“THE LAW WAS GIVEN BY MOSES” John 1:17.
“Death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Romans 5:13. “From Adam to Moses” is a period of time designated in God’s Word. “From Moses to Christ” is another specific period suggested in Galatians 3:24 and 25; “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” So death reigned from Adam to Moses. The Law reigned from Moses to Christ and that Law worked death to the sinner. Romans 7:13. The Law was the ministration of death and condemnation. II Corinthians 3:7 and 9. Sin is the transgression of the Law. The strength of sin is the Law. The Law is just. Romans 7:12. The sinner is unjust. By the deeds of the Law no flesh shall be justified in God’s sight; for by the Law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20.
Let us study the “Law Dispensation” in the light of the several Scriptures we shall quote. From these Scriptures we shall see that the Law entered that the offense might abound. Romans 5:20. We shall see the time and purpose of the giving of the Law to Israel, and why it was weak through the flesh, and why God found fault with Israel under the Law, and why God’s Son was made under the Law to redeem them that were under the Law. Romans 8:3 … Hebrews 8:8 and Galatians 4:4 and 5.
I. “THE LAW WAS ADDED BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSION TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME.” Galatians 3:19.
II. “FOR THE 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 YEAR BY YEAR CONTINUALLY MAKE THE COMERS THEREUNTO PERFECT. FOR THEN WOULD THEY NOT HAVE CEASED TO BE OFFERED? BECAUSE THAT THE WORSHIPPERS ONCE PURGED SHOULD HAVE HAD NO MORE CONSCIENCE OF SINS. BUT IN THOSE SACRIFICES THERE IS A REMEMBRANCE AGAIN MADE OF SINS EVERY YEAR. Hebrews 10:1 to 3.
III. “FOR THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, BUT THE BRINGING IN OF A BETTER HOPE DID BY THE WHICH WE DRAW NIGH UNTO GOD.” Hebrews 7:19.
IV. “FOR CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.” Romans 10:4.
I. . . . “THE LAW WAS ADDED.”
The Law was given by Moses. Jehovah added the Law by Moses. Moses was eighty years old when the Law was added. Exodus 7:7. Moses was chosen by Jehovah to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt about 1492 B.C. The Covenant that God made with the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai is called the “Old Covenant.” Jeremiah 31:31 to 34. Hebrews 8:6 to 9. Four hundred and thirty years before God made that Old Covenant with Israel through Moses, God made the Covenant of Promise with Abram. “The promise that he should be heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Romans 4:13. The Law that was added 430 years after the Covenant of Promise did not and could not make the promise of none effect. Galatians 3:17. The “Covenant of Promise” is still effective; but the “Law Covenant” has been abolished. “Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13. II Corinthians 3:11 and 13. Therefore the “Law Covenant” or the “Law Dispensation” was temporary; that is, from Sinai to Calvary. We shall see in a later lesson that there was an overlapping period for a few years after the death of Christ when the Jews which believed were still zealous of the Law. But on the Cross, when the Son of God died, the handwriting of ordinances was taken out of the way: it was nailed to His Cross. Colossians 2:14. There Christ broke down the middle wall of partition between Israel and the nations, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, the Law of commandments in ordinances. Ephesians 2:15.
The Law was added to the Gospel contained in the Promise made to Abraham and His seed. Galatians 3:8. So Moses lived eighty years before there was an Old Testament or Covenant; and then He lived forty years under the Old Covenant. Deuteronomy 34:7. So Moses lived in two dispensations; before and after the Law was given. We must be careful, if we would rightly divide the Word of truth, not to confuse the “Law Covenant” which has been abolished, with the “Promise Covenant”, preached before, which is still effective. We must likewise be careful not to fix the end of the “Old Covenant” with the birth of Jesus Christ, or even thirty years later, with the beginning of His public ministry, as so many have done. How erroneous it is to fix the beginning of the “Old Covenant” with the First Chapter of Genesis and the beginning of the “New Covenant” with the First Chapter of Matthew.
