The Scriptural analysis of The Law of Moses is much more extensive than we had anticipated, believing at the outset that one paper would be sufficient; later events have determined us to now offer the second paper on the subject. So we proceed with an analysis of the 2nd Chapter of Galatians:
“I went up (to Jerusalem) by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preached among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation (the other Apostles), lest by any means I should run or had run, in vain. (v. 2) But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised (not being under the Law of Moses): (v. 3)
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus (freedom from the Law of Moses), that they might bring us into bondage. (v.4) ‘To whom not even for an hour did we yield by submission; in order that the truth of the glad tidings might remain with you, not entangled again with the yoke of bondage’ (yoke of the Law of Moses – v. 5, Diaglott translation: also see Gal. 5:1,13)
“Those who seemed to be... somewhat in conference added nothing to me: (v. 6) But contrariwise, when they saw the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me (freedom from the Law of Moses), as the gospel of circumcision was unto Peter; (v. 7) For he – the Lord – that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision – the Jews – the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles): (v. 8)
“And when James, Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (knowing that these two were preaching freedom from the Law of Moses); that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision. (v. 9)
“When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face in that he was to be blamed (v.11 – for trying to make distinction between the Jews – under the law – and the Gentiles, who were not under the Law). Before certain persons came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself (forgetting the truths he learned at the time of the conversion of Cornelius—Acts 10:44-48), fearing them which were of the circumcision. (v. 12)
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. (v. 13) But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel (that the Gentiles were not then, and never had been under the Law), I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (v. 14 – Paul had a very fine logical mind, and he was emphatically demonstrating it here)
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even as we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (v. 16 – There could be no plainer words to express this truth) I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. (v. 19 – “We walk by faith”) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”); and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. (v. 20) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (v. 21 – No need for a savior if we are already justified by the works of the Law)
There are numerous other Scriptures that could be given here, but we believe the foregoing are quite sufficient to any one reading without prejudice. Jesus and the Apostles are very clear in enumerating what our conduct should be – covering the moral concepts of the Ten Commandments – but they never at any time said that we should keep the Ten Commandments, which would have all the sins we should not commit. Nor is our purpose to tell any one they should not keep the moral laws of the Ten Commandments (ten words) as best they can, just as did the faithful Jews, because it is a perfect law. However, keeping Saturday, or the Sabbath, is not a moral law – although it would be well for us to keep a day out of every seven to rest and have more time for the worship and study of God’s word. There is no emphasis by Jesus or the Apostles to “keep the sabbath day holy” – although Jesus was born under the Law and He kept the Sabbath, as well as all the Ten Commandments, as only a perfect man could do. But the Pharisees criticized Him, saying that He broke the Sabbath.
CONCERNING THE SABBATH
In the fourth “Word” of the decalogue we are told, “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20:8-11) Thus, it needs no argument that the Sabbath is an indispensable part of the Ten Words. And, if the other nine “Words” are binding upon us (Gentiles and Christianized Jews), then this fourth “Word” is also binding upon us. But here again, we find no place in the New Testament where we are commanded to keep the Sabbath. Nor is there any record that the Apostles kept it after the departure of Jesus. In fact, no Commandment was given by Jesus or the Apostles to the Church to keep the Sabbath.
But the record is very clear that the Apostles and others did observe Sunday in much the same manner as the Jews attempted to keep the Sabbath, altho, even here, none of them advocated the exacting restrictions for Sunday that the Jews had been doing for Saturday. However, it is very clearly of record that this fourth “Word” was creating some uproar among the early Christians, which prompted the Apostle Paul to write: “Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day... or of the sabbath days.” (Col. 2:16) In 1 Cor. 16:2 there is something that clearly militates against the Saturday Sabbath: “The first day of the week (Sunday) let every one of you lay by him in store,” etc. Also, Acts 20:7: “The first day of the week (Sunday) the disciples came together to break bread.”
