Vol. 9, No. 4
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4. Where was the Law given? Again you are urged to read Deuteronomy 5:2. "Jehovah our God made a covenant with us in Horeb." The terms "Horeb" and "Sinai" refer to the same location in the southern part of the peninsula located between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Akabah. "Sinai" is mentioned as a desert and a mountain in 35 passages of the Old Testament. In 17 passages the same desert and mountain are called "Horeb" or "the waste." Thus, to speak of "Horeb" is to speak of "Sinai" with reference to where the Law of Moses was given.
5. What was Christ's relationship to the Law of Moses? Jesus Christ was submissive to the Law of Moses that was in force during his earthly voyage. In Galatians 4:4-5, we learn, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Jesus was indeed born of the virgin Mary and the time period in which he was born was during the Law of Moses; therefore, he was under obligation to his Father to keep the Law in perfection.
Let's observe the attitude of Christ toward the Law of Moses as we read now from Matthew 5:17-18. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 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." So Jesus respected the Law and held it in high esteem. His purpose was not to "destroy the law." He came to fulfill the Law and the prophets. This passage of Scripture does not teach that the Law of Moses was never to cease; rather, the very context speaks of the time when the Law would pass away, that is, when all things would be fulfilled.
In connection with this thought, it would be good to read from Luke 24:44. "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." Jesus spoke these words just prior to his Ascension back to the Father. In short, the things spoken of Jesus in the Old Testament had to be fulfilled. And they were, in the life, death, burial, resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. When such was fulfilled or filled full, the Law of Moses was taken away.
One of the seven sayings of Jesus while on the cross was, "It is finished" (John 19:30). There are approximately 300 different prophecies in the Old Testament relative to Jesus Christ. The Lord came to this earth and filled all of them. Jesus lived and died under the Law of Moses. He kept it in perfection. He never arrayed himself against the law. He taught that man should keep it as God decreed. But when Jesus died on Calvary, the Law of Moses was abrogated, that is, it was abolished, annulled and repealed. This is exactly what the apostle Paul taught in Colossians 2:14. "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 his cross."
6. How long was the Law of Moses to continue? The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:19, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made." The law had not always been in existence. It was, in fact, temporary in scope. Notice the expression, "It was added." There had been other covenants prior to this one made with the Israelites. For example God had made a covenant with Abraham as recorded in Genesis 12:1-3. Observe also that Paul stated that the Law was to last "till the seed should come." Galatians 3:16 teaches that the "seed" was Christ. Therefore the law was to last until Christ came and fulfilled the law and the prophets (Luke 24:44).
Again we read from Galatians 3:24-25, "Wherefore 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." In Hebrew customs, the schoolmaster (or tutor) was the man who prepared the Jewish boys and then carried them to the place of instruction by their teachers. The schoolmaster (tutor) was not the true teacher, but only the one who brought the children to the instructor. Paul said that the law was a schoolmaster that brought the Jewish people to Christ in order that they might be justified by faith in Him. Then he said: "Now that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
In short, Paul is teaching here that people were no longer in subjection to the Law (schoolmaster). Another important passage that teaches that the Law of Moses is no longer in force is found in Hebrews 9:15-17. "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament 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." The writer herein declares that Jesus shed his blood, not only for us today, but that he shed his blood for those faithful under the first testament.
Also Jesus is depicted in this passage as the testator of a will. While the Lord lived he was in submission to the law of Moses; however, Jesus was making out his testament during the time when he chose 12 men to become his apostles. After his death, the testament of Jesus was probated in the high court of heaven and executed by his holy apostles. Today we are to be governed by the writings found in the last will and testament of Jesus Christ.
Peter proposed to build three tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration, one for Moses (representing the Law), one for Elijah (representing the prophets) and one for Christ. God the Father then declared: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matthew 17:5). In summation, we have observed the following points concerning our relationship to the Law of Moses:
a. That the Law was given only to the Hebrew nation (Deuteronomy 5:1-3). b. The Law was given to Israel shortly after its departure from Egyptian bondage (Hebrews 8:7-9). c. The location where the Law was given to Israel was in Horeb (Sinai) (Deuteronomy 5:2). d. The basic reason why the law was given was because of sin (Galatians 3:19). e. We observed also that Christ's relationship to the Law of Moses was one of respect and submission. Jesus came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it (Galatians 3:16, 19; Colossians 2:14). Today, we are to listen to the Son of God and not to Moses. Jesus left his New Testament for us to learn and to follow (Matthew 7:15-17).
7. A warning given by the apostle Paul. In Galatians 5:1-3 we read: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Please note that Paul referred to the Law of Moses as being "the yoke of bondage" in contrast to the "liberty" in Christ. Some were endeavoring to bind circumcision upon New Testament Christians, and Paul stated the principle that if we go back to the Law for one thing to bind upon Christians, we are debtors to keep the whole Law and that would include offering animal sacrifices, keeping the Sabbath Day with all its restrictions and attending all the required feasts in the city of Jerusalem, etc. In other words, one can't have a part of the Law without keeping all the Law.
In conclusion, the apostle Paul made it absolutely clear that if any person would try to justify himself by the Law during the Christian age, he is "fallen from grace." That statement is too plain to be misunderstood. A Christian can fall from grace, and one way to do it is trying to bind and keep the Law of Moses today. The New Testament of Jesus Christ is the sole authority in religious matters today. All the books of the Bible are inspired of God (2 timothy 3:16-17); however, our relationship to the Law of Moses as contained in the Old Testament is different from that of the Israelite who lived under that covenant. If we would know God's will for us, we must study the words of his Son Jesus Christ as contained in the New Testament.