Is it Hard to be a Witness?

My whole life, I’ve been told that Christians must witness to others. If you really love others, really care about their souls, you’ll do it. If you don’t do it, you’re not a good Christian. That’s what I’ve been told.
Well, in spite of loving the Lord and following Him to the best of my ability, I have always had trouble sharing my faith. I have suffered a great deal of guilt for this over the last 25 years or so. I guess I always figured that when I finally loved the Lord enough, or when I finally loved people enough, I’d do it.
Something has changed in me, but not for the reasons I expected. Lately, I have been absolutely fearless in sharing my faith. I don’t believe that I love people any more than I ever have. However, something did provide the catalyst I needed for change, and that was the realization that the whole Word of God is in complete harmony with itself. I’m talking Old and New Testaments. I’m talking about the Law and God’s grace.
This realization has worked two distinct changes in me. The first is obedience. The more I submit to His unchanging will, the more I realize that He only ever intended the Law for our good. I feel protected, counseled and disciplined by a perfect, loving Father. I have never felt so secure in my entire life. His Law works love in me. When lawlessness (iniquity) abounds in our lives, our love waxes cold (Matthew 24:12). Love is a direct result of obedience, and obedience is a direct result of love. Actually, there is no other way for us to show Him love outside of obedience. We can say we love Him, but words are meaningless without actions.
The second change is this: I have always felt unsure about expecting others to believe something just because I do. That is flat-out the number one reason I have found it so difficult to witness to others. If they were to ask me why I believed, I feared I wouldn’t have an answer for them outside of personal experience. Experience that I cannot pass on to the listener, no matter how sincere I am.
However, when the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw the beauty of the Law revealed in Jesus Christ, and realized that it perfectly foreshadowed His redemptive work on the cross, and that His work fulfilled every righteous requirement of the Father, I discovered that the entire Bible made perfect sense, and that anyone with an open heart could understand that something this perfect couldn’t have been faked. When the OT is understood in light of the New, and when the NT is understood in light of the Old, every supposed contradiction withers up and dies. Now, all that remains is to prove that His Word is perfect. That’s my mission.
All throughout the Law and prophets, the Father drops hundreds of hints concerning the work of the Messiah. These are the things I have been writing about. He guides history in such a way that every story points to Christ. He sets up seemingly impossible requirements for salvation. Then, in one man’s lifetime, He ties up every loose end with such precision that it could only have been by the hand of God. Coincidence can’t even begin to account for the harmony between the testaments. They were authored by the same God, and that God does not change.
This is what has emboldened me. I feel that I can prove that Jesus is who He says He is – our Messiah. Every time I find just a few more minutes to study, it seems I find another amazing proof – one I never saw coming. His amazing love, His great big plan, His holiness – everything about Him leaves me in astonishment. I have to share Him with you.

Today’s Religious Leaders

In yesterday’s post, I called out Islam, Catholicism, and modern Christianity for exactly the same sin: a stubborn defiance in the face of Deuteronomy 4:2.

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

I qualified that by noting that I was not condemning the followers of these religions, but issuing a warning. Today, I want to talk about that a little.

Jesus Christ was constantly on to the religious leaders of His day. They had made it their business to study the Law, yet they were guilty of both adding to it and taking away from it. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” Mark 7:7-8

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were in big trouble: Read Matthew 23.

Just as they were in trouble, so are the leaders of today – for the same reasons!

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” I Timothy 4:1-3 (“Meat” in the KJV means “food” – I just want to clarify that the unclean animals do not qualify as food. If they did, God’s Law would be changeable, which is precisely what Jesus preached against.)

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus knew ahead of time that religious leaders would claim the abolishment of His Law. By making such a claim, today’s religious leaders have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. II Timothy 3:1-7 says,

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

This is what I refer to as fluffy Christianity – the suggestion, implicitly or explicitly, that there is no right or wrong, or at the very least that there is no enduring standard by which to judge right and wrong. However, we do have an enduring standard, and that is the Torah. (Read Psalm 119.)