Furthermore, Rom. 14:5: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Some Christians have what is almost a fanatical obsession about observing Saturday as the Sabbath; but it should be clear enough from these Scriptures that the Apostle Paul was not one of them. However, we would not advise vituperative wrangling with those who hold to Saturday; rather, we would lay hold upon Paul’s words “esteem every day alike.” We believe this is sound solid ground for all who name the name of Christ in sincerity and in Truth, although we are very much in favor of having at least one day each week – Saturday if you like; Sunday if you like – for rest from physical labor or business a recognized arrangement throughout every sect of Christendom
So strongly had this Sunday observance become fixed in the minds of the Christian world, that it had become impossible to dislodge it. After the French Revolution which followed rapidly upon the heels of the American Revolution – the atheistic revolutionairies determined to obliterate every vestige of Christianity, so they decreed a ten-day week; but they soon learned that their ten-day week was fully unworkable; and the French are now back on the seven-day week and the general observance of Sunday as the day of rest.
Not only do we have seven days in a week, but we also have seven churches and seven spirits (Rev. 1:4; 3:1); seven seals (Rev. 5:1); seven horns and seven eyes (Rev. 5:6); seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2; seven thunders (Rev. 10:3); seven last plagues (Rev. 15:1); and seven vials (Rev. 21:9). From all these citations it should be apparent that the figure seven is a Divine number, and should not quickly be set aside in any of our calculations.
And, in a final effort to stop all argument about this matter, we now quote Rev. 1:10: “I (John the Apostle) was in the spirit on the Lord’s day” – not Saturday, but Sunday. And this is that “disciple whom Jesus loved,” who was reclining in His bosom on that last night when He gave those sweeping instructions to His “friends.” Indeed, to the Christian every day is Sabbath, every day should be used as holy to the Lord, and nothing should at any time be done contrary to the Divine will or the principles of righteousness and the Divine government. Jesus’ declaration that He was Lord of the Sabbath reminds us afresh of St. Paul’s declaration that God the Father rested from His work on the seventh day; He left the work entirely for Jesus to do. The seventh day of Jehovah’s rest was one of the great days of the creative weeks – each being seven thousand years long. “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb. 4:10) And those who have thus entered will have “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding” – and He shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)
SOME TELLING COMPARISONS
It needs little argument that the Law of Moses is among the most prominent of Old Testament teachings, the Ten Commandments being the central point of this Law. And with this great truth staring us in the face, is it not most strange that the Ten Commandments – as such – are not even mentioned in the New Testament? It is true that Jesus referred to them when He speaks of the Law; and they are indirectly recognized in a few other instances, but without specific declaration of the Ten Commandments. Is it indeed not strange that Jesus would have definitely stressed them, had it been the Divine purpose that we are now judged by the Ten Commandments as was true with the Jews in the Old Testament? Yet we have this in John 14:21: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them he it is that loveth me.” And the question properly injects itself here: What are His Commandments?
Before discussing His Commandments, we would stress once more that the Law given to Israel at Mount Sinai – and summarized in the Ten ‘Words’ – was not given to any other nation or people. However, we would emphasize that it is upon the Jew still (excepting those that have accepted Jesus and become Christians), and is a bondage upon them only because it was made a part of God’s Covenant with that nation. That Covenant was to give them certain special and exclusive blessings – if they would keep it; and certain punishments if they would not keep it. As to the Gentiles, they have been more or less a Law unto themselves, regulated somewhat by the exacting laws of nature, and the sins of the fathers have been visited upon the third and fourth generation. (Ex. 20:5) Most of us have witnessed some of the terrible results of such visitation, but we shall not discuss them here.
However, we make note here once more that none of the Jews received the blessings promised by that Law – because none of them could keep it, try as some of them honestly did. St. Paul says of himself that he was “a Pharisee of the Pharisees”; and of the three prominent sects in Israel – the Pharisees, the Saducees and the Essenes – the Pharisees were most zealous in their attempt to keep the Law. But, as the great Apostle says of himself – What he thought was life unto life for him, proved death unto death unto him. Thus, we find in his writings, as above described, why he was so outspoken in his discussions regarding the inability of the Jews to keep that Law. And Jesus Himself had said unto them, “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” (John 7:19) But we would add here also that those Ancient Worthies who strove faithfully and loyally to keep the Law will in due time receive their reward therefor. (Heb. 11:38-40)
THREE COMMANDMENTS FOR CHRISTIANS
Followers of Jesus from amongst the Gentiles – true Christians – never were under the Law of Moses. Such come into God’s family under a different covenant – the one which reads, “Gather my saints together unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5) Jesus, after keeping fully all the conditions and requirements of the Law Covenant – under which He was born – was permitted to respond to this Covenant of Sacrifice. He was the first, the Chief, the Head of the Household of Saints who entered into this covenant of sacrifice with God – agreeing to sacrifice His earthly life and all its rights in the doing of the Father’s will even unto death. It was His faithfulness in this that gained for Him the better resurrection to glory, honor and immortality.
