Saturday, February 19, 2011

Proof That The Old Covenant Stood Before The Cross and Fell After The Cross.

Following is an article by Sal @ Sal's specialty is answering questions regarding Seventh-day Adventism from a Biblical perspective. He gave me permission to post this 'question and answer' dialog on my blog.  Thanks again Sal!

Expert: Sal - 2/10/2011

Brother Sal -

On 1/2/2011, you stated, "If you would like I can prove from the Bible that the Old Covenant was one covenant containing moral, civil, and ceremonial laws all of which stood together before the cross and fell together after the cross."

Brother Sal, please prove this for me.  I truly appreciate your time and effort and the many years you have served Jesus Christ by answering people's questions.  - Brother Steve


Dear Brother Steve:

In Scripture, the Law of Moses is always spoken of as one unit comprised of 613 commandments. The purpose of this Old Covenant Law was to reveal God’s standard of righteousness and man’s sinfulness. This in turn teaches man that he needs a substitutionary atonement—a savior. The Old Covenant Law was a monitor over one immature in faith. When one moves to a mature faith, characterized by accepting the finished work of Christ, that person is no longer in the monitor’s charge (see Galatians 3:23-25). Therefore, the monitor has reached its goal and is dismissed. The entire Old Covenant Law becomes obsolete and the Christian comes under the Law of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2).

Even the SDAs realize that the vast majority of the Old Covenant laws are obsolete in the New Covenant. In the hope of salvaging their Sabbath keeping, sabbatarians try to force distinctions on the Mosaic Laws. The usual distinctions invented are to call some moral laws (the Ten Commandments), some ceremonial, and some legal or civil. The reason for these unbiblical categories is so that they can claim that Christians are not under the ceremonial or civil laws, but are still under the Ten Commandments especially the Sabbath.

It is crucial for the serious student of the Bible to understand that the Mosaic or Old Covenant laws, all 613 commands, are viewed as one unit in the Bible. The Bible nowhere gives us permission to separate the laws of the Old Covenant. The word “law” (Torah in Hebrew & Nomos in the Greek) when applied to the Mosaic or Old Covenant Law is always singular even though it contains 613 separate commandments. For example, “This is the law which Moses set before the Israelites. These are the ordinances, statutes, and decrees which he proclaimed to them when they came out of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 4:44-45). Clearly “the law” here is all 613 laws not just the Decalogue. “Then were read aloud all the words of the law, the blessings and the curses, exactly as written in the book of the law. Every single word that Moses had commanded, Joshua read aloud…” (Joshua 8:34-35). Again all the law without separation is referred to. “Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the Law of Moses…” (1 Kings 2:3). All the requirements are the Law. One final example of many, “Many nations will come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths’.  The Law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:2). Other passages showing that the Law of the Old Covenant is one unit include Leviticus 18:5; 24:22; Deuteronomy 4:1, 5, 8; 6:25; 31:12-13; 28:58; Joshua 1:7-8; 2 Kings 17:3; 18:12; 21:8; 23:25; 1 Chronicles 16:40; 2 Chronicles 33:8; Ezra 7:6; Psalm 78:5; 119:1, 55, 108, 137, 174; 147:20; Proverbs 31:4-5; Isaiah 5:24; Jeremiah 18:18; Lamentations 2:9; Ezekiel 7:26; Hosea 4:6; Amos 2:4; Habakkuk 1:4; Zephaniah 3:4; Zechariah 7:12; Malachi 2:9; Mark 15:31; John 1:17; Acts 13:39; Galatians 3:10; Ephesians 2:14-15; I Timothy 1:7-8; Titus 3:9; Hebrews 10:28; James 2:10.

The idea that the Law of the Lord equals the Ten Commandments and that the Law of Moses equals the now obsolete ceremonial law is not supported by Scripture. The ceremonial law is called “the Law of the Lord” numerous times in Scripture. “From his own wealth the king allotted a portion for holocausts, those of morning and evening and those on Sabbaths, new moons and festivals, as prescribed in the law of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 31:3). This obvious reference to the ceremonial laws (weekly, monthly, yearly sequence) is called the Law of the Lord and not that of Moses as the SDA thesis requires. In Nehemiah 8 we have the example of the “Law of Moses” and the “Law of the God” being used to refer to the same books. “…they called upon Ezra the scribe to bring forth the book of the law of Moses…” (v.1). “Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God…” (v. 8). In a clear reference to the ceremonial law we read, “They found it written in the law prescribed by the Lord through Moses that the Israelites must dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month” (v. 14; see Leviticus 23:33-36). From what book was this read? “Ezra read from the book of the law of God…” (v.18). This passage from Nehemiah 8 uses the two terms in question interchangeably. Other passages where the ceremonial law is called the Law of the Lord/God are Exodus 13:7-9; 1 Chronicles 16:40; 2 Chronicles 31:3-4.

In the New Testament we read from the lips of our Lord, “Have you not read in the Law how the priests on temple duty break the Sabbath rest without incurring guilt?” (Matthew 12:5). This is a clear reference to the ceremonial law called by Jesus “the Law”. This indicates that Jesus considered the Old Covenant Law to be one inseparable unit—the Law. When Jesus was asked which of the commandments of the Law was the greatest he quoted two commandments neither of which was from the so-called moral law, that is the Ten Commandments (see Matthew 22:34-40). Instead he quoted from the so-called ceremonial or civil law (see Deuteronomy 6:5 & Leviticus 19:18). Again it seems that Jesus understood the Mosaic Law to be one inseparable unit. One final New Testament example, “When the day came to purify them according to the law of Moses, the couple brought him up to Jerusalem so that he could be presented to the Lord, for it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every first born male shall be consecrated to the Lord’. They came to offer in sacrifice ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons’, in accord with the dictates in the law of the Lord (Luke 2:22-24). Here we see once again the Law of Moses and the Law of the Lord equated. The ceremonial law is clearly in view, as also can be seen in Luke 2:39, and is referred to as the “Law of the Lord.”

The obvious truth is that the Bible never even once makes any distinction in terms of the Law between one moral and one ceremonial. On the contrary the 613 laws of the Old Covenant are always viewed as one unit. This helps to explain why we read, “Cursed be he who fails to fulfill any of the provisions of this law!” (Deuteronomy 27:26). “It is written, ‘Cursed is he who does not abide by everything written in the book of the law and carry it out’” (Galatians 3:10). “Whoever falls into sin on one point of the Law, even though he keeps the entire remainder, he has become guilty on all counts” (James 2:10). These Scripture makes perfect sense if the Law is one inseparable unit. The Old Testament has over 200 references to the Law. The much shorter New Testament has almost 200 references. The New Testament is full of discussions on the Law. Yet in all of these discussions never is the observance of the Ten Commandments mentioned as necessary for Christians. It is never stated to be our standard. The reason is simply because the Ten Commandments were treated as 10 of the 613 commandments God gave the Israelites through Moses. The New Testament is very clear that the entire Old Covenant is no longer binding on Christians. We have a new covenant. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25). “When he says, ‘a new covenant’, he declares the first one obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13). In the New Covenant we are obliged to follow a much higher moral standard (see Matthew 5:20-48). The New Testament appeals to Jesus when telling us to be moral, it never appeals to any of the Ten Commandments (see 1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

In conclusion, the Bible knows nothing of the man-made divisions of the Old Covenant Law. It is all one unit all of which has become obsolete.  

I hope this answers your question. If I can be of further help please let me know.

God Bless You,
Brother Sal 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much brother for posting this. I also had the same question in mind and your blog got me the answer I wanted. God bless you.