Unbanned Bible Publications
Defending God’s Truth in Church Doctrine and Political History – Renette Vermeulen
OLD TESTAMENT LAW OR THE FIRST COVENANT WAS THE NATION OF OLD ISRAEL’S WAY TO GOD
To ensure the protection of its law-abiding citizens, every country’s code of conduct or governmental law has to dictate the appropriate punishment for a specific crime. No one can stand accused in court of law, simply apologise and go free, because that would lead to national and worldwide anarchy.
The offender will only go free once the verdict and it’s punishment are fully rendered.
For this reason, the Old Testament Hebrews had to keep the entire Old Testament Law. They were governed by the physical law of the land and punished by the law. The law could not be bent or broken, neither did mercy exist under the Old Testament law.
This was God’s dispensational Covenant for His physical nation; ruled by the outward, physical law.
Keeping the law was the Old Hebrew’s salvation, redemption and blessing.
Disobeying the law brought the entire curse of the law upon them, as described in Deut. 28.
God did not prescribe the Law to bring Old Israel into bondage or to make them His passive slaves. The Old Testament Law was designed to present to them a physical kingdom here on earth as well as a spiritual escape from their sinful, fallen, cursed position on this earth.
Both physically and spiritually, the Old Testament Covenant only foreshadowed that which was to come during the New Testament dispensation of grace in Jesus Christ: Deut. 28; Gal. 2:21; 3:10-14; Rom. 2:13; 3:21-26.
The Law showed the Old Israelites, and today all other believers from the Gentile or non-Hebrew nations as well, what the nature of sin really consists of, so that they can recognise sin in all its various forms and avoid it: Rom. 7:7.
Old Israel was originally a Theocracy here on earth. God was both their physical and spiritual King and the priesthood of the physical temple functioned as both their priests and parliamentarians.
The law or covenant in its entirety governed both their religious and civil lives. To cater for the priesthood’s dual duties as priests and parliamentarians, God gave His physical nation a Dual Law, which consisted of the Ceremonial or Ritual Law AND the inward Moral Law ‘of the heart’ or human spirit: 1 Ths. 5:23.
· The outward Ceremonial Law pertained to the Old Testament temple and all its external structures, forms, norms and rituals. It commanded Old Israel to adhere to a physical altar in a physical temple, physical sacrifices, tithing, ceremonial clothes, a physical priesthood and so on. [The ‘tithes’ (plural) were actually Old Israel’s governmental taxes and temple taxes to keep the physical temple, it’s physical Levitical priesthood, welfare fund, etc.]
· God incorporated the Moral Law from Exodus 20 onwards. This is the everlasting, inward Royal Law of Love and all it’s precepts pertain to the inner man; the human heart or human spirit. It consists of all the different precepts that guide our love for (or our works and behaviour towards) God, our fellow man and ourselves: 1 Ths. 5:23; 1 Jn. 4:7-12; 3:15-18.
It is very important to distinguish between these two different parts of the Dual Law.
1. All the rituals and ceremonies of the outward, Ceremonial or Ritual Law could change nothing of Old Israel or anyone else’s fallen, cursed state; their spiritually dead position without God. Yet the aim of these complex rituals was to make sin-infested Old Israel acceptable again so that they could draw near to God in worship and in prayer. The temple ‘contained’ His presence in the holy of holies, separated by a curtain from the holy place and the rest of the temple. [Read the blessings and curses in Deut. 28.]
The hierarchical old Levitical priesthood acted as ‘go-betweens,’ connecting first themselves and then the Israelites to God by implementing the ceremonial temple law. Here, they brought the prescribed blood and other sacrifices in the physical temple, which had to cover the sins, bondage and cursedness of Old Israel. Although the blood of animals could not atone in full for their lostness, these sacrifices made thanksgiving, prayer and worship possible for the Old Hebrew nation.
1. In fact, all these sacrifices only had spiritual power because they were symbols, pointing towards the ultimate fulfilment of all the requirements of the Dual Law in the place of all humanity during the New Testament era. Then, at Calvary, Jesus fulfilled the entire Dual Law. This was the Ritual/Ceremonial temple law as well as all the many precepts of the Moral Law. Jesus fulfilled the entire law in the place of His physical nation Old Israel as well as in the place of all the other Gentile or non-Hebrew nations, establishing an entirely New dispensational Covenant: Jn. 3:16; Heb. 9:15-28.