THE FIRST AND SECOND COMMANDS
Speaking of the spirit of the Law, applicable to angels, to the world of mankind, and to Christians, Jesus declared it to be briefly comprehended in two commandments. The first of these is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, being and strength.” The second is, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Every Christian and every angel recognizes that law and feels a responsibility to it to the extent of his ability; but neither angels nor Christians are under the Law Covenant – that Covenant was made only with the nation of Israel.
Every follower of Jesus should realize that if he has enlisted under the banner of Divine righteousness and truth, he has pledged his very life in this service as a soldier of the cross. How then could he do less than his very best in loving and serving his heavenly Father with all his mind, being and strength? How could he decline the Divine requirement to love his neighbor as himself – to be kind, generous, and not selfish? True, he may find difficulty in devoting all of his mind and strength to the Lord, and in dealing in perfect fairness with all his fellow-creatures. But this is the true Christian’s desire and intention; and to accomplish this he must strive daily, and war a good warfare against his inherited and acquired weakness.
OUR THIRD COMMANDMENT
At first it might appear that the two commandments mentioned above include everything that could be required by justice; and so they do. Justice requires nothing more than what these two commands include. Why then a third one – a new one over and above anything required by justice? In answer we would reply that this third commandment is only to those who become the disciples of Jesus. He voluntarily put this regulation upon Himself, and offered His life sacrificially – something that was not justly required of Him.
Jesus, therefore, did more than the Mosaic Law required of Him. Therefore, when explaining to His disciples what would be required of them – something which would grant them a share in His kingdom – He declared a third commandment: “A new commandment I give unto you – that ye love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) This was a part of His last comments to them the night before He died on the cross. St. Paul points out that Christ loved us to the extent of dying for us – “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” – and “Ye are my friends.” Thus all of the true followers of Jesus – Christians to the fullest degree – should likewise count it a joy and a privilege to lay down their lives in the service of their brethren. “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21); “We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)
This commandment goes far beyond the requirements of the Mosaic Law – a law of strict justice toward all men. But toward those of our brethren in the Household of Faith we must go beyond the strict requirements of justice: We are to love them, as He loved us, and gave Himself for us. This may at first seem an easy matter; but, when we consider that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called (to be “footstep followers”)... but God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (l Cor. 1:26, 27); then it becomes much easier for us to understand this third commandment. Jesus Himself was far superior to those humble fishermen He had attracted unto Himself; yet St. Paul tells us, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb. 2:11) “Hereby we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (1 John 3:14) This sort of conduct is not even mentioned in the Law at all. The Ten Commandments are a very far step below the “new commandment,” which Jesus gave the night before He died; and a proper appraisal of this point will enable us readily to analyze properly the Law of Moses and place it in proper perspective with the “new commandment” given us by Jesus. We must remember that a faithful Christian not only keeps the moral laws of the Ten Commandments to the best of his ability, but in addition to that he should live above the Law of justice, sacrificing his all in the service of the Lord, the Truth and the brethren. No one is commanded to do that except those who have made a “covenant by sacrifice” with God.
GOD’S GREAT COVENANTS
The Old Testament offers three great covenants between God and man. The first of these was the oath-bound covenant made with Abraham: “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, because ... thou hast not withheld thy son ... In blessing I will bless thee, .... thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the seashore ... And in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:15-18) Of the three covenants, this one is the only unilateral covenant. Herein God promises to do certain things without demanding any agreement of price or cooperation. Also, we should keep in mind that at the time this covenant was declared there was no written Bible. That did not come until Sinai, the Law Covenant made with Moses as Mediator. And the third is the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). Thus, Abraham had no written precedent for what he did simply because the angel of God told him to do it.