God has a major problem with religious leaders who make this claim and with people who desire to be lied to: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LordWhich say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.” (“Iniquity” is “lawlessness.”)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27-28 (Again, iniquity means lawlessness.)

However, Jesus never condemned the common people, the sheep, the fooled followers. He quickly forgave the adulteress, the unethical tax-collector, the thief – those who even in today’s society would be judged guilty of sin.

“Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners…” Matthew 11:19

If you are a follower of Islam, Catholicism, the Talmud, or modern Christianity, I urge you to wake up: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1

I urge you to come out of Babylon: “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:2-4

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed [menstrual] woman. Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land. But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.” Ezekiel 36:16-31 (How good is your memory? Do you remember what iniquity means?)

Isaiah chapter 49 is amazing as well. Please read your Bible. Every time I write a blog post, I just wanna quote the whole thing, and that’s obviously not possible.

Did God Change His Law?

I have been thinking for a long while about the Law of the Medes and Persia. What do we know about it? From the scriptures, we can see that it got foolish kings into trouble.

“Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” Daniel 6:15

In the book of Esther, Ahasuerus was bribed into making a law that would extinguish the Jews from his domain.  Little did he know that his precious wife and her people were the folks he had hastily condemned to death. In the book of Daniel, Darius is advised to make a law requiring that every member of his kingdom make petitions to only the king for 30 days. He makes this decree and immediately regrets his decision. Upon reading these stories, I have often thought about how incredibly foolish these kings were. I have asked myself why they would make such laws, knowing that they couldn’t change their minds even if they wanted to.

Let’s break this down a little. I can imagine two reasons why a code of laws would work in such a way:

  1. Perhaps it was believed that these kings were deities, incarnations, or just so righteous that they could make no mistakes. In this case, to break their own decree would be a sign of pretending to be something they were not, or at the very least a sign of weakness.
  2. Perhaps it was considered fair that the king be subject to his own laws, to prevent an unrighteous king from showing favoritism or from getting away with murder.

Let’s talk a little bit about point one. If these kings had been gods, it would have made sense that they wouldn’t go around making up laws and then later changing their minds. Let’s consider our God for a moment. When He makes a decree, is it subject to change? Would he regret that He demanded righteousness from His people and later erase the Law, rendering it worthless? Or would He rather provide a way for mankind to somehow meet the requirements of His righteous Law?

Consider this problem in religion today. How do we know that Mohammed was not truly Allah’s prophet? One of the easiest ways is to take a look at the list of Mohammed’s inconsistencies. You can find an explanation and a list on this page. If Mohammed had truly heard from God, you wouldn’t expect him to be constantly changing his mind all the time.

How about Catholicism? They claim to have the power to change God’s ordinances at will. Just look into their history a little bit, and you will see how presumptuous they are. But can the righteousness of God be altered? Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and I have a perfect example for you. On Fridays during Lent, it is forbidden for Catholics to eat meat. Oh, except, well, nevermind if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday. Just never mind. Go ahead and have that corned beef or whatever. It’s okay, but just for one day. We don’t want to ruin your party. (More like we don’t want a reason to excommunicate folks who would otherwise be paying tithes.)

Do you see? Is it clear? Inconsistency is key to determining whether a religion or a religious observance is legit. The Jews know this and have good reason to scoff at Christians when we tell them that the Law is no longer valid. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2 (Also see Deut. 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, and Revelation 22:18-19)

Note: I am not condemning Muslims, Catholics, Christians, or anyone else who has been fooled by a religious leader. I am issuing a wake-up call. See tomorrow’s post for more on that topic.

How about point two? Is it reasonable to expect that our righteous God would abide by His own righteousness? Or does He somehow exist outside of righteousness? Is He “above the Law”? What we sometimes fail to remember is that God and His righteousness are inseparable. They are not two different things – they are one and the same: The Law is the righteousness of God (Psalm 119). Jesus is the Torah, the Word made flesh (John 1) – the very righteousness of God revealed (Romans 1).

