary to the law; as if his teachings on divorce andremarriage were not contrary to the law of Moses.
Christ is our spotless and blameless Savior not because he kept thelaw of Moses. If he had done so, he would not be spotless. You do"...bythe letter…transgress the law." How can that be? How can one keep theletter and break the law? If you can't answer that question, thenMatthew 5 means nothing to you. The letter is the problem. It is thetree of the knowledge of good and evil; "I had not known sin but by thelaw" (Rom 7:7). "...The law is NOT made for a righteous man but forthelawless and disobedient" (1Ti 1:9). "The letter killeth" (2Co3:6). It was "the letter" that killed Christ, and by breaking theletter Christ kept the law of love.
Let us at this point give a couple of examples of how one "by theletter…dost transgress the law" (Rom 2:27). These examples will alsodemonstrate the "weakness and unprofitableness thereof" (Heb 7:18).
We will examine the two most distinguishing parts of the oldcovenant in the days of Christ and Paul; Sabbath keeping andcircumcision.
One could be a Gentile in those days and honor parents, abstain frommurder, adultery, lying, stealing, etc. and still not be distinguishedas a keeper of the law. IF one kept the Sabbaths and practicedcircumcision, in those days, one was definitely recognized as a "son ofthe covenant".
How did Christ feel about the Sabbath? As demonstrated above, Hebroke the Sabbath regulations repeatedly, admitted it and defended it:"David…did….[that] which was not lawful..."and "the priests…profane theSabbath..." (Mat 12:4-5). That sounds like a confession to me.
Yet Christ called himself "the guiltless" "If you had known whatthis meaneth I will have mercy [on those breakingthe outward Sabbath]and not sacrifice; ye would not have condemned the guiltless" (Mat12;7). What was Christ's purpose in doing what he admits was "unlawful"and "profane"? His purpose was to "enter into [thereal] rest" (Heb4:3). The real rest (Sabbath or ceasing) has no more to do with outwardphysical rest than the lamb slaughtered on the alter of the temple wasthe real sacrifice for sin. The real Sabbath has everything to do withceasing from our works, not one day in seven, but twenty-four hours aday seven days a week! "Not my will, but thine be done" (Luk 22:42)."My Father WORKS hitherto, and I WORK."
According to Strong 'hitherto' (#2193 - heos) is "aconjunction, preposition and adverb of continuance." In other words,"My Father is on the job seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day andso am I."
As mentioned earlier in this paper, creation had not tired ourCreator. He simply ceased from his work because he had finished it. Thefact God hallowed the seventh day and made it holy, makes it no morepermanently holy than the holy ground in Arabia where Moses was told totake off his shoes. The seventh day Sabbath was given to ancient Israelas a type and shadow of Christ: "For we which have believed do enterinto [Christ, our] rest…there remaineththerefore a Sabbath [Christ inus] to the people of God. [Because]he that is entered into his resthath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb 4:3, 9-10).This "ceasing from our own works" is the Sabbath that "remaineth", andit isn't a one-in-seven Sabbath.
One can ask how does observance of the weakly (no, I didn't misspellit) Sabbath break the law of the new covenant?? By clinging to a"carnal ordinance" (outwardly entering into rest) imposed on them onlyuntil "the time of reformation" (Heb 9:10), we admit that we arereserving six days of the week for our own works just as surely as thescribes and Pharisees were bearing witness against themselves by"garnishing the sepulchers of the righteous".
"Woe to you scribes and Pharisees…because ye build the tombs of theprophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous. And say, If wehad been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakerswith them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore you bear witness toyourselves that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets"(Mat 23:29-31).
Had Christ kept the seventh day Sabbath, He would have been bearingwitness against Himself that six days in seven He was doing His work,not the work of His Father.
He would also have been required to keep the whole law: "...cursedisevery one that continueth not in all things that are written in thebook of the law to do them" (Gal 3:10).
"For I testify again [Paul had been herebefore] to every man thatis circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal 5:3).
James agrees with Paul. After encouraging us to "fulfill the royallaw [not torah] according to thescripture", "Thou shalt love thyneighbor as thyself", he then makes the same point about the law thatPaul makes. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend inone point, he is guilty of all…So speak ye and so do, as they thatshall be judged by the law of liberty. [Because]he shall have judgmentwithout mercy that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth againstjudgment" (Jas 2:8, 10-13). This is the same "liberty" Paul speaks ofin Gal. 5:1 and which Paul also calls "the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2).
Those who think that the law of Moses is to be kept by those inChrist will tell you "the only thing nailed to the cross (besides aninnocent man) was the animal sacrifices and the blood offering and therituals surrounding them. All the other laws of God are still in effecttoday..." [Was Jesus a Racist? by Glen Myers]
While most professing Christians are not willing to go so far as Mr.Myers, "all the other laws are still in effect", they do agree with himin varying degrees. Most professing Christians think more in line withMr. Frank Brown quoted earlier. The common reasoning is that the tencommandments are not part of "the law of commandments contained inordinances" "abolished" in Eph 2:15 and "blotted out and nailed to hiscross" in Col 2:14.
That the phrase "the law", when standing alone, always is intendedby Paul to include the ten commandments is demonstrated above by thescriptures quoted in the previous segment The Law - All or None at All:"for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is adebtor to do the whole law" (Gal 5:1). This means the whole law, notjust the ten commandments. In other words, if one believes that Torah(the law) will help to save him then he is required by Torah to keep itall: "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL THINGS WHICH AREWRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW to do them" (Gal 3:10 which quotes fromDeu 27:26 and Jer 11:3). The words "written and graven in stone" (2Co 3:7), the ten commandments, are in the "book of the law" in Exo 20and Deu 5. That the law includes the ten commandments isunquestionable: "...I had not known lust, except the law had said, thoushalt not covet" (Rom 7:7).
"The law" is a single package. Any attempt to dissect it so as topreserve some part of it will bring the curse of these verses down onthose who do so.
Why then does Paul mention circumcision so often? If the whole lawis meant by the phrase 'the old covenant', why does he make it so clearthat circumcision is no longer required? Why, for example, did he notsay "I testify again to every man that keeps the Sabbath that he is adebtor to keep the whole law"?
The answer is that the Sabbath, important as it was to the oldcovenant, was only a sign, a token (Hebrew - owth; Strong's#226) of the covenant. "Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep for a signbetween me and you throughout your generations" (Exo 31:3).
Circumcision on the other hand, is called "the covenant ofcircumcision". "And he [God] gave him [Abraham] the covenant ofcircumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yetbeing uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them thatbelieve, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might beimputed to them also" (Rom 4:11).
Circumcision is the original sign of the old covenant and is used byPaul as a single word to express the thought of being a physicalIsraelite and considering that physical pedigree to be of someconsequence to God: "And they of the circumcision which believe wereastonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentilesalso was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Act 10:45).
It's obvious from this scripture that even Jews who believed inChrist at the time of Peter's visit to Cornelius's house still had adegree of "confidence in the flesh" (Php 3:3 and 4).
Paul's use of the phrase "of the circumcision" encompassed both the"confidence in the flesh" and the confidence in "works of the law";circumcision being "the sign" of the old covenant.
With this in mind, let's continue the thought in Heb 9: "Carnalordinance[s] [were]imposed on them [only] until the TIME OFREFORMATION. But Christ being come an high priest of GOOD THINGS TOCOME by a GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, not made with hands,that is to say, not of this [stone and mortar]building" (Heb 9:10and 11). And what is that "greater and more perfect tabernacle? Itjust happens to be the same as his real rest: "For the Lord hath chosenZion: he hath desired it for his habitation [histabernacle]. THIS ISMY REST forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Psa 132:13and 14). "...The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell withthem..." (Rev 21:3). It is those who are "in Christ" who are the ZionofPsa 132:13 and 14 and the "...a bride adorned for her husband" the"holy city New Jerusalem" of Rev 21:2.
Christ is our rest, and we in Christ are God's: "On that day yeshall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" (Joh14:20). If we are in Christ, he is in us and we are all in God throughChrist.
If we insist on observing the seventh day Sabbath and all the holydays, why are we not still offering sacrifices? If we don't offersacrifices because the type is fulfilled in Christ, why are we stillobserving all the other types Christ has fulfilled? His own words are"it is finished" (Joh 19:30). "For we which have believed do enterinto rest..." (Heb 4:3). Christ is our Sabbath every day. Is he notalsoour Passover every day, living his life in us, is he not also our daysof unleavened bread every day? Is he not the Spirit coming to us, ourPentecost, every day? In Christ we are not those "that put far away theevil day and cause the seat of violence to come near" (Amo 6:3).
In Christ we "lift up our voice like a trumpet and show God's peopletheir transgressions" (Isa 58:1). Therefore Christ is our festival oftrumpets every day.
Being "seated with him in heavenly places" (Eph 2:6) are we not atone with God? Is he not our day of Atonement?
Knowing that "as in Adam all die SO in Christ shall ALL be madealive" (1Co 15:22), is he not our festival of tabernacles and lastgreat day?
YES HE IS! "All my Sabbaths" were festivals because they were all acelebration of Christ and his accomplishments.
In Colossians we are told "Let no man judge you in meat, or indrink, or in respect [Strong's #3313 - meros- the particulars]of an holy day, or [the particulars] ofthe new moon or [theparticulars] of the Sabbath days WHICH ARE A SHADOW OF THINGS TOCOME;but the body [casting that shadow] is ofChrist" (Col 2:16, 17).
There it is; holy days and Sabbaths are all "shadows" of Christ, aswere the millions of animals sacrificed for the sins of Israel. Jesusis now "a minister of the true tabernacle…[that'sus]…if he were onearth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests [thetemple was still standing] that offer gifts [sacrifices]according tothe law. Who [both the priests and the gifts orsacrifices] serve untothe example and shadow of heavenly things…[theyall foreshadow Christ]"(Heb 8:2-5). Paul goes on to say that this is true of the law as awhole: "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not thevery image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which theyoffered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect"(Heb 10:1).
So who is our priest foreshadowed by the Aaronic priesthood? Who isour sacrifice, foreshadowed by millions of dead lambs and bulls andgoats? Who is our Sabbath and holy days? Who can make the comersthereunto perfect?
I never before realized how anything so repetitive and so redundantcould be so exciting. Yes, it is ALL Christ!
"According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of thetabernacle and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even soshall you make it" (Exo 25:9).
"And look that you make them after their pattern, which was shewedyou in the mount" (Exo 25:40). Christ is that 'pattern' and we, too,must be careful to follow the pattern.
"For Christ is the end (#5056 - telos) of the law forrighteousness to everyone that believeth" (Rom 10:4).
That word, telos, is the same in 1Pe 1:9; "Receiving theend (telos) of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thoushalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal 5:14)
"These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet withyou, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the lawof Moses and the prophets and in the psalms concerning me" (Luk 24:44).
This is what Christ was talking about when he said "think not that Iam come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy,but to fulfill. …I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot orone tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled"(Mat 5:17 and 18).
Christ knew who he was. He knew he was the "till all be fulfilled".
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these leastcommandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least inthe kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the sameshall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 5:19).
Is this a comment concerning the ten commandments and/or law ofMoses? If it is, then Christ himself will have to "be called least inthe kingdom of heaven". Why do I say that?
I say it simply because the entire remainder of chapter 5 of Matthewconsists of Christ teaching his disciples to break the law of Moses:
|Law of Moses||Law of Christ|
|Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.||"Love your enemy, bless them that curse you, do good to themthat hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you andpersecute you." (vs 43).|
|An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. (vs 38)||"But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoevershall smite you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also..."|
|Thou shalt not foreswear (perjure) thyself, but shalt performunto the Lord thine oaths (vs 33). |
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God …and swear by his name" (Deu 6:13 and10:20).
|"But I say unto you, swear not at all…(vs 34).|
|Whosoever shall put away his wife ["ifyou have no delight inher - Deu 21:14] let him give her a writing of divorcement(vs 31).||"But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wifesaving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commitadultery..."(vs 32).|
|Thou shalt not commit adultery.||"But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman tolust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."(vs 28)|
|Thou shalt not kill (vs 21).||"Whosoever is angry with his brother…is in danger of thejudgment" (vs 22).|
Four of these six teachings are in direct opposition to the law ofMoses. The other two are certainly not "one of these leastcommandments" but are two of the ten, and have been changed beyondrecognition
It should be clear that "one of these least commandments" refers tothe column on the right, the commandments of Christ; not those given byChrist to Moses. Carnal commandments are for a carnal people.