The reason why Jesus fulfilled the entire law, not only in the place of the Hebrew nation but also in the place of all other nations as well, was to accomplish the following:
· Jesus fully annulled His old, national, physical covenant (which only pertained to the Hebrew nation during the Old Testament dispensation,) to replace it in its entirety with His new global, personal, spiritual Covenant, which now pertains to every person (individual Hebrews included,) who sincerely and personally believe and follow Jesus: Jn. 3:15; 14:6; the Book of Hebrews 8:7-13, Chapters 7-9 and the rest of the New Testament.
· God established an entirely New, Spiritual Kingdom. At the opening of the New Testament dispensation, He changed His national, physical Old-Hebrew Kingdom on earth to an eternal, international, spiritual Kingdom in the ‘hearts’ and minds of all Jesus’ sincere disciples: Jn. 18:36; 1:12-13; 3:3-5.
· Jesus changed His physical nation, Old Israel, to an international, spiritual nation of sincere believers: 2 Pet. 1:9; 1 Pt. 1:4-5.
· Jesus completely abandoned the entire religious structure and the physical old temple itself forever more: Mt. 24:1-2. In 70 A.D., the entire old temple was destroyed, just as He had prophesied. When He died on the cross, the dividing curtain in the temple tore apart, signifying that the old temple dispensation and national covenant have passed away forever: Hebrews Chapters 7-10. To accommodate His spiritual Kingdom in the hearts/human spirits and minds of all His sincere disciples, God changed the physical, Hebrew temple to an immortal, spiritual temple of sincere believers. All His sincere disciples will live for all eternity in Him: 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:18; Acts 7:48; 17:24.
· Jesus utterly dissolved the physical temple hierarchy of religious and parliamentary priests in favour of His spiritual, personally believing priesthood, bought with His own blood ‘from every tribe, and tongue, and nation.’ Jesus Himself, according to the Order of Melchizedek, forever took the place of the Levitical high priest of the old temple and inaugurated an entirely new and different Melchizedekian priesthood, where every sincere believer is a spiritual king and priest: Rev. 1:6; 1 Pt. 2:5,9.
· Consequently, Jesus entirely annulled the entire ritual or sacramental part of the law and all its precepts - all outward or physical temple worship and upkeep, sacrifices and sacraments: Gal. 2:21, etc. The New Covenant, written in the blood of Jesus, necessitated an eternal, once-off Sacrifice: Jesus Christ the Most Holy Lamb of God Himself.
As there are no more outward temple duties in a physical temple, an entirely new spiritual temple and priesthood of sincerely and spiritually born again disciples in Christ are governed by the Holy Spirit Himself according to only one part of the Dual Old Testament law: the Moral Law of Love.
Hence, the Moral Law is the ONLY New Testament Law Jesus and His true followers ever commanded! Jn. 13:34; Mt. 22:37-40; Lev. 14:18.
The only New Testament Law, Jesus’ “New Commandment,” the Moral Law of love, contains all the different statutes of the Old Moral Law, as described in Mt. 22:37-40; Ex. 20; Jam. 2:8.
Unlike our human perception of love, God’s love has nothing to do with feelings. God’s love is a decision to obey His contextual commandments (the entire Moral Law) in the Biblical leading of His Holy Spirit: 2 Sam. 15:22-23.
Philčö means, ‘to love as a friend’: 1 Jn. 3:17-18. This ‘love’ merely pertains to human friendship.
The Greek word agapaö, (pronounced ag-ap-ah’-o), explains God’s holy, moral love of deed and truth.
Agapë, (pronounced ag-ah’-pay), means ‘to love someone morally through a feast of charity’. This means we should distribute God’s moral love among our fellow man in a practical way. It is not good enough to ‘feel’ love for our fellow man or to tell them how much we love them. We have to love other human beings as we love ourselves in deed and truth.
Thus, Royal Law of Love commands us to love God morally, meaning from a pure heart. We should obey and serve Him wholly and in totality, and with pure intentions. In conjunction with our ag-ap-ah’-o for God, we must always ag-ah’-pay our fellow man in deed and truth.
We should therefore never lie to one another, steal from each other, defraud one another or deceive one another, ect., as such moral sin against one another violates the New Commandment, which Jesus gave to all His disciples. We have to care for one another, look out for one another, speak the truth to one another, and give freely as the Holy Spirit leads us to do good to one another: Eph. 4:29-32.
The lives of true believers should be wholly consumed by agapaö and agapë.
Believers can never declare that they belong to God if they do not allow the Moral Law of love to direct their actions practically as part of their daily lives.
It is good to remember that in both the Testaments, (or covenants,) God views [contextual] obedience to Him as love, and love for Him as obedience: 1 Jn. 3:10-14; 4:7; Jn. 14:21-24.