So, did God change His mind about His Law?

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” I Samuel 15:29

“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Psalm 89:34

I read this article about the topic, and thought you might find it interesting. The comments and responses are also worth the read.

I also found the second half of this page interesting, concerning Law-abidingness.

 

Can God Break His Own Law?

Can God break His own Law? Not if that Law defines righteousness itself. (It does – read Psalm 119.) But if God divorced Israel because of her adulteries, how will He remarry a defiled woman? By His very own Law, this would be illegal. This is an extremely interesting study – one that proves the deity of Christ. This article is a continuance of yesterday’s question: who is our redeemer?

“Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isaiah 54:4-5

Note in verse 4 that Israel was widowed – and you can’t be a widow unless your husband dies. After the death of her husband on Calvary, she was freed from the law of her husband, enabling her to marry whomever she pleases, even though she played the harlot. The church is called the bride of Christ. This is not a NT concept. We will be remarried to our God upon Christ’s return. (The mystery of the gospel is the inclusion of the gentiles in this marriage.) But if Israel’s husband had not died, it would not have been lawful for her to be remarried after having been defiled. Let me show you:

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Can God break His own righteous decrees? He cannot. The Jews understand this better than anyone. That is why the Jews do not know how God is going to restore the 10 lost tribes of Israel, whom God divorced (Isaiah 50:1). They know that God is going to have to jump through hoops to redeem Israel while still maintaining His righteousness (without breaking the Law); they just cannot fathom how He is going to accomplish it. They cannot understand the role of the crucifixion of their Messiah. The dilemma is so acute that some of the Jews (Judah) now deny that Israel will be restored.

“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” I Corinthians 7:39

Judging by the passage in Deuteronomy, she would not be able to remarry her first husband after she has been defiled. But, she COULD marry anyone if she had never been married to begin with, and the death of her husband(s) would legally accomplish that condition – because the act of death frees us from the Law. Also note that marrying a harlot in the first place is not forbidden, only marrying a woman whose husband is still alive or remarrying your ex-wife after she has been defiled by another husband. Hosea marries a harlot in the first place, and because he never divorces her, the law forbidding remarriage does not apply to him. There is no remarriage because there is no divorce. God absolutely did divorce Israel, so the only way to restore that marriage is through the death of the first husband. Also, note that I Corinthians says, “only in the Lord.” The remarriage will only take place once Israel turns away from other gods and turns wholly toward the Father. God will not be unequally yoked.

“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” Romans 7:2

I found an interesting article this morning. Both the author of the article and the fellow he is rebutting make valid points, but they arrive at opposite conclusions. What do the scriptures really say? If you visit this site, you will see that they both fail to realize one thing – one thing that would put them in harmony with each other and answer every misunderstanding – and that is the death of the first husband. The argument is over Hosea, but Hosea cannot perfectly represent what God did for us because that would require Hosea’s death and resurrection. Hosea is only human. To get around this, Hosea never actually divorces Gomer, but God does divorce Israel. He sets up what looks like an impossible dilemma. How will He restore Israel without marring His own righteousness? Then He answers it in one fell swoop, just like He answers every other problem: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here is the article, if you’d like to read it. The author loses me in the last half, however. I don’t believe that God ever divorced Judah – see the story of the prodigal son as proof.

photo credit: guillermogg <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/51065161@N00/13072469794″>Israel</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Is Jesus God?

I read this today, and wanted to comment on it:

“The disciples viewed Jesus as the “one mediator between God and men,” not as God himself. (I Timothy 2:5) Since by definition a mediator is someone separate from those who need mediation, it would be a contradiction for Jesus to be one entity with either of the parties he is trying to reconcile.”

I just want to point out the faulty logic here. If Jesus Christ were not God, but merely an angelic being, as claimed by the publication I was reading, He could have fulfilled the role of mediator already, in accordance with the given definition. An angel is neither God nor man.