But all the commandments of Christ, all these "But I say untoyou..."in direct contradiction to the law of Moses, are apparently hidden fromthe orthodox Protestant and Catholic churches and from the "commandthem to keep the law of Moses" groups in the Christian world. Here isthe lie that is believed by all three schools of religious thought. Thefollowing quotation is from The Two Covenants and the FirstResurrection by Brian Convery:
"Now let's cut to the chase. In 1Jn 2:3-6, we read a verysobering measuring stick as to the degree we are led by the spirit ofGod.
:3 - Now by this we know that we know him, if we keep hiscommandments. [The implication here is veryclear. If we don't keep Hiscommandments, all of them, we don't know him. The professing Christianworld says they know Him but preaches His commandments were nailed tothe cross, done away. If that's the case, the Bible is lying to us.There is no gray area. It is one or the other.]
:4 - He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments,is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [Verysimple, isn't it? Nocompromise, no second-guessing, no ifs, and or buts about it. Manydenominations of Christianity today say they keep His commandments butfail to observe the Sabbath the seventh day, the same one that has beenin place since creation week. They instead take their lead from Romeand keep the day of the pagan deities, Sunday.]
:5 - But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God isperfected in him. By this we know that we are in him.
:6 - He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk justas He walked. Jesus Christ observed the Sabbath and the annual HolyDays. He kept them holy, all of them. Over seventy times in thegospels, He tells us to follow Him. Following Him has just been clearlydefined here in I John. If we are following Him, we are going to dowhat He did. Do not lose sight of who Jesus was in the O.T. scriptures.He was the Word, that Being who created everything. He was the one whoauthored all the commandments, etc., of the O.T. scriptures. That's whywe read in Hebrews that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today andforever. He is not changing it. If you do not follow Him as He has justdescribed in I John, then you are not led by the spirit of God." TheTwo Covenants and The First Resurrection by Brian Convery, Part 3, page1.
I have no doubt Mr. Convery is as sincere a man as I am, but he hasfailed to notice that Christ brought "a NEW commandment …That ye loveone another as I have loved you…(Joh 13:34). Christ did not love hisdisciples according to Exodus 20. He loved them according to Matthew 5.He has failed to notice the outright contradictions between the "NEWcommandment" of Christ and the "abolished", "disannulled", "nailed tothe cross", "handwriting of ordinances" that are "old covenant" "law ofMoses". This very John who Mr. Convery is quoting, never calls the holydays 'God's feast of Passover' or 'God's feast of Tabernacles'.
John demonstrates his understanding of their fulfillment in Christ;their passing, fading nature. John always refers to "the Jews feast ofPassover" and "the Jews feast of tabernacles, etc." John sets us all agood example. Christ fulfills ALL. Those who refuse John's example arenot following Christ. They are following "the outward Jews" (Rom2:27). Christ did not keep the seventh day Sabbath holy. He broke itrepeatedly as you can read in Matthew 12. You are right, Mr. Convery,"If we are following him, we are going to do as he did."
"Do not lose sight of who Christ was in the Old Testamentscriptures. He was the Word; that being who created everything. He wasthe one who authored all the commandments, etc. of the Old Testamentscriptures..." [Ibid]
Yes, we would do well to never "lose sight of who Christ was in theO.T. scriptures", but if we have never known him to begin with, howthen can we "lose sight" of something we never saw.
To demonstrate what I mean, here are a few things concerning theO.T. scriptures which very few have ever "had sight of" to begin with:
Cursed be he that confirmeth not ALL the words of this law todo them(Deu 27:26; Jer 11:3)
As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse;for it is written, cursed is everyone that continueth not in all thingswhich are written in the book of the law to do them(Gal 3:10).
These verses do not say "the ten commandments, all of them." Itsays ALL THINGS which are written IN THE BOOK..." This would includethevery things Christ taught against in Matthew 5. Yes, Christ is theauthor of the ten commandments. It is the ten commandments that arecalled the "covenant" (Deu 4:13).
you shall fear the Lord yourGod…and shall swear by his name(Deu 6:13 and Deu 10:20) Whatagreement does that have with the commandment of Christ
but I sayunto you, swear not at all(Mat 5:34 and 37)?
an eye for an eye(Exo 21:24 andDeu 19:21). What agreement does that have with
but I say untoyou, that ye resist not evil(Mat 5:38-42)?
I could go on and on with the changes in the law which Christ made,but we have already covered this subject in this paper.
Mr. Convery, along with most of Christendom, thinks the "hiscommandments" of 1Jn 2:3 are the same as the ten commandments ofExodus 20. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The tencommandments are "for the lawless and disobedient" (1Ti 1:8-9). The"but I say unto you" of Matthew 5 are the "his commandments" spoken ofin 1Jn 2:3, and the "one of these least commandments" of Mat5:19).
The obvious truth is that the only time Christ was made "under thelaw" (Gal 4:4) was when he was "made to be sin for us" (2Co 5:21). [Updated 6/18/2007 - For a complete study of the question of Christ being made sin, please read the article He Hath Made Him to be Sin by Coy Brock elsewhere on the web site.]
"The professing Christian world…preaches his commandmentswere "nailed to the cross, done away"..."[Ibid.]
Those are Paul's words, Mr. Convery (Eph 2:15 and Col 2:14). Yourargument is not with the professing Christian world as they agree withyou on everything but the fourth commandment. Your argument is withPaul and the Holy Spirit. The professing Christian world, like you, Mr.Convery, picks and chooses which parts of "all things written in thebook of the law" they want to keep. They pick nine commandments andholidays. You pick all ten commandments and holy days.
It is actually holy days, not holidays, to which Paul refers in Gal4:10: "Ye observe days, months, times and years. I am afraid of you,lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain" (Gal 4:10-11). Paul isreprimanding these Galatians (and Christians today) for observing thedays and festivals of Moses!
Is Paul worried that the Galatian converts are slipping back intotheir old pagan holidays observance? No doubt pagans had holidays theyobserved just as the Jews had days which they also esteemed above otherdays. But paganism is not the concern or subject of the book ofGalatians.
What is the point of this book? Gal 1:6-7: "I marvel that ye are sosoon removed from them that called you into the grace of Christ untoanother gospel: Which is not another, but there be some that troubleyou and would pervert the gospel of Christ". THAT is the subject ofthis book! Paul spells it out right up front. The Galatians are beinginfluenced by someone preaching "another gospel which is not anotherbut…pervert(s) the gospel of Christ" and "removed" (them) from him"that called you into the grace of Christ".
What is this "gospel which is not another but pervert(s) the gospelof Christ"? It is obvious that what is troubling Paul is "the Jewsreligion" (Gal 1:14). The entire book of Galatians is concerned withthis problem, NOT with the influences of pagans: "...I conferred notwithflesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which wereapostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again untoDamascus" (Gal 1:17).
If pagan influences have anything to do with this book, why wouldPaul place distance between himself and "them which were apostlesbefore me" in Jerusalem?
What is the subject of Chapter 2: "For before that certain [men]came from James. [Peter] did eat with theGentiles: but when they werecome, he withdrew and separated himself fearing them which were of thecircumcision" (Gal 2:12).
Here again is the subject of this letter to the Galatians. To sayGal 4:10 has to do with pagan holidays, is to miss the point of thisentire epistle.
"We who are Jews by nature…know…that a man is not justified by thedeeds of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ…and not by works ofthe law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified..."(Gal 2:15-16).
Does this sound like something you would say to people who werebeing seduced by pagan holidays and traditions? What does the nextchapter concern?
"Oh, foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that youshould not obey the truth…This only would I learn of you, received yethe Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are yeso foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are ye now made perfect by theflesh" (Gal 3:1-3)?
This seems to be the same subject of chapters one and two, "removedfrom…the grace of Christ unto another gospel" (Gal 1:6) and "certain(men) from James" (Gal 2:12), and now here in chapter 3; "received ye thespirit by the works of the law…?"
Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, continues in chapterthree attempting to take the eyes of these Galatian converts off thethings pertaining to the law: "For as many as are of the works of thelaw are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is everyone thatcontinueth not in all things which are written in the book of the lawto do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight ofGod, it is evident: for the just shall live by faith..." (Gal 3:10-11).
The rest of this chapter is devoted to Paul's attempt to get theGalatians to see that the promises made to Abraham are actually "to thyseed which is Christ" (Gal 3:16).
"For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more ofpromise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise" (Gal 3:18).
The subject still hasn't changed. The "another gospel, which is notanother…but pervert(s) the gospel of Christ" is a gospel which promotesthe "law of Moses" which Christ (in Matt. 5) and Paul, here and in allhis epistles, say is incompatible with the "law of Jesus Christ" (Gal6:2).
"Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because oftransgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise wasmade..." (Gal 3:19).
What was "the law" of Moses added to? It was a temporary addendum tothe "law of the spirit of life" (Rom 8:2), also called the "law ofChrist" (Gal 6:2) the NEW commandment of Matthew 5, the law of love ofRom 13:10. God is not a 'new' God. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday,and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). What is 'new' about the newcovenant, is that it was never before revealed to mankind. Christ cameto reveal the Father, because the Father had never before been revealed(L 10:22). The only 'eternal' immutable law of God ever revealed inscripture, is the law of Christ revealed in Matt. 5-7, also called thelaw of love in I Cor.13: "Love never fails..." (1Co 13:8). Godalwayshas been and always will be - LOVE.
This 'new commandment' (Joh 13:34) is a NEW COMMANDMENT.It is notthe "spirit of the letter lost in the traditions of the elders". Letterobedience is only to rule over us "till the seed should come to whomthe promise was made".
Then what? "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shutup unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed" (Gal 3:23).
Here is Paul's concern for the Galatians. Here is the "anothergospel". The law keeps us "shut up" and "under the law", until "faithcomes". Paul says the same thing, with even more force in Rom 6:14:"...sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the lawbut under grace". Sin dominates those "under the law", because they arenot yet brought to Christ (Gal 3:22 and 23).
The true character (law) of God was never revealed until Christ came"to reveal the Father" (Mat 11:27 and Luk 10:22). While it had notbeen revealed, the law of Love (God) was still being transgressed, andthis is what necessitated the "addition" of the law of Moses "becauseof transgressions" of the unrevealed, yet present (law of God) law ofLove (Gal 3:19). The law [of Moses]entered that "the offence mightabound..." (Rom 6:20), not to reveal the Father. Reading the lawwithoutaccepting Christ "vails" the Father (2Co 3:15).
Paul is obviously desirous that the Romans and Galatians not be"under the law" "after faith comes".
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us untoChrist, that we might be justified by faith" (Gal 3:24).
And then…? "But after that faith is come we are no longer under aschoolmaster" (Gal 3:25).
Why are we no long under a schoolmaster? "For ye are all thechildren of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's,then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Gal3:28 and 29).
Now, the formula laid down by the Holy Spirit through the pen of theApostle Paul is:
Yes, this was the first time. While God's law is as old as He is, itwas not revealed till Christ came:
"Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the son, and heto whomsoever the son will reveal him" (Mat 11:27).
If the law of Moses had revealed the Father, as all Christendomseems to believe, Matthew 5 would have been unnecessary. Christ Himselfwould have been unnecessary and salvation could have been by the law.But the law of Moses, the old covenant, the ten commandments (Deu4:13) are for the lawless and disobedient and the "law of Christ", the"law of love" is not revealed until Christ comes. Until then we are"kept under the law" (the letter).
We now come to Gal 4. Does the concern suddenly switch from theGalatians being seduced by Judahizers to pagan philosophers?