No, sin entered by Adam, and sin and death were in the world from Adam to Moses, “when there is no law.” Romans 5:13. But it was about 2500 years after God stated to Adam the Law of Sin and Death, that the Law was given by Moses about 1492 B.C. It was at that time that the Law entered that the offense that entered by Adam might abound. What misunderstandings and misinterpretations of God’s Book there have been by dealing with Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and Jacob’s twelve sons as “Old Testament” characters. Every one of Jacob’s twelve sons had died before the Law was added to the Covenant of Promise. “It was added till”. Till when? Till it was taken out of the way. Till it was abolished. Till Christ became the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth. God sent forth His Son, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law. Galatians 4:4.
“And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament (Covenant), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the First Covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a Testament (Covenant) is, there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator. For a Testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the Testator liveth. Whereupon neither the First Covenant was dedicated without blood . . . But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:14 to 18.
II . . . “THE LAW HAVING A SHADOW . . . IN THOSE SACRIFICES THERE IS A REMEMBRANCE AGAIN MADE OF SINS EVERY YEAR.”
“LET NO MAN THEREFORE JUDGE YOU IN MEAT, OR IN DRINK, OR IN RESPECT OF A HOLYDAY, OR OF THE NEW MOON, OR OF THE SABBATH . . . WHICH ARE A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME; BUT THE BODY OF CHRIST.” Colossians 2:16 and 17.
When we turn to the first five chapters of Leviticus, we read of Israel’s five offerings given them under the Law. The Burnt Offering, the Meat or Meal Offering, the Peace Offering, the Trespass Offering and the Sin Offering, all pointing to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the record of the giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai, in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, and then follows God’s instructions and orders as to the construction and erection of His Sanctuary and Tabernacle, with the outer court, the holy place and most holy place, and the service in connection therewith given into the hands of Aaron and the Levites, all pointing forward to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was God’s true sanctuary. He became flesh and tabernacled among us.
“And he (the priest) shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.” Leviticus 16:33 and 34.
It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin. Hebrews 10:4. “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.” Hebrews 10:12. “Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others; For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the ages hath He (Christ) appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”’ Hebrews 9:25 and 26.
In the shadow of the cross the Lord Jesus said, “This is my blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28.
Then Israel’s Tabernacle, with its sacrifices and service was a figure. Hebrews 9:9. “In meats and drinks, and divers baptisms, and carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:10. Thus we learn that as the Law was added till Christ cried on the cross, “Finished”—when the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom—so with the Law, Israel’s religion was added until the time of reformation. That time has long since passed and so there is no place today in the program of God for the Jews’ religion. All Israelites were Jews by religion, if not Jews’ by birth. And even Gentiles became Jews by religion. Esther 8:17. The Jews were converted, together with Proselytes, from Judaism to Christianity, from Moses to Christ. The Gentile were turned to Christ from paganism without going by the way of Moses and the Law. Now believing Jews and Gentiles are dead to the Law, by the body of Christ. Romans 7:4. “Ye are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:25. Surely no Christian should desire to go back to the Shadow when he has Christ, who has done for him what the Law could not do. The Law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Under the Old Testament God said I will meet with you from above the mercy seat. It was sprinkled with blood. Exodus 25:22. Leviticus 16:15. Now God meets the believer “in Christ”.
“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole Law.” Galatians 5:3. Circumcision was instituted in Abram’s home about 1900 B.C. Genesis 17:6 to 12, Circumcision was to Abraham the seal of the righteousness which he had yet being uncircumcised. Romans 4:11. In the language of Christ, recorded in John 7:22, “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers).” Inasmuch as circumcision was practiced 406 years before the Old Covenant was given, it is not Scripturally true to say that circumcision began with the Old Covenant, but with the Covenant of Promise. It is not Scripturally true to say that circumcision was done away with by the teaching of Christ while He was on earth.
There were certain sabbaths given to Israel in connection with the annual feasts of Jehovah, mentioned in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus, “Passover” on the fourteenth day of April, and in connection therewith the Feasts of “Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits,” then about the First of June, “Pentecost,” then in October, “Trumpets” followed by “Atonement” and “Tabernacles.” But there was a Seventh Day Sabbath given with the Ten Commandments, being one of them. Concerning the Sabbath, Jehovah said “observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” “A sign between me and the children of Israel forever.” Exodus 31:16 and 17. Which then is the sign of the Old Covenant, circumcision or the Sabbath? Both of them were taken away at Calvary. Christ took Israel’s Sabbath to the sepulchre with Him. Under the Law Israel had the Sabbath but no rest. In Christ the believer has rest but no Sabbath. Since the giving of the Law there have been two places Divinely appointed, “Under the Law” and “in Christ.” You cannot be “In Christ” and “Under the Law.” To be “in Christ” is to be dead to the Law and not under the Law. Romans 7:4 and 5; Romans 6:14.
III . . . THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, BUT THE BRINGING IN OF A BETTER HOPE.”
“The Lord Jesus Christ, which is our Hope.” I Timothy 1:1. “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14. The Epistle to the Hebrews is the Book of “Better things. The word “Better” is used thirteen times in the Epistle. In and by Christ are the better things, the better covenant, the better sacrifice, the better resurrection. The Law is just; but by the Law God could not justify a sinner. The Law is perfect; but it made nothing perfect. The Law was weak through the flesh. Romans 8:3. The strength of sin is the Law; and by the Law the whole world is guilty before God. I Corinthians 15:56. Romans 3:19. “Because the Law worketh wrath.” Romans 4:15. The Law was a yoke which neither Israel nor the Gentiles could bear. Acts 15:10. “They could not endure that which was spoken (at Sinai).” Hebrews 12:20. Man would have to be born with a sinless nature and be wholly rid of his sinful nature in order to perfectly keep the perfect Law of God. But man by natural birth is imperfect and wholly unable to perfectly keep God’s perfect Law, which he would have to do to be perfect, or prove that he was perfect. Christ did.
“But God who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with Christ . . . BY GRACE YE ARE SAVED.” Ephesians 2:4 and 5. Salvation then is not because of what man could or could not do with God’s Law, but because of God’s mercy, love and grace. He sent His Son from heaven to establish a new Law, “the Law of the Spirit of Life.” Romans 8:2. Christ had power to lay down His life; and He did. Christ had power to take up His life again; and He did. John 10:17 and 18. Thereby He abolished death and in the Gospel has brought life, with the guaranty of incorruptibility. II Timothy 1:9. The new Law can do for any and every sinner what the Old Law could do for no sinner. We might say that the Law and the Old Covenant were the same. How are the New Law and the New Covenant related?
When the Law was given at Sinai the people stood afar off, in fear of God. When Christ died on the cross He was made sin. There was darkness on the earth. His Father forsook Him in the hour of death. Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. Christ on that tree was made a curse to deliver law-breakers from the curse of the Law. Galatians 3:10 to 14. And by that work on the cross, the Lord has brought the blessing of Abraham to the Gentiles, righteousness by faith in Christ without works or religion. “But now in Christ ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.
Although no redeemed sinner can say, “I do always the things that please Him,” and must, if honest, confess, “Lord, I have done the things I should not have done and have left undone the things I should have done,” yet every redeemed sinner is perfect in Christ, accepted in Christ, complete in Christ, blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, without condemnation in Christ, the righteousness of God in Christ; that is, every believer has by God’s grace, in Christ, a perfect standing. The believer has passed out of death into life; he has eternal life; and he shall never come into condemnation. John 5:24. “He that believeth on Him is not condemned.” John 3:17 and 18.
The bringing in of the “Better Hope” has made believers perfect. Christ is in the believer, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27. By the omnipotent power of the indwelling Holy Spirit it is the privilege and duty of every believer to fulfill the righteousness of the Law by walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Romans 8:4.
IV . . . “CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.”
The end of our faith is the salvation of our souls. I Peter 1:11. The end of the Law is love. I Timothy 1:5. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” Romans 13:10. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Galatians 5:22. Christ is the end of the Law.
Love is the end of the Law. When we have reached the end, shall we go back? The Law demanded righteousness and love. Grace supplies righteousness and love by Christ and the Holy Spirit. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. Romans 5:5. “Against such there is no Law.” Galatians 5:23. The fruit of the Spirit is the fulfilling of the Law.
“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” Romans 4:6. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” Romans 10:10.
Christ on the cross was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21.
Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth By Adam was the entrance of sin. By Moses is the knowledge of sin. By Jesus Christ is the forgiveness of sin. Act 13:38 and 39. “By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.” Act 13:39.
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