However, because Jesus Christ was (and is) already divine, He had to become man in order to fulfill the mediator requirement. If He had become 100% human without remaining 100% God, his humanity would have created a conflict of interest, making Him ineligible to mediate. In the special case of Jesus Christ, we have to alter the modern definition of mediator. In other words, rather than belonging to neither party, He had to be fully vested in each party in order to be an impartial mediator.

Now I’m going to give you a couple of strange, seemingly unrelated verses to consider: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth vegetation, the plants yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” Genesis 1:11

“Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” James 3:12

To tie these verses to the topic at hand – have you ever had a baby? Or have you ever watched an animal give birth? Were you, at any moment, afraid that your baby may turn out to be something other than human, or that your dog might produce a kitten instead of a puppy? No?

Does it follow that God would beget a human? Jesus Christ was human because He had Mary’s blood running through His veins. But He was begotten of the Father, and that makes Him God.

Consider Isaiah 53:1-5: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Who is the arm of Yahweh? It is obvious in this passage that it is Christ Himself. What is the arm of Yahweh but the extension of Yahweh?

This verse in Exodus 6:6 is describing the Hebrew flight from the Egyptians, but we know that the entire exodus history points to Christ. Have a look at this verse: “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:”

The example of the kinsman-redeemer is another proof of Jesus’ divinity (and humanity). In Hebrew, there is no distinction between the word for kinsman and the word for redeemer. Your kinsman is your redeemer is your kinsman. Here is the basis for our understanding of what a kinsman-redeemer is: “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.” Leviticus 25:25.

Now read the book of Ruth. It is only 4 chapters long and one of my favorite examples of redemption. Jesus Christ is our redeemer. I believe that is pretty much undisputed by all who believe in Him. He bought us with His own blood. In order to qualify as our redeemer, however, He also had to be our next of kin – that is: human. But this proves His humanity, you say, not His deity. Well, look at these verses.

Who is the Redeemer?

God the Father: “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;” Isaiah 44:24

God the Son: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 59:20

Ah, read Romans 11, and see if you find it as amazing and revealing as I do. It quotes Isaiah 59:20 and points us to the salvation of the Gentiles and the believing Jews.

God the Son: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

God the Father and God the Son: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Luke 1:68-69

God the Son: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”– in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14

God the Son: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5

God the Father and God the Son:  “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isaiah 54:4-5 (I expound on this idea in my article, Can God Break His Own Law?)

 

God the Father: “And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.” Psalm 78:35

(Who is the rock?)

God the Father: see the above verse

God the Father: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

God the Son: “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” I Corinthians 10:4

God the Son: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16

God the Father (Also notice that the rock and the redeemer are one and the same): “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (ESV because the word “strength” in the KJV is actually “rock” in Hebrew.) Also Psalm 78:35, quoted above.

Okay, I’m done. I could hang out all day long and quote many, many more verses about the rock, the redeemer, and the outstretched arm. If you want to know if God the Father is our Redeemer AND our Rock, please read the whole Bible. I obviously cannot quote the entire thing in one post. If you want to know if God the Son is our Redeemer AND our Rock, please read the whole Bible.

Side-note: This is just another reason among many why the Jewish nation should have realized that the Messiah and God are one and the same. They have access to all of the same OT scriptures that we do.

What Is the “End of the Law”?

Copied from my FaceBook page. Sorry, FaceBookers, my blog automatically posts everything to FaceBook, so you’re gonna see this twice:

Why must modern Bible scholars interpret certain scriptures concerning the Law in a manner that would make the Bible contradict itself? Why not just assume that Paul wasn’t spouting inconsistencies and interpret accordingly? “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31

Has it never occurred to you that “end” in Romans 10 could mean “purpose?” In fact, this interpretation is consistent with both the English and the Greek (look it up) and avoids turning Paul into a liar or a lunatic, not to mention Christ himself:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 (Read the whole chapter, and ask yourself why He felt compelled to warn us.)

If you still believe “end” means “termination,” read all of Romans 10. He is talking about man’s righteousness vs. God’s righteousness. How do we know God’s righteousness? He gave it to us! “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.” Psalm 119:172

Please, if you see a confusing passage, read the entire chapter. If that doesn’t clear it up for you, read the entire book. And before you adopt any doctrine (new or old), please, please, please read the entire Bible and check everything against it. Our beliefs should be conformed to the Word, not the other way around. If our beliefs do not stand up in the light of God’s Word, we need to throw them out and start over.

My Interpretation of Hebrews 7: “disannulling of the commandment”

I have in front of me a whole slew of verses that seem to point out that the Law has been changed or disannulled, or that it has vanished or become obsolete. I think that in most cases (but I haven’t looked in-depth at all of the verses yet), modern doctrine is confused about what exactly is being annulled, done away, etc.

The following are my ideas concerning Hebrews 7. I invite your correction and critique. There’s no way I can be right about everything, and I crave a good discussion to help me formulate better interpretations and see things more clearly. I’d like to work out any kinks. What I am getting ready to say is slightly different from 119 Ministries’ stance, and they have been at this way longer than I have. For your reference, I have included Hebrews 7 in its entirety at the bottom of this post.

Here goes: I’m pretty sure the “commandment” that is annulled in Hebrews 7:18 is referring to the carnal commandment in Hebrews 7:16. We should already know that God’s holy Law is not a carnal commandment, so what does this mean? After reading the entire chapter, I think it becomes pretty clear that the carnal commandment is the fact that the earthly priesthood is carnal – mortal – not eternal.  In verse 16, doesn’t it seem that the power of the endless life is the opposite of the law of a carnal commandment? This looks like antithetic parallelism to me, where one thought is understood in the light of the other opposite thought. Romans 6:23 is a neat example of this.

Anyway, back to the carnal commandment idea referring to mortality: I’m pretty sure the entire chapter holds up this idea, argues for it even, especially: “23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

One more thing of interest: It seems to me that the entirety of Hebrews 7 is a defense to the Hebrews of how in the world Jesus could be our high priest since He wasn’t in the Levitical priesthood. Because God is righteous and His Law is righteousness (Psalm 119:72), the Hebrews were well aware that God wouldn’t break His own righteous commandments. (That would make Him unrighteous.) They wanted to know why Paul claimed that a member of the tribe of Judah could suddenly be our high priest. Do you see how they were testing what he taught against the OT, to see if his doctrine was true? If he had been teaching something not in accordance with scripture, they would have had to throw out his doctrine (as would we). Turns out, there’s an easy explanation: Paul’s answer is not that the Law was annulled. He argues that Jesus can be our high priest without breaking the Law. In fact, he says in Hebrews 8:4 that if Christ had stayed on earth, He could not legally be our high priest. In order to be an earthly priest, you must be of the Levitical line. In the Millennial Reign, I believe that the sacrificial system (Zech 14, Isaiah 56) will be reinstated and ministered by the Levites: “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.'” Jeremiah 33:18

Now why would Paul need to prove that Jesus could legally be our high priest? Because the Law is very much still in effect (righteousness is still righteousness) and obviously applies to Christ, who is the embodiment of righteousness. Christ, being the Word made flesh, never broke Torah in His existence, and He’s not about to start now. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Instead, Paul’s argument is that the order of Melchizedek precedes the Levitical order, and that Melchizedek’s order is the true order in heaven, the Levitical order being only a shadow of the reality. Both orders can co-exist, the perfect one in heaven and the figure of the heavenly one on earth.

 

Hebrews 7

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”

Also, I just noticed that verse 28 is in present tense: the law maketh. Not made, maketh.

 

photo credit: ~ Lone Wadi ~ <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/144957155@N06/32511808351″>Navajo Bill</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;