No, paganism is not even under consideration in this chapter. Paulis still concerned that the Galatians are allowing themselves to beinfluenced by those who want to keep them under the schoolmaster. Hehas just informed them that in Christ "we are no longer under theschoolmaster, for ye are all the children of God by faith in ChristJesus" (Gal 3:25 and 26).
The whole weight of Paul's point is lost by translators who fail tomake clear the huge difference between the "children" (Greek - huios,Strong's #5207) of Gal 3:26 and the "child" (Greek - nepios,Strong's #3516) of Gal 4:1.
Paul's entire point is that in Christ we are huios, maturesons, able to carry on with our Father's profession.
This is contrasted with being "under the schoolmaster" and still"under the law". Chapter four concerns this same subject "now…the heir,as long as he is a nepios, (a minor) differeth nothing from aservant (Greek - doulos, Strong's #1401, a slave) though he belord of all, but is under tutors and governors until the time appointedof the father" (Gal 4:1).
Being "under the law" is to be a minor, "an immature Christian"according to Strong; according to Paul "differing nothing from a slave".
Being under "tutors and governors" and "differing nothing from aslave" while under these "schoolmasters" is to be "nepios(immature)…in bondage to the elements of the world" (Gal 4:3). Thesubject of this chapter is: "...God sent forth his son…to redeem themthat were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons"(Greek - huiothesia, Strong's #5206, Gal 4:4 and 5).
This "adoption" is to take on the father's business and has nothingin common with our modern meaning for the word adoption.
Paul's concern for the Galatians is that "another gospel" isseducing them to remain immature (nepios) Christians, robbingthem of their true standing in Christ as mature sons (huios) and"heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:29).
"Thou art no more a servant [slave] buta son [mature Christian];and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Gal 4:7). Paul saysbeing an immature Christian and remaining under the law even afterChrist has fulfilled it, is to do "service to them which by nature areno gods" (Gal 4:8). These are the "zealously-affect-you" crowd ofvs 17.
How was this desire to remain an immature Christian, "under thelaw", "no more than a slave", "doing service to them which are nogods", "believing another gospel", manifesting itself in these Galatianconverts?
It was manifesting itself in three ways:
Nothing has changed. This spirit is here today. If you do not submitto the law of Moses, you will still be excluded from their fellowship.Let us not be as the Galatians who were "bewitched" by "the works ofthe law" (Gal 3:1-5).
Of course, those who are "bewitched" by the "works of the law" ofMoses will tell you that since it was God who gave Moses the law,therefore this must be the same as the "law of God".
Yes, Mr. Convery, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today andforever", but if you truly believe "he is not changing it" (the law ofMoses), then I can only conclude that your eyes are blinded to thevirtual "reformation" (Heb 9:10) revealed by Christ in Matthew 5.
Matthew 5 is a new wine in a new bottle, a new garment made of newcloth. It is not compatible with the old covenant and attempting tomake it so will only "break the bottles…spill the wine" and "make therent worse".
You are right, "there is no other way", but that way is Matthew 5,not Exodus 20, or any other part of the "things written in the book ofthe law".
You are right, "If you do not follow Him as He just described in IJohn, then you are not led by the Spirit of God." What he justdescribed in I John, however, has nothing to do with the tencommandments or the old covenant "letter" which are one and the same(Deu 4:13), and which are the "ministration of death" (2Co 3:7).The commandments referred to in I John are revealed in the gospels,Matthew 5-7 in particular. They are certainly not in the law of Moses,the old covenant.
As mentioned earlier, it was this same Apostle John who calls theholy days "feasts of the Jews":
"After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up toJerusalem" (Joh 5:1).
"And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh" (Joh 6:4).
"Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand" (Joh 7:2).
Apparently John did not have the Sabbath and holy days in mind in IJohn. In all my years in a certain church, I never once heard a singleminister, student or church member use John's terminology for thesedays. These were "God's Holy Days" and we took pride in the fact thatwe did not keep pagan holidays. Colossians tells us holy days were "ashadow of things to come" (Col 2:16 and 17).
Heb. 10 tells us the entire law was a shadow "for the law having ashadow of good things to come..." (Heb 10:1).
Yes, indeed, "If you do not follow Him as just described in I John,then you are not led by the Spirit".
What is "the Spirit"? Does it have anything to do with the things"which you have heard said by them of old time"? Perhaps there is someagreement, but if so, it is incidental:
"THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT and they are life"(Joh 6:63). These words were penned by the same apostle who wrote IJohn. It is the words of Christ that give life and which will judge us(Joh 12:48).
You are right; "in 1Jn 2:3-6, we read a very sobering measuringstick as to the degree we are led by the Spirit of God." However, it isthe words of Christ, not the law of Moses, which are the "commandments"of 1Jn 2:3-6. Christ's words are our "measuring stick" of spiritualmaturity, not the law which is "not for a righteous man, but for thelawless and disobedient" (1Ti 1:9).
"The words that I have spoken" are not the words of the oldcovenant. Those who persist in being under that law, "shall not be heirwith the son of the freewoman" (Gal 4:30).
"In that he saith a new covenant, he hath made the firstold. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away"(Heb 8:13).
To Paul, as it should be to us, God's word is reality. So far asPaul was concerned, the old covenant had been "vanishing away" from thetime of Jeremiah. "...Your burnt offerings are not acceptable nor yoursacrifices sweet unto me" (Jer 6:20).
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make anew covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: notaccording to the covenant that I made with their fathers..." (Jer31:31-32).
As Christ pointed out, we don't put new wine in old bottles (Mat9:17). In the revelation of the new covenant, we are told that the newdoes not "accord" with the old. "No man putteth a piece of new clothinto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh fromthe garment, and the rent is made worse" (Mat 9:16).
There have always been, and still are today, plenty of 'worn out'garments around. If we attempt to repair our carnal old fleshly bodieswith the ten commandments, we will only make sin appear sinful. Ourrighteousness must "exceed" that of Job, the rich young ruler and Paulbefore his conversion (Mat 5:20).
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the houseof Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in theirinward parts, and write it in their hearts…' (Jer 31:33).
But the "old is ready to vanish away". The Greek here is not katargeofor once. It is aphanismos, Strong's #854. This is the onlyplace this form of this word is used in scripture. However, it is takenfrom aphanizo, Strong's #853 which appears five times: Mat6:16, Mat 6:19, Mat 6:20, Act 13:41 and Jas 4:14.
"Behold you despisers, and wonder, and perish..." (aphanizo#853 - Act 13:41).
"...What is your life? It is even as a vapour that appeareth for alittle time, and vanisheth away" (aphanizo #853 - Jas 4:14).
"Aphanismos" may not be "katargeo", but they do seem to havea lot in common.
The phrase 'under the law' appears in seven separate areas ofscripture. When two connected verses contain the phrase we consider itas a single section of scripture, even though the phrase appears asmany as three times in a single verse.
We will demonstrate with these seven sections that in God's eyesobedience to the law of Moses is the spiritual equivalent of being"under sin". The reason given is "because by the law is the knowledgeof sin" (Rom 3:20). In other words, "In the day that thou eatestthereof thou shalt surely die." Paul is telling us that the law isequivalent to the tree placed by God in the middle of the garden ofEden, which man must eat of before he can partake of the source of life.
Yes, it was God who had told them not to eat of this tree, but thegoal and purpose in creating Adam and Eve was to: "bring many sons untoglory" (Heb 2:10). Since Christ was "slain from the foundation of theworld" (Rev 13:8), Adam had to sin in order to need a Savior. "I hadnot known sin but by the law" (Rom 7:7). "Forasmuch then as thechildren are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewisetook part of the same; that THROUGH DEATH he might destroy him that hadthe power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14). Now "the tree oflife" is not "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". The fruit ofone is life and the fruit of the other is death. "For this cause he isthe mediator of the new testament [covenant]that BY MEANS OF DEATH,for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the firsttestament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternalinheritance".
There it is: "...transgressions…were under the first covenant". Sinnolonger dominates us because we "are not under the law, but under grace"(Rom 6:14).
A. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith tothem who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped and all theworld may become guilty before God" (Rom 3:19). Again it's the tencommandments that make "all the world…guilty before God". But what doesPaul mean by this next verse? "Therefore by the deeds of the law thereshall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is theknowledge of sin" (Rom 3:20).
What he means, as we have said before, is that life can no more comethrough the law (the knowledge of sin and therefore of righteousnessalso - Rom 7:7) than it can come through the tree of the knowledge ofgood and evil. Bringing life is not the function of this tree (the law,the ten commandments). Its function is to bring man to the point thathe sees his need for a Savior. It accomplishes this by revealing oursinful dying condition (earthy, naked) that we have from creation.Christ was slain "from the foundation of the world", before Adam andEve even sinned. Man was created flesh and blood, naked. He would havedied if he had never eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good andevil: "Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit thekingdom of God; neither doth CORRUPTION inherit incorruption" (1Co15:50). Adam simply needed to come to see his sad corruptiblecomposition and condition.
B. Now notice this next verse carefully: "For sin shall not havedominion over you: (and why not?) For ye are not under the law, butunder grace" (Rom 6:14). If there is a scripture anywhere in God'sword which demonstrates that there are two laws in view whenever Paultalks about "the law", this is that scripture.
Our carnal minded reasoning is: "if we keep the law, then we are notdominated by sin, sin has no dominion over us." But Paul says "...sinshall not have dominion over you for [because]you are NOT under thelaw." If you are under the law, you are a sinner.
There are those who will tell you that 'under the law' simply means'under the curse of the law' which they interpret to mean the curse ofdeath.
Those who follow this doctrine completely miss Paul's point that thelaw of Moses is itself, along with the ten commandments, the curse ofdeath, "the ministration of death written and engraven in stones"causing Moses' face to shine (2Co 3:7).
I am well aware that one cannot force a blind man to see. But if youhave been given "eyes to see" and you have read Matt. 5, then you willsee that the ten commandments once and all have lost their glory byreason of that which excels. You will further see that to cling to themand the entire Torah is to be embracing death itself: "Therefore by thedeeds [Greek - ergon Strong's #2041;doing, works] of the lawthere shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is theknowledge of sin."
The knowledge of sin saves no one, and the law, the tencommandments, are the knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7).
Those who cling to Torah and the ten commandments will quote Gal3:12; "...The man that doeth them shall live in them." This seems to bethe only part of this verse they see. They jump on the word "live" andgive it a positive connotation and deride detractors for being againstlife. God has simply not given them eyes to see the first part of thisverse: "The law is NOT of faith..."
With that reasoning, one could take "...she that liveth in pleasureisdead while she liveth", (1Ti 5:6) and give the word "liveth" apositive connotation and completely miss the point. Paul's point isthat "the law is not of faith". To live by the law, "the deeds of thelaw" (Heb 11:6) will have the same effect as "living in pleasure". Youwill be "dead while you live" because "the law is not of faith". Nowthe most casual student of the scripture is aware that "without faithit is impossible to please [God]" (Heb11:6).
Paul's point which it seems the whole of Christendom has missed isthat Torah, the law, yes including the ten commandments IS itself thecurse. It gives us the knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7) and of righteousness(Psa 119:172).
Our 'idol of the heart' (Eze 14:3-7) tells us "God's commandments couldnot possibly produce death; after all they are of God and God wouldnever give us anything that would bring forth death." The laws God gaveMoses seem "pleasant to the sight and good for food" and they areplaced right there in the midst of the garden of God's word, put thereby God himself who would never put anything poison to our spiritualwell being right in front of us and make it appear so good and good forus. God would never do that. "And out of the ground made the Lord togrow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…thetree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen 2:9).
Is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil good for food? Thatseems to be what Gen 2:9 says.
Doesn't it produce death though? Of course, it does: "For as many asare of the works of the law are under the curse [ofdeath]: for it iswritten, cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things that arewritten in the book of the law [Torah] todo them" (Gal 3:10). Thisverse precedes the one quoted above and used in defense of keeping thelaw: "the man that doeth them shall live in them" (vs 12). Peter saysconcerning the law it is "a yoke…which neither our fathers nor we wereable to bear" (Act 15:10).
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,he also himself likewise took part of the same; THAT THROUGH DEATH hemight destroy him that hath the power of death, that is the devil"(Heb 2:15).