St. Paul writes of Abraham that he was “the father of the faithful” (Rom. 4:16), and that faith would be the justifier of all who followed in his steps. Also in Rom. 4:15 the same Apostle says “the Law (of Moses) worketh wrath” to all who seek justification under it. Paul eulogizes this unilateral covenant with Abraham (which should eventually bless us all through faith): “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swear by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee.” (Heb. 6:13, 14)
But there was some purpose in the Law Covenant, and let us not overlook that: It not only manifested the pathetic weakness of the Jews, but it also provided certain typical transactions and prophecies, which benefited the Jews; but benefited even moreso those who would accept Jesus – become Christians – during this Gospel Age.
The Abrahamic Covenant needed no mediator; it was unilateral and self-sufficient. But such was not the case with the Law Covenant. Moses mediated that covenant, because it offered certain advantages to the Jews, as it also required from them certain compliances – which they promised to do, but were unable to comply because of their inherited weaknesses. Moses – great intellect and grand character that he was – recognized this vaguely; and St. Peter comments on this in Acts 3:22,23: “Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me (Jesus primarily, and those who would truthfully and faithfully join His Christian army); him shall ye hear.” That “prophet” has been developing during this Gospel Age, but will not become operative in its grandest fullest sense until the New Covenant is established, with the Christ as Mediator a better, a perfect antitype of Moses at Sinai.
The New Covenant will have a Mediator until all Adam’s race will have been perfected physically. At the beginning of the Little Season the Mediator will step out and the perfected race will stand trial for life or death as did Adam. All found worthy of eternal life will be a king – “inherit the kingdom.” (Matt. 25:34) That Kingdom which begins at the start of the Millennial reign under the New Covenant, will continue throughout all eternity. There will be no need of an additional New Covenant after the earth is restored to its Edenic condition – just as there would have been no need of any other Covenants if Adam had not violated his obligation in Eden; God had emphatically told him, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” But when the New Covenant has accomplished its purpose, “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, or crying... for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)
However, during the progress of that reign, until it has fully accomplished its purposes the world will be under a Mediator – exactly as was the case with Israel – except that the Mediator will accomplish what Moses could not do. Then, “The spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17) During the Mediatorial reign the Mediator – better than Moses – will have absolute control of the whole human family. It will be an absolute monarchy; but a benevolent monarchy. “There shall be no night (error) there ... The Lord giveth them light.” (Rev. 22:5)
BY ONE MAN’S DISOBEDIENCE
“By one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men.” Here is a clear statement that we are all dying, but not because of anything specially that we have done; it is something we have inherited. Therefore, the Apostle states further, “Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” Adam knowingly invited the sentence of death – something none of us have done. But there is provided a way of escape for all of us: “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19)
Clearly enough, each of us will have an individual chance, a trial for everlasting life – free from the injury that “passed-upon us” through the transgression in Eden. Full provision has been made for this – Christ tasted “death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) The “due time” for some for this has been in this Gospel (Good News) Age; but for the large majority it will be in the next Age – when the Kingdom reign will eliminate all the evil that has been passed on to us.
In the next Age those only will die who have had a full trial, based upon their own cooperation and choosing. They will be the unconverted, those who willfully and knowingly prefer evil to good. But none will die because of ignorance – as is the case with so many now. And along with their education will come the ability to obey – which to obey perfectly is beyond all of us in this Age. One of the finest intellects of this Age said of himself, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom. 7:21) And all of us may say the same!