"In the body of his flesh THROUGH DEATH, to present you holy, andunblamable and unreprovable in his sight" (Col 1:22).
"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers andsupplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able tosave him from [out of or through]DEATH..."(Heb 5:7).
There are three scriptures explaining why the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil serves as food in the middle of the garden of Eden andwhy the ten commandments, "the ministration of death written andengraven in stones" (2Co 3:7) are placed right in the middle ofGod's word.
While this last scripture concerns dying to the flesh, it serves todemonstrate the creator's modus operandi: "As it is appointed unto menonce to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ once was offered tobear the sins of many..." (Heb 9:27,28).
These two scriptures, Joh 12:24 and Heb 9:27,28, reveal much ofthe mind of God on the subject of death. Being under the law andtherefore being subject to death, are all an integral part of God'splan. Before God ever created Adam, He had a plan of salvation for Adamand all his children.
Adam's need for a Savior is revealed from the beginning in thedescription of his appearance and his composition. He was composed ofdust, the very thing we are told furnishes nourishment for theAdversary who is represented here by the serpent (Gen 3:14). Anotherclue to Adam's predestinated fate is that he was CREATED naked. Adamcame into this world just as every person ever descended fromhim…NAKED. As surely as dust represents flesh, nakedness depicts thesinful nature inherent in being made of dust: "The first man [Adam ineach of us] is of the earth, earthy: the second man [in each of us] isthe Lord from heaven" (1Co 15:47).
"And so it is written the first man Adam was made a living soul; thelast Adam was made a quickening spirit" (1Co 15:45). Those who teachthat the statement "the man that doeth them (the works of the law)shall live in them"(Gal 3:12) is a positive statement, will miss thefact that the "living soul" here is contrasted with the quickening(life giving) spirit. Any "living soul" is also a dying soul: "the soulthat sinneth it shall die" (Eze 18:4,20). Also, anyone living in the"deeds of the law" is "not of faith" (Gal 3:12). Being "not of faith"is not a positive position to be in with God.
Adam was "not of faith" because he followed his wife who believedthe serpent rather than God. Having believed the serpent, Eve,typifying the deceived church of God, ate of the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil, just as some churches today teach that the tencommandments are the same as the sermon on the mount. "And Adam was notdeceived" (1Ti 2:14) but was so attached to his wife [his church]instead of his maker that he followed her instead of God.
How many sons of God see the contradictions between scripture andchurch doctrines but cannot face the thought of possibly losing alltheir friends and their family to remain true to the command of God"thou shalt not eat" of "the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil"?
As God had predestinated, both Adam (the "son of God" Luk 3:38) andEve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They could notbe given life having eaten of this tree because "By the deeds of thelaw there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by THE LAW isthe KNOWLEDGE of sin" (Rom 3:20).
Adam was not deceived. He did not want to disobey God, but he waspersuaded by his wife. Any student of scripture knows that women typifythe church whether faithful or "fallen". The moment they both ate ofthis tree, they became aware of a truth that had been the truth beforethey became aware of it. "They were both naked, the man and his wife,and were not ashamed" (Gen 2:25). This is virtually the same conditiondescribing the "lukewarm" Laodicean church in the book of Revelation:"Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue youout of my mouth. Because you sayest, I am rich, and increased withgoods and have need of nothing; AND KNOW NOT THAT THOU ART wretched,and miserable, and poor, and blind, and NAKED" (Rev 3:16,17).
So it was with Adam and Eve. They had the whole world to themselves.They were communing with God and he had given them this beautifulgarden, his word. Not being aware that they are inherently sinful bytheir earthy composition and their naked condition, like all theirdescendants they partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and eviland "all the world" henceforth becomes guilty before God" (Rom 3:19):"And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it waspleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, shetook of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husbandwith her; and he did eat" (Gen 3:6).
The word of God does not say Eve 'thought' the tree was good forfood; it says "the tree was good for food... pleasant to the eyes…to bedesired to make one wise."
The law, in fulfilling its function as a schoolmaster, nourishes usmuch as the umbilical cord nourishes an unborn infant until the time ofits birth. At that point the umbilical binding must be cut, and theinfant must receive a more mature nourishment. If that cord of the lawof Moses is not cut and the infant does not begin partaking of the moredeveloped nourishment of the "milk of the words" of Christ, he willdie. "As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that youmay grow thereby" (1Pe 2:2). At the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15,it was Peter who called the law a "yoke... which neither our fathersnorwe were able to bear" (Act 15:10). He obviously is not referring toTorah or the law of Moses when he mentions the "sincere milk of theword". He is rather speaking of "the words that I have spoken": "Hethat rejecteth me and receiveth not my words [asopposed to Torah] hathone that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judgehim in the last day" (John 12:48). "The sincere milk" is for "newbornbabes" IN CHRIST. That 'milk' is "Christ and Him crucified" 1Co2:2; 3:1 and 2). While milk is the best food for 'babes in Christ',it is NOT the best food for a more spiritually mature person. "Howbeitwe speak wisdom [not just 'Christ and Himcrucified'] among them thatare perfect [mature]" (1Co 2:6).
On the other hand, the law, Torah, is "a tree to be desired to makeone wise" (Gen 3:6). What does that mean? How does the law which "hadno glory" (2Co 3:10) make one wise? "Before faith came, we werekept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should AFTERWARDS berevealed" (Gal 3:23).
So Paul tells Timothy: "...From a child thou hast known the holyscriptures [Torah, the old covenant] whichare able to make thee wiseunto salvation ["the law…brings us unto Christ -Gal 3:24] through[the new covenant] faith which is in ChristJesus" (2Ti 3:15).
The law of Moses is the law of God only in the sense that Adam in"the son of God" (Luk 3:38). The law of Moses testifies of andtypifies the true law of God just as Adam "in the image of God"testifies of and typifies the true "image of the invisible God, thefirstborn of every creature" (Col 1:15). The true "express image ofHis person" (Heb 1:3) is someone the first Adam must 'put on'. "Put onthe NEW man, which is renewed in knowledge [a newman with a newcovenant] AFTER THE IMAGE OF HIM [Christ]who created him [the firstAdam]" (Col 3:10).
We were born the typical image. We must "put on" the true image.
What is the function of the Old Testament scriptures. They make usaware of our inherent nakedness: "Behold, I was shapen [of the dust ofthe ground] in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me"(Psa51:5). The purpose of being "shapen in iniquity" (being made under thelaw) is to justify the judgment of God. Adam did not "fall"; he simplybecame aware of how low he already was - "of the earth, earthy", "ofthe dust of the ground", "naked". This was no accident, but was byDivine design. Adam eating of the tree was "of the Lord [because] Hesought an occasion against [the flesh - Adam] for atthat time, [the flesh] haddominion over [Adam] (Jdg 14:4). Whenthe flesh dominates, God"seeks an occasion against [it]. "The Lamb[was] slain from thefoundation of the world" in preparation and anticipation of Adam's sin(Rev 13:8).
We have no reason to suppose that David, who was the youngest of hisbrothers, was born of an adulterous mother. We are told specifically hewas the son of Jesse. David is in no way slandering his mother when hesays "I was shapen in iniquity". He is rather acknowledging the earthycomposition and naked condition of ALL who are born in Adam. We are allborn in need of the law, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil tomake sin (our nakedness) appear sinful to us. The tree itself is notevil; it is "good for food". But its fruit is the KNOWLEDGE of …evil"."By the law is the knowledge of sin." "Was that which is good madedeath unto me? God forbid. But sin that it might appear sin, workingdeath in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment mightappear exceeding sinful" (Rom 7:13): "And the eyes of them both wereopened, and they knew they were naked;" (Gen 3:7).
David explains in the preceding verse why we are "shapen in iniquityand born in sin." See what he reveals to us in Psa 51:3,4: "Iacknowledge my transgression: and my sin is ever before me…that thou(God) mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear [ofunrighteousness] when thou judgest." David understood God'spurpose increating evil; "that thou [God] mightest…be clear [of evil] when thoujudgest." David knew what judgment was all about. He knew that the dayof judgment is the day when the Almighty and All Powerful God wouldchasten and discipline and save even the most wicked person in theuniverse. The "condemnation of the world" is but another less desirable"judgment" or "chastening". "When we are judged, we are chastened ofthe Lord that we should not be condemned with the world" (1Co11:32). Once again, JUDGMENT IS CHASTENING.
"What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law,but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yieldyourselves servants to obey; his servants ye are to whom ye obey;whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness" (Rom6:16)?
This verse drives home the point Paul is making that sin is nolonger defined by the inadequate idea of the law that so long as youmake a good outward show of righteousness, you are therefore righteous.Simply not killing your brother is no longer sufficient; simplyrestraining oneself from adultery is no longer tolerable to please God;simply not stealing is not acceptable behavior.
In reality, all these "cleavings" to the ten commandments and allthe works of the law, were never sufficient to please God to beginwith. The law is not of faith, and without faith it is impossible toplease God. Keeping the old law is the equivalent of Adam obeying God'scommand not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Hewould no doubt have thought something like this: 'I am rich andincreased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that [Iam] wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked' (Rev3:17).
Adam, as are all his descendants, was so spiritually blind that hedid not realize that he was created naked and in need of clothing. Thatclothing was provided by God in the form of a sacrifice; Christ is theclothing for our sins, our nakedness, that we are born with.
Are we encouraging disobedience to God? Are we saying "let us sinthat grace may abound"? Should we sin because we are not under the law,but under grace? "God forbid". We are pointing out that Adam's earthycomposition and naked condition from the hand of the creator signifiesa work in progress: "The first Adam was made a living soul; the lastAdam a quickening [life giving] spirit.Howbeit that was not firstwhich was spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward thatwhich is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the secondman is the Lord from heaven…As we [ALL MEN]have borne the image of theearthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say,brethren, that flesh and blood [Adam'scomposition even before he ateof the tree] cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither dothcorruptioninherit incorruption" (1Co 15:45-50).
C. "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews;to them that are under the law as under the law, that I might gain themthat are under the law. To them that are without law, as without law,(being NOT WITHOUT LAW to God, but UNDER THE LAW TO CHRIST) that Imight gain them that are without law" (1Co 9:20, 21).
Paul says he is "not without law to God but under the law to Christ.Paul was certainly not under the law of Moses, or he would haveencouraged circumcision, and he would have kept "all things written inthe book of the law". So what law was he "under…to Christ?" He wasunder the "new commandment" (Joh 13:34); he was under "the law ofChrist" (Gal 6:2).
Here is the scripture that explains why the apostles seemed to carryon so many Jewish, Mosaic, Old Covenant traditions even after the deathand resurrection of Christ. The "law of Christ" through love, permits,and in many instances necessitates, that we submit ourselves to the"weak and beggarly elements of the world", the law of Moses (Gal4:1-9). But for what reason? Because Sabbath and holy day keeping wasnecessary? No, but "That I might by all means save some" (1Co 9:22).
Despite the fact that many people do not believe it, there was ofnecessity a period of transition called "the time of reformation" (Heb9:10). Christ made it clear to us that there were "many things" evenhis closest associates could not "bear…now".
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear themnow" (Joh 16:12). This is a principle that applies to each believerindividually. How much more time is involved in reforming whole bodiesof people?! "Peter…and the other Jews dissembled (and) Barnabas alsowas carried away with their dissimulation" (Gal 2:11-13) simplybecause in that "time of reformation", that time of transition from theold to the new covenant, they were "not able to bear" some of thetruths of the new covenant even at this late date. Paul saying "I mustby all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem" (Act 18:21) ismore of a statement of where he wanted to be at that time thanexpressing his determination to retain and practice the Jewishtradition of esteeming one day above another, of "observing days,months, times and years" enumerated in Lev 23 and 25 and in Num 28and 29. Immediately after chastising the Galatians for observing days,months times and years, Paul says "tell me you that desire to be underthe law..." (Gal 4:21). Obviously the days, months, times and yearswerethe Sabbaths, holy days, new moons and land rest and jubilee yearscited by Moses in the scriptures in Leviticus and Numbers given above.There are no days, months, times or years to be observed under the new"law of faith" (Rom 3:27).
D. "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up untothe faith which should afterwards be revealed" (Gal 3:23)
Let's examine the context of this scripture and see if we can graspwhat Paul means by this oft used phrase "under the law". This chapterbegins with Paul rebuking the Galatians: "O foolish Galatians, who hathbewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyesJesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? Thisonly would I learn of you; received ye the Spirit by the works of thelaw, or by the hearing of faith?" (Gal 3:1,2). Maybe you didn't catchthat. Paul considers the keeping of the law equivalent to "not obeyingthe truth". Could it be that if one believes he must keep the law thathe believes a lie? He reminds them that he is the one who introducedthem to Christ and he had not instructed them to perform the "works ofthe law". Paul's teaching is based on higher laws which are given sevendifferent names:
He never refers to the law of Moses, the old covenant, as anythingmore than a schoolmaster, a tutor, a governor to be abandoned uponcoming to Christ. While Paul is emphatic about not being under 'thelaw', his readers knew what this meant: "I myself serve the law of God"with "the flesh".
"Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are ye now madeperfect in the flesh?" (vs 3) "With the mind I myself serve the law ofGod, but with the flesh the law of sin" (Rom 7:25). Paul equates thekeeping of the law with "the flesh". In verse 7, he says that those offaith "are the children of Abraham. Verse 8 says the promise, that "inthee [Abraham] shall all nations beblessed" was actually an allusionto the calling of the Gentiles. "So then they which be of faith areblessed with faithful Abraham" (Gal 3:9). "For as many as are of theworks of the law are under a curse: for it is written, cursed iseveryone that continueth not in ALL THINGS which are written in thebook of the law to do them" (vs 10) "...no man is justified by the law,(for) the just shall live by faith" (vs 11); and the law is not "offaith" (vs 12). "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law"(vs 13). So far as Paul is concerned, the law has made us all "guiltybefore God", both Jew and Gentile. The promises to Abraham are onlythrough his singular seed, Christ (vs 16). The physical promises;land, good health, wealth, etc, don't even enter into the equation:"For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: butGod gave it to Abraham by promise" (vs 18).
So, why the law? It was added to demonstrate how evil WE are, togive us the knowledge of sin. For those in Christ though, it is only"til the seed should come to whom the promise was made" (vs 19). Thelaw itself is not against the promises of God. Prophecies of thepromises are within the law, but: "righteousness is not by the law"(vs 21). "But (since righteous-ness is not by the law) the scripturehath concluded all (Jew and Gentile) under sin ("by the law is theknowledge of sin" - Rom 7:7) (so) that the promise by faith of JesusChrist might be given to them that believe" (vs 22).
Where are we all before we come to know Christ? "But before faithcame we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith that shouldAFTERWARDS be revealed" (vs 23). That's pretty clear language. All arein sin (vs. 22), under the law until faith comes and delivers us fromthe law (vs 23). So the law serves as the means to show us our sin andthereby bring us to recognize our need for Christ. Is there anyone whodoesn't know Christ? They will be brought to comprehend their necessityfor him by being "under the law".
Once we come to know Christ, we become aware of Matt. 5 and the newlaw, "the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2) and we no longer need theschoolmaster who brings us to Christ. No one associated with theteachings of Matthew 5 has any need for the law of the old covenant.
The laws of the old covenant become as obsolete and redundant as thesacrifices, holy days, clean and unclean meat laws and all the statutesand judgments.
They are all types and shadows of spiritual realities we obtain inand through Christ. There are no exceptions. Christ (love) hasfulfilled the law for those who are in Christ.
Those who do not yet know Him NEED the law as surely as a fetus (nepios)needs an umbilical cord. This is what Paul means when he says "thelaw…is good…when used lawfully"; meaning that one must "know first thatthe law is NOT for a righteous man, but for the lawless anddisobedient..." (1Ti 1:8,9). In Christ, we are not "lawless".
We are simply under a changed law, a higher law: as high as Matthew5 is above Exodus 20. Those in Christ, on the other hand, just assurely must cut that umbilical cord and begin taking in a more matureform of nourishment. Until they do, they will still be "under tutorsand governors" and will never be more than a "slave".
"The adoption of sons" will make him "lord of all" only when hecomes out from under the "schoolmaster, governor and tutors" (Gal4:1,2).
The law, the "schoolmaster," will always serve as a tutor andgovernor to "bring us to Christ". Each generation of the"predestinated", "the children of promise", will be brought to see thatthey need a Savior through their own "road to Damascus" experience. Weare all, as only God knows how to accomplish, struck down and made tosee our sins. It has never been and never will be anything less than a"fiery trial". So "think it not strange" when the trials come (1Pe4:12).
Once again here in Gal 4:4, being "under the law" is equated withbeing under sin: "But after that faith [Christ]is come we are nolonger under a schoolmaster" (Gal 3:25).
E. "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His son,made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal 4:4).
We have just stated that "under the law" is the same as being undersin. Chapter four simply continues on with the concept of being under aschoolmaster: "Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child [Greek- nepios] differs nothing from a servant, though he beLord ofall" (Gal 4:1).
Those are Paul's words of warning to all those who observe the days,months, times and years of the law. He asserts that you are denyingyourself your inheritance. One "differ[s]nothing from a servant[slave]". "But (you) are under tutors andgovernors until the timeappointed of the Father (vs 2). Even so we [Paulhimself when he wasunder the law] when we were children [underthe "schoolmaster"] were inbondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of thetime was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under thelaw, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive theadoption of sons" (Gal 4:3,4).
In case you didn't grasp that, Paul said that those who were underthe law and were redeemed by Christ had been "under bondage to theelements of the world". Just another scripture telling us that clingingto the law is like clinging to sin; not because the law is sin, butbecause "by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom 7:7). It is throughsin that we die. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). It is throughdeath also that we receive life: "Forasmuch then as the children arepartakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of thesame; that THROUGH DEATH he might destroy him that had the power ofdeath, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14). So life comes through death,death comes through sin and sin comes through the law. Are we saying,then that Christ as stated in this verse, was "made under the law", wasmade sin??? That's right, Christ was sin: "For he [God]hath made him[Christ] to be a flawless sin offering forus, who knew no sin; that wemight be made the righteousness of God IN HIM" (2Co 5:21).
That's why all of ancient Israel's sacrifices had to be "spotless"and "without blemish". Ancient Israel typifies the world withoutChrist, and their sacrifices typify our "spotless", "blameless","without blemish", sacrifice - Jesus Christ, the son of God.
F) "Tell me ye that desire to be under the law, do you not hear thelaw?" (Gal 4:21).
The obvious answer to this question is, no, or the Galatians wouldnot be submitting themselves to the law. The rest of this chapterreveals the hazards of placing oneself under the law. Let it be notedthat what the apostle warned would happen to those who place themselvesunder the law is exactly what has happened to the church which to thisday continues to situate itself "under the law" while at the same timeproclaiming its freedom from it:
In verse 22, Paul tells us that Abraham's two wives typify those inthe church who place themselves under the old covenant on the one hand,and those who are under the new covenant on the other hand.
The two wives were Sarah, Abraham's only true love and his real wifeall along. The other wife was given to him by Sarah!
In this allegory, Abraham, the father of the faithful, representsChrist and the wives represent two facets of the church;
If we are IN CHRIST, we are "Abraham's seed and heirs according tothe promise" and "the children of the freewoman" (Gal 3:29). If we areAbraham's seed "we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children ofpromise"; "the adoption" (Gal 4:25); "the glory" (Rom 2:7 and 10;Rom 8:18; 2Co 3:8); "the new covenant" (2Co 3:6); the givingof the new spiritual law "after the inward man" (Rom 7:6 and 22);"the service" (Rom 12:1) and the promises (Gal 3:16 and 29).
Take careful note of who this true wife of Abraham becomes as Pauldraws this allegory. Only those with spiritual eyes seem capable offollowing the mind of God as clearly expressed in this chapter.
As God sees it, those under the law (those who believe that "throughthe deeds of the law some flesh can be saved", are the bondwoman."JERUSALEM that now is and is in bondage with her children…is Agar(Hagar)". Hagar was the mother if Ismael, the rejected son of Abrahamwho is called "the father of the faithful". Abraham's physical, fleshlydescendants are "the bondwoman and her son" who were cast out (Gal4:25-31).
"For this Agar [Hagar] is Mount Sinaiin Arabia, and ANSWERETH TOJERUSALEM WHICH NOW IS AND IS IN BONDAGE WITH HER CHILDREN" (Gal 4:25).
Paul's teaching here is diametrically opposed to the teachings ofChristendom. Much of Christendom teaches that since "the gifts andcalling of God are without repentance" (Heb 11:28), therefore Christmust remarry his divorced wife as soon as he returns. That istantamount to teaching that the first Adam in the flesh can inherit thekingdom of God. Christ is already married to another. He is married tothose who "are become dead to the law" (Rom 7:4). If Christ returnsand remarries physical Israel, he would be an adulterer: "I haveespoused you to an husband that I may present you a chaste virgin toChrist" (2Co 11:2).
Insisting that Christ remarry physical Israel not only makes Him anadulterer, but it also flies in the face of the spiritual types of theold covenant: "Her former husband which sent her [physicalIsrael underthe Old Covenant Law] away, may not take her again to be hiswife…forthat is abomination before the Lord..." (Deu 24:4). It negates dozensof old covenant statements concerning Israel of which the following istypical: "The end is come upon my people of [physical]Israel; I willnot again pass by them any more" (Amo 8:2). "The end is come upon mypeople" means what it says - the end of the ages; the "Great WhiteThrone Judgment" and "the Lake of fire", when there will be "no moredeath" (Rev 20:14-21:4). Any doubt about the timing of the salvationof Israel should be removed by simply reading and believing Eze16:55: "When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return totheir former estate…THEN you [Jerusalem that nowis] and your daughtersshall return to your former estate". "The gifts and calling of God arewithout repentance", but their fulfillment will not be according to ourtime-table. The "fulness of the Gentiles" will not happen until Sodomand Samaria are "returned to their former estate". Then physical Israeland her daughters will return to their former estate.
Paul was well aware of this scripture in Ezekiel, and it grieved himgreatly. Nevertheless, he reiterates the scripture "...cast out thebondwoman and her son [Jerusalem]: for theson of the bondwoman[physical Israel] shall not be heir withthe son of the freewoman"(Gal 4:30).
So much for any doctrine which teaches that anyone (Jew or Gentile)can be saved by the works of the law. Those under the law are thebondwoman and her son. "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh bejustified in his sight..." And why is that? Again, we point out howPaullinks the law to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the treewhich can in no way lead to life: "...for by the law is the KNOWLEDGEofsin" (Rom 3:20). That is all in one verse, and that is why there can beno such thing as a gospel which is a "mixture of law and grace". "Noflesh" means not even any Jewish flesh.
To paraphrase Eph 2:11-19: We are no longer "Gentiles in theflesh." Christ has broken down the middle wall of partition between[Jews and Gentiles]…now in Christ Jesus [we] who were sometimes afaroff [from "the commonwealth of Israel] aremade nigh by the blood ofChrist…for to make in himself of two ONE NEW MAN so making peace…Nowtherefore ye are no more [Gentiles]strangers and foreigners [from thecommonwealth of Israel] but are fellow citizens [in the commonwealth ofIsrael] with the saints and of the household of God" (Eph2:11-19).
There is no room in scripture for the two to remain two. There isonly one "truth of the (singular) gospel" that Paul appeals to whenconfronting Peter. He tells Peter "We…Jews…know that a man is notjustified by the works of the law..."
So while some may be confused as to the function of law and grace"we…Jews... [Peter, Barnabas and Paul]knowthat a man is not justifiedby the works of the law but by the faith of Jesus Christ…for by theworks of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal 2:14-16).
If Peter, Paul and Barnabas, who were all "Jews by nature" (vs 15)knew this bit of truth, who are we to say the Jews are justified byworks?
Don't stop with verse 16. Follow on with Paul's thought: "If while(we) seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves are found sinners, istherefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid" (Gal 2:17).
This is consistent with Paul's teachings in Rom 6: "Being then madefree from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (vs 18). Againin verse 22: "But now being made free from sin, and become servants ofGod, Ye have your fruit unto holiness..."
Paul doesn't say "but now that you have no sin", but rather "but nowbeing made free from sin..." Being free from sin is not to beunderstoodas having no sin, rather "sin shall not have dominion over you."
"For sin shall not have dominion over you"..." Why doesn't sindominate us now? "Because we are not under the law, but under grace."(vs 14)
How clear it is that anyone who is yet governed by sin is yet underthe law!
Let's continue Paul's thought in Gal 2: "For if I build again thethings which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor." "If I buildagain the things which I destroyed" is a reference to the law. "For Ithrough the law am dead to the law", is the very next verse. If we"build again" the "old man" of sin which we had destroyed, we makeourselves transgressors. Christ is not "the minister of sin" even if "Imake myself a transgressor" (vs 18).
This is consistent with Rom 3:5-7, where Paul poses the samequestion: "If our unrighteousness [rebuilding the"old man" whom we haddestroyed] commend the righteousness of God [whichof course itdoesn't, any more than our sins make Christ 'the minister of sin'],what shall we say; is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? I speak asa man. God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if thetruth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yetam I also judged as a sinner?" (vs 7).
Paul is asking if our calling does not make us "free from sin"; ifwe are to simply continue in sin, why would we be considered sinners atall? "And not rather as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirmthat we say, let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation isjust" (vs 8). This "our righteousness commending the righteousness ofGod" and "the truth of God abounding through our lie" were both"slanderous reports" of Paul's teachings.
What Paul did teach was the same thing James taught. While Jamessays "faith without works [the working of Christin us] is dead" (Jas2:26), Paul puts the SAME TEACHING in other words: "know ye not thatthe unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, norabusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nordrunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom ofGod" (1Co 6:9). Again Paul instructs: "Be not deceived; God is notmocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap" (Gal 6:7).
That sounds pretty close to 'faith without works is dead'; certainlymuch closer than the slanderous reports being circulated that Paultaught that our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, orthe truth of God abounds through our lie. Paul says of those who say heteaches such things "their damnation is just."
We come now to a crucial scripture in Paul's discourse on the law inGalatians 2: "For I THROUGH THE LAW am dead to the law, that I mightlive unto God" (Gal 2:19).
If this was true for Paul, it is just as true for us today. It isthrough the law that "all the world may become guilty before God" (Rom3:19). It is also through the law that we today "become dead to thelaw." Every child ever born must be taught right from wrong, "that allthe world might become guilty before God". So while we are not underthe law after faith comes, we certainly are before it comes. The law isnot against the promises of God, but rather leads us to them (Gal3:21-23) because life comes "through death" and death comes through sinand the "strength of sin is the law." It becomes apparent that if Godhad not intended for Adam to sin, He would not have made him of thedust of the ground, and naked. Since He did, He also had to make thetree of the knowledge of good and evil, the law, to reveal to Adam hisintolerable condition and justify God's judgment.
God chose Isaac over Ishmael to tell us today that being physicallydescended from Abraham as Ishmael was, is to be counted as dung. Paulsaid he himself was "of the stock of Israel…an Hebrew of Hebrews…but…Icount all things but loss. And do count them but dung, that I may winChrist" (Php 3:5-8). If it had been possible to remain a law keepingphysical Jew, and still "win Christ", Paul certainly would have. Hedidn't say "I count them all but dung that I might become the apostleto the Gentiles" Paul knew better than that. There was only one way to"win Christ" and that was through the one and only gospel. The onePeter temporarily forsook when he "compelled Gentiles to live as do theJews" (Gal 2:14). Living under the law robs even the Jews of theirsalvation. "We who are Jews by nature…know…that a man is not justifiedby the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ" (Gal2:15-16). That's what Paul told Peter and Barnabas when they separatedthemselves from the Gentiles at Antioch.
Ishmael was Abraham's first born, but he was the son of thebondwoman and therefore had no claim to the promises or theinheritance: "He who was of the bondwoman was after the flesh; but heof the free woman was by promise" (Gal 4:23). "We, brethen, as Isaacwas are the children of promise" (Gal 4:28). "So then brethren we arenot the children of the bondwoman, but of the free" (vs 31). Those whoare the children of the bondwoman have no claim at any time to thepromises. As Paul explained to Peter and Barnabas in chapter two whenthey separated themselves from the Gentiles, "we who are Jews bynature... know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, butby the faith of Jesus Christ" (Gal 2:15-16). Some things bearrepetition!
Paul has just been explaining in the last half of chapter 3 and inthe first half of this chapter 4 that Israel "according to the flesh"(Rom 9:3), the people of God physically descended from Abraham, areunder bondage: "...the heir as long as he is a child [underthe escort ofthe law] differs nothing from a slave..." "Even so we, when wewerechildren, were in bondage..."; all of us "before faith comes".
There will be no mixing of law with grace, ever. "...By the deeds ofthe law there shall... NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED in his sight: for by thelawis the knowledge of sin" (Rom 3:30). We've covered this point before,but it is worth repeating: "for by the law is the knowledge of sin" isthe same as saying "for the law is the tree of the knowledge of evil,"and the tree of the knowledge of... evil is not the tree of life. Thetreeof life is separated from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil bydeath. "The strength of sin (and death) is the law" (1Co 15:56). Thestrength of life is "the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2), "Christ liveth inme" (Gal 2:20). These are not dispensational statements; they areeternal principles. Life does not spring from the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil. Life does not come through the law, not even for aphysical Jew.
2Co 5:21 says Christ "knew no sin" and the following scripturesdemonstrate that righteousness is not of the law. It follows that therighteousness of Christ, "the righteousness of one" [Christ] (Rom5:18) had nothing to do with the law of Moses. "...If righteousnesscomeby the law, Christ is dead in vain" (Gal 2:21), "for Christ is the endof the law FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS to everyone that believeth" (Rom 10:4).The righteousness of God... WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, beingwitnessedby the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God" [Matt. 5 asopposed to Exo 20] which is by the faith of Jesus Christ..."(Rom3:21,22).
A good portion of this paper has demonstrated that the sermon on theMount was a systematic refutation of the law of Moses. It was deliveredto Christ's disciples. "He went up into a mountain and when he was set,his disciples came unto him" (Mat 5:1). After demonstrating theinadequacies of the righteousness of the law, Christ makes thisstatement in the sermon on the Mount: "But seek ye first the kingdom ofGod and HIS righteousness" (Mat 6:33). His righteousness isthroughout the New Testament contrasted with the law of Moses: "we whoare Jews by nature know that a man is not justified by the works of thelaw, but by the faith of Jesus Christ" (Gal 2:15-16). "For by theworks of the law, shall NO flesh be justified" (vs 16). Peter wasreminded of this fact by Paul, but he first learned it from Christhimself.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justifiedin His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin, but now therighteousness of God without the law is manifested [inChrist]being witnessed by the law and the prophets" (Rom 3:20-21).
Eph 2:8 tells us "By grace are ye saved through faith and that(faith) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Does this mean that since we are saved by grace through faith thattherefore there is nothing for us to do, nor anything with which toconcern ourselves? HARDLY!! Paul's epistles are full of his concern forthe spiritual well-being of both himself and those under his charge.
Paul considered it a real possibility that he himself could "fallfrom grace". This is not to say he feared for his salvation at the end.His anxiety was that he and those to whom he preached might not attainto the "mark for the prize of the high calling..." It is the "highcalling" for which we are encouraged to strive: "But I keep under mybody, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I havepreached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1Co 9:27)."Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them [of thepeople of God] which fell severity; but toward thee goodness, IFYOUCONTINUE IN HIS GOODNESS: OTHERWISE YOU ALSO SHALL BE CUT OFF" (Rom 11:22)
Not "continuing in his goodness" was a real and present danger toPaul; one to be avoided by all means. What then is to keep us from"falling from grace", from "continuing not in his goodness", frombecoming a "castaway"?
The answer is always the same; grace through faith. Both are active,vigorous, very much alive and hard at work. As has already been pointedout, Tit 2:11 and 12 tell us that grace "teaches" us to "denyungodliness and worldly lusts". The Greek word for 'teaches' is paideuo(Strong's #3811) the same word translated 'chasten' in Heb 12:6: "Whomthe Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom hereceiveth". This is the reason the "lake of fire" is called a lake offire. It is through the mercy of God that all receive the grace[chastening] to be saved (Rom 11:30 andHeb 4:16). "Even so havethese (unbelieving) also now not believed, that through your mercy (themercy we have received) they also may obtain mercy. For God hathconcluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy on all" (Rom11:31 and 32).
Who administers this chastening grace to "all in unbelief"? "[Those]who... dwell with the devouring [lake of]fire, [those] who... shall dwellwith everlasting burnings. He that walketh righteously and speakethuprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh hishands from the holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearingof blood and turneth his eyes from seeing evil" (Isa 33:14 and 15).
Grace, then, is active and hard at work and will be so right throughthe lake of fire which is the second death. So how about faith?: "I amcrucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christliveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live BY THEFAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal2:20). "In Christ" we live by the "faith of Christ" actively living hislife in our flesh.
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a goodwork in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Php 1:6).None of this, of course, has anything to do with the physical descentof anyone. If physical lineage counts for anything more than dung, andif there is an "administration" in which these things play any part,"...faith is made void and the promise [to thefathers] made of noneeffect" (Rom 4:14). Justification is by and through "faith without thedeeds of the law" for both Jews and Gentiles (Rom 3:28-30). "Thereforewe conclude that a man [any man] isjustified by faith without thedeeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of theGentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also"(vs 28-29).
Where in all scripture is there even a hint of salvation by worksfor anyone, Jew or Gentile? If this were possible, then life would havebeen through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and therewould have been no need for a second tree, the tree of life. Salvationwould have been by the law and not by grace through faith.
G. "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law" (Gal5:18). This scripture is preceded by the statement: "This I say then,walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Forthe flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:and these are contrary the one to the other: so that YE CANNOT do thethings that ye would" (Gal 5:16,17).
Paul is not saying that the law makes anyone sin any more than gunsmake people kill people. What he is explaining is that keeping the lawcannot be mixed with grace. Teaching that works save anyone (even Jews)is to say that the sacrifice of Christ wasn't really necessary.
When Paul says "for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this;Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Rom 5:14), he is not sayingthat this sustains the law of Moses. When Christ fulfilled thesacrifices, which were typical of Him, they were not continued - theywere ended! Yet the law in which they were found was established inthat it had been proven true. THIS is what Paul means when he asks "Dowe then make void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establishthe law" (Rom 3:31). Christ was speaking to Jews in Matt. 5 when hetold them the sixth and seventh commandments were insufficient for lifein the kingdom of God. Any scripture contrary to Matthew 5 is contraryto the "law of Christ" (Gal 6:2). This includes any and all of the OldTestament scriptures that happen to contradict the new covenantrevealed in Matthew 5.
Law keeping with salvation in mind is as offensive to God asoffering a sacrifice after the ultimate sacrifice has been made. Itamounts to rejecting the sacrifice of Christ as insufficient for oursins; so is our obedience to the old covenant. In placing ourselvesunder it, we are saying 'we don't really need the "sermon on the mount,and there isn't any real need for a new covenant. All we need is tokeep the "spirit of the old covenant"'.
Such thinking and teaching is a bastardization of the new covenantand of the sacrifice of Christ;... "by the deeds of the law there shallNO flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge ofsin" (Rom 3:20). "...A man is not justified by the works of the law,butby the faith of Jesus Christ..." (Gal 2:16).
What then do we do with all the old covenant scriptures declaringthat yet future offerings will be sacrificed, holy days will beobserved, and the nations will bring their wealth into Jerusalem? Wenow understand, in Christ, that the only offerings God now recognizesare our "bodies as a living sacrifice" (Rom 121). We understand thatwe now "keep the feast with [spiritual]unleavened bread of sincerityand truth (1Co 5:8). We now understand that Christ is our Sabbath(Heb 4:3 and 10). Since all the feast days are sabbaths, (Lev 23),Christ has fulfilled them all.
It is interesting to note that the only holy day specificallymentioned as being required to be observed by "Egypt, and... allnations"(Zep 14:16-19) is the festival of Tabernacles.
Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, of course, are the latterharvest, the last of the 'Jewish feasts' as the Apostle John would wordit (Joh 5:1; 6:4; 7:2).
Prophetically and eschatalogically Tabernacles typifies the finalharvest of souls and as such is closely associated with the Great WhiteThrone judgment. Rest assured "Egypt... and... all nations" will comeup toJerusalem to this final harvest of the souls of all men "for as in Adamall die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1Co 15:22).
This prophecy in Zec 14:16-19 is simply old covenant language andtypology of the fulfillment of 1Co 15:22.
Even Abraham was actually "looking for a city... whose builder andmaker is God." Physical Jerusalem doesn't fit that bill.
The New Jerusalem is the "Jerusalem which is... free [from the bondageof the law] which is the mother of us all" (Gal 4:26). It is"thebride the lamb's wife" (Rev 21:9).
It is widely believed that because New Jerusalem is mentioned afterthe revelation of the Great White Throne Judgment, that Christtherefore does not marry his bride until after "the thousand years areexpired" (Rev 20:7).
Paul tells us in 2Co 11:2 that we are 'espoused to one husband'.In Rom 7:4, he tells us "ye... are become dead to the law by the bodyofChrist; that ye should be MARRIED to another, even to Him who is raisedfrom the dead..."
The question now arises; are we married to Christ or are we to "bepriests of God and of Christ, and... reign with Him a thousand years"(Rev 20:6) as brides-in-waiting? In Eph 5, he tells us what it takesto make a marriage work. He concludes: "This is a great mystery: but Ispeak concerning Christ and the church" (vs 32). Indeed we ARE"married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead" (Rom7:4).
No doubt our relationship will be even more glorious after thethousand years, but it is also true that "the time is AT HAND" (Rev1:3). New Jerusalem is Christ's "new name"; "He that overcometh...Iwillwrite upon him...New Jerusalem...my new name" (Rev 3:12).
Being "in Christ", New Jerusalem will automatically become our newname also because "as he is so are we in this world" (1Jn 4:17): "Iwill make them... which say they are Jews, and are not... to come andworshipbefore thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee" (Rev 3:9).
It is generally understood that the "woman" of Rev 12 is the truechurch. It is the true church which brings forth "the man child" (Rev5:12). This explains why Paul says "Jerusalem... above is free, whichisthe mother of us all" (Gal 4:26). The "woman" who brings forth the manchild is the church. In biblical language, the church that brings forththe man child is also the "body" of the man child.
The inability to see double truth is one tool used to blind the Jewstill this day: "...But some said, shall Christ come out of Galilee?Hathnot the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, andout of the town of Bethlehem, where David was" (Joh 7:41,42).
Christ was, of course, of both Bethlehem and Galilee, but thereligious men of that day did not know this double truth and so theywere blinded.
There is also a double truth concerning the body of Christ. While"we know that when He shall appear we shall be like him..." (1Jn3:2),it is also true that "now are we the sons of God" (same verse). Whilewe are indeed still "crucifying the flesh", we are "now... the sons ofGod" (1Jn 3:2). God "hath raised us up together and made us sittogether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6).
"The heavenly things themselves... (being purified) with bettersacrifices than (the blood of bulls and goats)" (Heb 9:23) speaks ofus. We are the heavenly things that have to be cleansed by a bettersacrifice than the blood of animals. We wear Christ's new name (Rev.3:12); we are the "espoused virgin" (2Co 11:2); we are "as Isaac"(Gal 4:28); we are "the children of promise" (Gal 4:28); we are "theadoption" (Eph 1:5; Gal 4:5; Rom 8:15, 23); and we are "thecircumcision" (Rom 2:27-29 and Php 3:3). We are married to Christ(Rom 7:4) and as such we are NOW the "bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev21:9).
Yes, we are also "the Israel of God" who "walk according to thisrule" that "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, noruncircumsion but a new creature" (Gal 6:15, 16). As that "new creature"we were "in times past Gentiles... at that time aliens from thecommonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise...butnow, in Christ Jesus... he hath made both ONE... for to make in himselfoftwain [Israel and Gentiles] ONE newman... that he might reconcile BOTHunto God in ONE BODY by the cross... now... ye are no more strangersandforeigners [from the common-wealth of Israel]but fellow citizens [inthe commonwealth of Israel]" (Eph 2:11-19).
We don't want to belabor this scripture, but Paul is NOT saying: 'Ifyou choose to subscribe to my gospel, I would appreciate that, andbesides you can avoid all those do's and don'ts of the law of Moses. Onthe other hand, Peter and all the other apostles have an alternativegospel with alternative promises and blessings which I personallyconsider to be inferior to the blessings of my gospel which areheavenly blessings. The blessings of the other apostles with theirgospel of the circumcision, are mere physical blessings. So there itis, you choose and Christ's grace is sufficient to save you whicheveryou choose.'
That is NOT the point Paul is making. His point is "by the deeds ofthe law, there shall no flesh [not evencircumcised flesh] be justifiedin his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom 3:20)."Therefore we conclude a man (any man and every man) is justified byfaith without the deeds of the law" (Rom 3:28). Deeds of the law arenot part of the equation for salvation. Our "free will" had nothing todo with our being "in Adam" and while we will choose to be "in Christ",it will be because "the Father drags us", not because of our "freewill".
Those "in Christ" are the "Israel of God" and are also the "bride ofthe lamb", "the New Jerusalem". "...Him that overcometh... I will writeuponhim... the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem" (Rev3:12). "The seed of his servants shall inherit it: and they that lovehis name shall dwell therein" (Psa 69:36).
On the other hand, anyone who chooses the gospel of the circumcisionis said to be returning to "bondage under the weak and beggarlyelements of this world" (Gal 4:3, 9). They are the "children of thebondwoman" and instead of being given a choice as to which road tosalvation they prefer, they are "cast out" and "not to be heir with theson of the freewoman" (Gal 4:30). These people "suffer loss" eventhough they themselves will be saved. This is not a guarantee of beingin the first resurrection. Our salvation is secure apart from works,but not so our reward: we "run to receive the prize" (1Co 9:24) andwe will receive "every man according to his deeds" (Rom 2:6).
This business of being "under the law" is far more serious than asimple matter of preference. Returning back to keeping the law isequated by Paul with "bearing thorns and briars and is rejected, and isnigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned" (Heb 6:8). What is atstake is "the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus"(Php 3:14). What is at stake is the "blessed and holy" prize of beingin the first resurrection and avoiding the "burning" of the lake offire (Rev 20:6).
We now come to the final phrase used in Hebrews in relation to thismatter of the law and the covenants.
"...He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second"(Heb10:9). The first part of this verse is "Then said he, Lo, I come to dothy will, O God." It is followed by "By the which will we aresanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once forall" (vs 10).
Here once again scripture declares we are sanctified by the will ofGod and not our own will, but our focus here is "he taketh away thefirst that he may establish the second."
What exactly is taken away? The answer is universally understood tobe the old covenant which is "taken away" and replaced by the newcovenant.
The depth and scope of the differences in these covenants is notuniversally understood. On the contrary, it seems that few indeed arewilling to believe the plain and straight forward scriptures detailingthe meaning of this phrase "he taketh away the first, that he mayestablish the second."
The many other examples which are listed under the heading "The NewCovenant is not a Modification of the Old Covenant" demonstrate thetruth of Paul's statement "...we are the circumcision, which worshipGodin spirit... and have no confidence in the flesh" (Php 3:3).
The flesh has been taken completely out of the equation forsalvation. In reality, it has never been anything more than a necessaryevil to bring us to Christ in the spirit. "...though we have knownChristafter the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" (2Co 5:16).
In Rom 3:31, Paul asks the question, "Do we then make void the lawthrough faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." This whole paperhas established that only for those in Christ the law of Moses is "madevoid", "done away" and "abolished"; all forms in the King Jamestranslation of the same Greek word katargeo.
The law itself is established by this fact. The understanding ofRom 3:31 is to be found ten verses earlier in verse 21: "But now therighteousness of God without the law [of Moses,"for the lawless" - 1Ti 1:9] is manifested, being witnessed by the law [of Moses] and theprophets."
Had the law, the old covenant, "the ministration of death writtenand engraven in stones" not been "done away" for those in Christ, thelaw would have proven itself a false prophet. Now, only for those inChrist, it is "abolished" (Eph 2:15) and replaced by a much higher,much more honorable and spiritual law. "The Lord is well pleased forHIS righteousness' sake; he [Christ] willmagnify the law and make ithonorable" (Isa 42:21). If it were already honorable, he wouldn't needto do that, would he? If, on the other hand, it were a carnalcommandment (Heb 7:16) used "lawfully" only for "the lawless anddisobedient" (1Ti 1:8-9), then a new law along the lines of Matthew5 would be in order.
You do not "magnify" a house during construction and expect thecontractor to eat the difference in cost. A new contract must be drawnup to deal with the changes. Neither do you move from the "carnal","lawless" and "disobedient" to the spiritual without a completely newcovenant with a "change also of the law".
Thus, the law is "established" and proven a true "witness". So longas there is flesh on this earth, the law will be "established" for that"lawless and disobedient" flesh, to show the flesh its naked conditionand make it aware of its decaying earthy composition. Generation bygeneration "the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" andgeneration by generation "after that faith is come, we are no longerunder a schoolmaster". "Now we know that what things soever the lawsaith, it saith to them who are under the law: that EVERY MOUTH may bestopped and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God" (Rom 3:19).
The law of Moses is equated by Paul to the elements of the world (Gal 4:3). Notice I said 'equated'. Not all law is the law of Moses, but all law is equated with the law of Moses as far as scripture is concerned (Gal 3:22-23 - "But the scripture hath concluded all [all Jews and Gentiles] under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were [all] kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed", Gal 4:1 - "Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child [Greek - nepios - infant-under the schoolmaster, tutors and governors, under the law #3516]), differeth nothing from a servant [slave to sin], though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father." The ministration of death is katargeo and we, in Christ only, are "free from the law of sin and death" (the ministration of death) (Rom 8:2).
It is hoped that this article will help someone, somewhere to takehis eyes off the things of the flesh. Yes, Christ was born in the fleshand yes, he died on the cross for our sins, and yes, God "made him sinfor us, who (Christ) knew no sin" (2Co 5:21). These were butnecessary evils. "Yet now henceforth know we him no more in the flesh."We have all been born in the flesh, and we will all die in the flesh,but it is far more edifying and encouraging to know that "NOW are wethe sons of God and... we know that when he shall appear, we shall belikehim; for we shall see him as he is" (1Jn 3:2). As we see him we "arechanged into the same image from glory to glory... by the spirit of theLord" (2Co 3:18). So while we have demonstrated the inadequacies ofthe law in this essay, we conclude with this reminder for any who mightattempt to turn God's disciplinary, chastening grace intolasciviousness: If we truly see him as he is, every man purifiethhimself even as he is pure" (1Jn 3:3).
What we have pointed out, in effect, is the sovereignty of God inall things. "That they may know... that there is none beside me. I amtheLord and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness. Imake peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things" (Isa45:6,7). Yes, it was God who created the tree of the knowledge of goodand evil. It was God himself, who placed that tree right in the middleof the garden. While He had told Adam not to eat of the tree of theknowledge of good and evil, this was done only because "the Lord...soughtan occasion against" Adam (Jdg 14:1-4). God had already determinedthat Adam would eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil andwould come to see his naked, decaying, earthy condition, and be broughtby the law to see his need for a Savior. "All that dwell upon the earthshall worship... the lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev13:8).
In God's all knowing mind, Christ was slain as the sacrifice for thesins of the world before Adam was ever created. This gives the lie tothe teaching that 'God could know what choices you will make, but hechooses not to know.' No, God chose to know all things because "allthings are of God". "To us there is but one God, the Father, of whomare all things..." (1Co 8:6).