The same Apostle also wrote, “God desires all men to be saved, and to come to an accurate knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4, Dia.) In Isa. 65:20 we are told that “the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Thus all will be given a hundred years to make some progress toward perfection; but those who reject that hundred-years trial will be considered hopeless – “shall be accursed.” There are still many in Christendom who believe that those “accursed” ones will be sentenced to an eternity of torment in the fires of Hell, but a little reflection will dislodge that belief. None of us are here because of anything we have done – “the gift of God is life” (Ram. 6:23). To offer a practical example easy of understanding, we might suggest that a wealthy man would give a poor one $25,000, which he would expect the recipient to use wisely. But, instead, the recipient embarks upon a spree of hilarity and debauchery very displeasing to the donor. However, since the $25,000 was not invited by the poor man, the only reasonable and fair way for the giver would be to ask for the return of what is left of the $25,000. And that is exactly what the Lord will do with willful sinners: “The wages of sin is death,” (Rom. 6:23) This statement leaves no logical argument against it!
Such willful sinners are described as the messengers of Satan and sin; and all such will go into eternal extinction – they will die the second death, from which there will be no resurrection. The whole “plan” of salvation is designed to rescue all who will be amenable to it. “According to the eternal purpose which he hath purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:11) Note now the Diaglott translation of this same text: “According to a plan of the ages, which he formed for the anointed Jesus our Lord.”
SUMMARY OF THE THREE GREAT COVENANTS
As stated, the Abrahamic Covenant is first in order of time and importance. This covenant has two parts. The first applies to the spiritual seed of Abraham, the Christ, head and body – the antitype of Isaac (“We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (Gal. 4:28); or, in another figure, of Isaac and Rebecca. These are the seed of Abraham – the seed of promise – not fleshly, but spiritual.
The second part of that covenant applies to the world of mankind – “all the families of the earth.” These are to be blessed by the spiritual seed with an opportunity of becoming Abraham’s natural seed, and heirs with him, of the earth and the fullness thereof. The conditions upon which they may obtain God’s favor, and a restitution to all that was lost, are that they shall exercise faith, and render obedience to the Divine provision which shall be represented in Messiah’s kingdom, when it shall be inaugurated.
The seed of Abraham – Jesus and the Church, His Body – is the legitimate heir of this Abrahamic Covenant, wholly regardless of the Law Covenant, which was made with Israel at Sinai, or of the New Law Covenant that is to be made with Israel at the close of the Gospel Age – after Jacob’s Trouble has run its full course, and the new Kingdom is officially declared at Jerusalem. As stated, the Law Covenant and the New Covenant are essentially different from the Abrahamic Covenant, in that the Abrahamic Covenant – the first covenant – is unilateral, whereas the last two are bilateral – a fact that is well to keep in mind at all times. Also, the Abrahamic Covenant had no mediator; but the Law Covenant had Moses as its mediator, and the New Law Covenant will have Messiah – the spiritual heir of the Abrahamic Covenant – as its Mediator.
The Abrahamic Covenant needed no mediator; for there are no terms and conditions upon which to base a mediation. In it God merely declared His purpose to develop a seed of Abraham, by certain selective processes of His own, and to bless and honor this seed in connection with the remainder of mankind. This selective seed of Abraham, as the Apostle points out, is Christ and the Church – God’s elect. (Gal. 3:8,16, 29; Rom. 8:29, 30) This selective process has been proceeding during this entire Gospel Age; and is now nearing its final declaration and completion.
SECOND AND THIRD COVENANTS – TYPE AND ANTITYPE
The second covenant, in order of time, was the Law Covenant. (Ex. 19:3-8) It was an addition to the Abrahamic Covenant, which addition, however, did not interfere with the original covenant. It was typical – typical mediator (Moses) – typical sacrifices of Bulls and goats, a typical Atonement Day, a typical Holy and Most Holy in the tabernacle made with hands.
The third and last is the New Law Covenant – to be instituted in the future. (Heb. 8:6-13) This will not set aside, or make null or void, the original Abrahamic Covenant of grace, any more than could the Law Covenant of Sinai. However, the New Law Covenant cannot be introduced, sealed, made operative, until the Abrahamic Covenant shall have produced the seed of Abraham and invested Him with glory, honor and Divine majesty. Then this antitypical Moses – the Christ complete, Head and Body – will mediate between God and the world of mankind for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4) The basis of this New Covenant’s blessings will be the merit of Jesus (the Messiah) – as against the blood of bulls and goats in the Law Covenant. But this merit will not become operative and institute restitution (Acts 3:19-21) until first the entire seed of Abraham – Head and Body shall be complete; and it cannot be completed until all the sacrificing has been completed – in exact duplication of the sacrifices of the Law Covenant. In this New Covenant the Head was completed over nineteen hundred years ago – typified by the bullock of the Atonement Day sacrifices of Israel. The sacrifice of the antitypical goat (Lev. 16:8 – “one goat for the Lord” – the Little Flock, His body) has been going on all during this Age since the year 33 A.D., and is just about completed.