Has God chosen to know the number of the hairs of your head, but notto know what you are going to do with your life? Hardly. We are plainlyinformed that God reveals himself to some and deliberately blindsothers. "...the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded...Godhath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not seeand ears that they should not hear" (Rom 11:7, 8).
So what does understanding the total sovereignty of God have to dowith a proper understanding of the function of the law? It haseverything to do with it, because it is through the law, the tree ofthe knowledge of good and evil, that God has decreed that all the worldbecomes guilty before Him. "What things soever the law saith, it saithto them that are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, andall the world may become guilty before God" (Rom 3:19). "Whereforethen serveth the law?
It was added [to the law of God]because of transgressions [of thelaw of God], til the seed should come to whom the promise wasmade... thescripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith ofJesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faithcame, we (all of us) were kept under the law... Wherefore the law wasourschoolmaster to bring us to Christ... But after that faith is come, weare no longer under a schoolmaster" (Gal 3:19-25).
God does not change (Mal 3:6). Christ came to reveal the Father(Mat 11:27 and Luk 10:22). This He accomplished through Hissacrificial life which revealed for the first time in the history ofmankind the "new covenant". The new covenant "show[s]the work of thelaw [of God, not Moses] written in theirhearts" (Rom 2:15). Under thisnew covenant Christ reveals to us the Father: "I delight in the LAW ofGOD after the inward man" (Rom 7:22). "...The carnal mind is enmityagainst God: for it is not subject to the LAW OF GOD neither indeed canbe. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom 8:7,8). The LAW OF GOD the "least commandments" Christ revealed in Mat 5to 7 are the "LAW OF THE SPIRIT" (Rom 8:2). This is the trueunchangeable character of God: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, butMY WORDS shall not pass away" (Mat 24:35).
The law of Moses, on the other hand, is only "good, if a man use itlawfully... [meaning that we know that this lawofMoses, written andengraven in stones, this ministration of death] ...is not madeforarighteous man [the man who is not carnally mindedand delights in theLAW OF GOD, the new covenant, after the inward man] but [the law ofMoses is] for the lawless and disobedient" (1Ti 1:8, 9).
Understanding that the law was added to the law of God because oftransgressions of the law of God helps us to see that the "lawful useof the law truly is not for a righteous man, but for the lawless anddisobedient..." (1Ti 1:8,9).
This should help us to appreciate, yes, appreciate, the function ofMystery Babylon the mother of harlots and of abominations of the earth.Mystery Babylon is not the Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist religions. MysteryBabylon is "that great city... where also our Lord was crucified" (Rev11:8). Mystery Babylon is Christendom still under the law, still undertutors and governors, still looking to men to tell them what God saysjust as Israel did at Mount Sinai. "And they said unto Moses, speak youwith us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us lest we die"(Exo 20:19). Until we are willing to die, to be "crucified withChrist", we will be under the law, "shut up unto the faith which shouldafterwards be revealed" (Gal 3:23). That is the function of MysteryBabylon, to keep us under the law, no better than a slave to sin, undertutors and governors, under the elements of this world (Gal 4:1-3).Mystery Babylon claims to be Christian. She deals in "gold, and silverand precious stones... and souls of men" (Rev 18:12,13).
"Gold, silver and precious stones" which can under the rightcircumstances endure the fire (1Co 3:12,13), are good works and gooddoctrines. If we fail to see and acknowledge the sovereignty of God in"all things", our righteousness (our "gold, silver and preciousstones") becomes as "filthy rags" in God's sight (Isa 64:6). MysteryBabylon is full of "good works" and it is these "good works" thatprovide the "strong delusion" which "God shall send" to those who"received not the love of the truth... That they all might be damnedwhobelieve not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2Th2:10-12).
This "unrighteousness" is not blatant. It is so subtle, it is called"strong delusion". It will all be accomplished through the law, "andwhen the woman [Mystery Babylon the mother ofharlots] saw that thetree [the law] was good for food, and thatit was pleasant to the eyes[an outward display of righteousness] and atree to be desired to makeone wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also untoher husband with her; and he did eat" (Gen 3:6).
The woman giving the law, the ministration of death, to her husbandis the slovenly tendency of most "sons of God" to allow the church,"princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown"(Num 16:2) to tell them what to do instead of having a personalrelationship with God through personal knowledge of his word. These arethose who have not come out of Babylon. Their obedience is not based onlove, but on outward signs like Sabbath (or Sunday) observance. They"observe days and months and times and years" (Gal 4:10). Thus theytestify against themselves that they have not yet entered into rest."For we which have believed do enter into rest..." (Heb 4:3). Thesearethose who call Israel according to the flesh God's chosen people. God,of course, has said they are his "broken off people" (Rom 11:17-20)and "will not be heir with the son of the freewoman" (Gal 4:30). Thus,they testify against themselves that they are not the sons of thefreewoman but are still "under the law" (Gal 4:21).
Thus Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots is servingGod's purpose. She is raising up "false christs and false prophets andshall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,she shall deceive the very elect" (Mat 24:24). It will all beaccomplished through "the law", the tree of the knowledge of good andevil.
In so doing, Mystery Babylon will, in spite of herself, be used as aschoolmaster to bring us to Christ. She will keep us under tutors andgovernors; no more than a slave to sin, "until the time appointed ofthe Father" (Gal 4:1-2).
You "by the letter... doest transgress the law" (Rom 2:27). "Theletter", the law of Moses, is obviously not the law of the spirit ofGod, but is rather a type and shadow of God's spiritual law. If weinsist upon returning to the law, we "crucify the son of God afresh andput him to an open shame" (Heb 6:6). "...Strong meat belongeth to themthat are full of age, even those who by reason of use have their sensesexercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:14). Yes, God intendedall along that we should become like Him to know good and evil.Remember it was "to those... which believed on Him" that he said "Iknowye are Abraham's seed, but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath noplace in you" (Joh 8:31-37). It is indeed "strong meat" to come tounderstand that both the good and the evil are of God, and that it isthrough this tree, whose fruit is death, that we are brought to life,and sin and death are destroyed. "Who in the days of his flesh, when hehad offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tearsunto him that was able to save him through [NOTFROM] death, and washeard in that he feared" (Heb 5:6). "For of him and through him and tohim are all things: to whom be glory for ever, Amen" (Rom 11:36).
How could anyone say or even suggest that we should not, as matureChristians, post the Ten Commandments in our churches and in ourschools and in our public buildings and instruct all to live by thisBiblical code of conduct? If everyone, everywhere, made a consciouseffort to keep and live by the Ten Commandments, would not most of theproblems of our land disappear as a result? Would God not then bless usas a nation and make us a blessing to all nations? Are the TenCommandments the solution to all immorality and sin? The answer to allof these questions is "NO"! It's been tried before, and it has failedevery time.
Ancient Israel said and thought that they could live perfect livesby keeping God's Ten Commandments. They failed miserably. The Phariseesthought that they could become righteous in the eyes of God by keepingthe law and the Ten Commandments. Jesus said that they will NOT be inthe Kingdom of God. Modern Ireland, divided by Protestantism andCatholicism, are slaughtering each other under this same system. Petersaid it all when he called this law a YOKE "which neither our fathersNOR WE were able to bear" (Act 15:10). But there is something better.
In Heb 7:16 we are told that the commandment that established theLevitical priesthood and all that they represented and taught(including the ten commandments), was "carnal". Even the most holy andsolemn day of the entire year, when the high priest entered the holyplace to sprinkle blood for all the sins of Israel, these ordinancesare called "carnal". And we are told in no uncertain terms by theapostle Paul that, "To be 'carnally minded' is DEATH..." (Rom 8:6).Thelaws were carnal; the priests were carnal; the people were carnal; andthe result has always been, is now, and always will be, DEATH! "The law[of Moses] is NOT MADE FOR A RIGHTEOUS MAN,but for the lawless anddisobedient" (1Ti 1:9). The law of Moses is not made for a righteousman!! There is something better.
Do not confuse the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant with the Lawof God of the New Covenant. When will we finally come to believe thatthere really is a NEW Covenant with NEW laws, and that it is NOTfashioned after the OLD Covenant? This "New" Covenant is "not inaccord" (Heb 8:9) with the Old Covenant, and the Old Covenant WAS"...even TEN COMMANDMENTS" (Deu 4:13) written upon two tables ofstone.But this "New Covenant" does have laws. Oh, yes it does! Heb 8:10 -"Imparting my LAWS... on their HEARTS..." The Ten Commandments werewrittenon stones, not on hearts. The laws of the New Covenant are (1) NOT INACCORD with the laws of the Old Covenant, (2) Different from the oldlaw from which we "died" and now are "exempted" (Rom 7:4 and 6), (3)Spiritual laws (Rom 7:14) and (4) they are written "ON THEIR [AND OUR]HEARTS" (Heb 8:10).
Let me give you just one (there are dozens) simple little scripturaltruth to prove once and for all that the Spiritual laws of God are NOTthe Ten Commandments. Anything spiritual or spirit is ETERNAL. God'sspiritual laws ARE eternal. The Ten Commandments are temporal, "takenaway", "done away", not to continue. The fourth commandment: "six daysshalt thou labour and do all thy work..." (Exo 20:9). Is anyone soignorant as to suggest that we will work six days out of every sevenfor the rest of eternity?
We are told that along with the change in the priesthood, there wasalso a necessity for a change in the law. There is no such thing asspiritually keeping a carnal law. Jesus wears a NEW garment and a newpriestly robe. NOT according to that of Levi, but according to that ofMelchizedek. Under the New Covenant we have a NEW priesthood, a NEWHigh Priest and NEW laws. NONE of them are reworkings or modificationsof the old - they are NEW. They are the true High Priest and the truespiritual laws of God, not just the shadow. The physical priesthood andcarnal laws of Israel were but a far inferior type of the spiritual andthe heavenly realities that we have in Christ Jesus. They are all NEW,they are all SPIRITUAL, and they are all far, far SUPERIOR - givingLIFE, and not death.
Those who are now being regenerated and recreated into the very SONSOF GOD, becoming a NEW CREATION, are fully aware of the need for laws -spiritual LAWS. And God has provided them for us: the Law of God, theLaw of Christ, the Law of the Spirit, the Law of faith, the Law ofrighteousness, the Law of liberty and the Law of life. All these mustbe in our minds and in our hearts, or we are "none of His." Thank Godthat we are free from works of the carnal law, but we are anything butfree from the works of God's spiritual laws. In fact, it is through"good works" that we are, "His achievement" (Eph 2:10).
Avoid the proverbial swing of the pendulum, and submit yourself tothe perfect balance of God. We are not here to become righteous throughworks of the Old Testament Laws, thinking we have a free will that isable to do right if God will but give us a little encouragement. Nottrue. Neither are we here to sit back and do nothing, thinking thereare no laws and that there is nothing we must do. God's goal in processis to SAVE THE UNIVERSE. And what is so amazing is that He proposes todo it THROUGH US - the body of Christ. Now if any should think that thehighest offices and the highest calling in the universe requires NOTRAINING, think again. Time and again Jesus has said, "TO HIM THATOVERCOMETH..." Overcome what? The WORLD and OURSELVES! This is NEWCovenant teaching. No one under the Old Covenant had to overcome theworld and overcome themselves. But then again, the only promises theycould receive were physical, temporary, blessing of the land.
We must overcome "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, andthe pride of life". That's all. That's a lot! In fact, that's "ALL thatis in the world" (1Jn 2:16). But Jesus said, "In the world ye shallhave tribulation: but be of good cheer; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD"(Joh 16:33). We must do likewise, "For whosoever is born of GodOVERCOMETH THE WORLD..." (1Jn 5:4). And what is our reward forovercoming the world? Is it physical, temporary blessing of plenty offood, good health and protection from our enemies? Hardly.
Here are the ultimate goals and promises according to the NewCovenant: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree oflife..." (Rev 2:7). "To him that overcometh, and keepeth my works untothe end, to him will I give power over the nations" (vs 26). "To himthat overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God" (Rev3:12). "He that overcometh shall inherit ALL THINGS; and I will be HISGOD, and he shall be MY SON" (Rev 21:7).