Very shortly after this sacrificing has been completed there will be ushered in the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom – “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” These blessings will be secured to mankind by the great Mediator’s application of His sacrifice on their behalf. Then the “Lord’s Prayer” will have its answer! “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it. Then indeed it will be, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
MORE ON THE SEVENTH DAY – Reasonable people, regardless of their religious convictions, are ready to admit the wisdom, the expediency, yea, the necessity, for a Sabbath day, a day of rest once a week. But those of us who are not Jews by nature and not under the Law Covenant are not bound by its limitation that the Sabbath should be on the seventh day of the week. Indeed, neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever placed the Gospel Church under the Law Covenant at all. They tell us that those under it were the “house of servants” in bondage, and that we are the “house of sons,” if we “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”
This does not mean liberty or freedom to do wrong. But since Christians are not limited to the land of Palestine, it leaves us free to follow the spirit of the Law rather than its letter. This is true of the entire Ten Commandments, as well as of the fourth. The Heavenly Father does not address His children of the Gospel Age with commandments not to kill, not to steal, etc., because such commandments to them would be unnecessary. They love God and reverence Him alone, and would not think of homaging images, nor of profaning the Holy Name, nor of doing injury to a neighbor or a brother. Faithful Christians’ love for God would lead them to honor His Name, to serve His Cause. And their love for their neighbor as for themselves would prompt them to render him service – “doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the Household of Faith.” (Gal. 6:10) All the faithful in other groups also are of the Household of Faith, and therefore are our brethren, regardless of our differences of opinion regarding the Word of God. This love, the Apostle assures us, is the fulfillment of the Law, so far as we are concerned – the fulfilling of the spirit of the Law – for “ye are not under the Law (Covenant), but under (the) Grace (Covenant).” (Rom. 6:14; Gal. 3:29)
There is this in the Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. One, p. 45: “The Decalogue is a brief synopsis of the whole law. Those Ten Commandments enjoin a code of worship and morals that must strike every student as remarkable; and if never before known, and now found among the ruins and relics of Greece, or Rome, or Babylon (nations which have risen and fallen again, long since those laws were given), they would be regarded as marvelous if not supernatural. But familiarity with them and their claims has begotten measurable indifference, so that their real greatness is unnoticed except by the few. True, those commandments do not teach of Christ; but they were given, not to Christians, but to the Hebrews; not to teach faith in a ransom, but to convince men of their sinful state, and need of a ransom. And the substance of those commandments was grandly epitomized by the illustrious founder of Christianity, in the words: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, and with all thy strength’; and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ (Mark 12:30,31)”
In this connection, we consider a little more from Col. 2:14, Dia.: “ordinances which was against us.” We stress here that the “us” in this text refers exclusively to the Jews, and to no others. But to those who accepted Christ that “handwriting” was lifted from them, although it did not do so to those Jews who refused to accept Him. Thus those Ten Commandments were not abolished, nor will they ever be abolished. When the New Covenant is inaugurated, those same ten “Words” will be the basis for that Covenant. During that Kingdom, “He shall send Jesus Christ...... Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (see Acts 3:19-21) Mankind will then be fully able to keep that Law, because they will have perfect bodies and minds before they are required to do so – exactly as was Adam before his transgression, and exactly as was Jesus when He was here. So when He said, I come to “fulfill the Law,” He was telling us that He could do it; but at no time did He ever tell His Disciples that they too should keep the Law, because He knew they were unable to do so.
It is our fond hope that our two articles on the Law of Moses have been informative and a blessing to all our readers. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean NOT TO THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING.” (Prov. 3:5)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim