Bible Study #5
The Law of Moses
I have come to realize that though the sacrificial aspects of the annual Holy Days terminated at the Cross, their typological and eschatological function still remains and is relevant for us today.
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.
And first of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast [Easter] we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. For we have it in our power, if we abandon their custom, to prolong the due observance of this ordinance to future ages, by a truer order, which we have preserved from the very day of the passion until the present time. Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd…
Emperor Constantine, from Eusebius’
Life of Constantine (Book III)
Jesus told Jews angry with Him for healing an invalid of thirty-eight years on the Sabbath that He was not their accuser, that they already had an accuser in Moses on whom they had set their hope (John 5:45). Moses and the Law of Moses deliver knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7) to human beings consigned to sin (Rom 11:32); thus, the reading of Moses produces guilt in sinful humanity, this guilt working for repentance from sin or the destruction of the character, depending upon how this guilt is handled. The best way to handle this guilt depends upon an action not made by men [or women], but upon being drawn by the Father from the world (John 6:44), given birth from above (John 3:5), and becoming a son of God as Jesus was the firstborn of many sons (John 17:9, 20-24). Birth by Spirit produces true forgiveness of sin, with guilt now producing its good work of deep repentance and confession to God that causes the person to sin no more (John 8:11), not that disciples are truly without sin (1 John 1:8-10). And perhaps the worst way to handle the guilt that comes from hearing Moses read is to nail Moses to the Cross of Christ, thereby abolishing the ordinances that were against men doing as they pleased while following sin to its natural conclusion.
Given two choices—sin no more, or abolish Moses—Hellenistic philosophers that found in Christianity the astonishingly brilliant solution to paganism’s inherent dilemma of how good is good enough to escape the darkness of an afterlife in hell were intellectually converted to faith in Christ Jesus without truly being born of Spirit. They entered Christianity already believing that they had immortal souls; they died believing the same lie that the first Eve swallowed [You shall not surely die — Gen 3:4]. And during the years in between, these philosophers turned theologians taught disciples to eat the wild fruit of paganism, for to everyone it was apparent that Judaism was a slave’s religion. Because of their training and intelligence, and because Christianity lacked a centralized authority structure, these wild scions merged what they believed to be the best of paganism with what they believed to be the best of Christianity to produce belief paradigms that today form the social constructs of the visible Church. Unfortunately, a little yeast will leaven the entire lump; a little paganism will turn the visible Christian Church pagan.
For Christians, the linguistic icon /pagan/ denotes witchcraft and black magic, worship of demons and “things” made with hands. There are no good mental associations attached to the icon. Yet, history is the story of humanity’s consignment to sin, with all but a few asterisks being the story of paganism’s triumph over the darkness of nihilism. Near the middle of the seven endtime years of tribulation, immediately following death on an unimaginable scale, the promise of Scripture is that surviving humankind will not “repent of the works of their hands, nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor [will] they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immoralities or their thefts” (Rev 9:20-21). So it isn’t the Christianity of Christ Jesus that is scripturally seen, but the Christianity of Orange Men and of the IRA, of a permissive Church that allows easy divorce and remarriage, that allows cohabitating couples to attend services, that ordains gay pastors, that fails to mark swindlers. What is scripturally seen is the triumph of paganism over both the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ.
Since the Apostle John’s gospel began to be widely circulated in the early 2nd-Century Christian fellowships in Asia and Achaia, Moses has been equated with Satan as the accuser of the brethren and the murderer of Christ Jesus. Jews and everything Jewish were to be spurned by Hellenistic converts. Therefore, simplifying a controversy that extended over two centuries, Hellenistic theologians enhanced Grace by abolishing the so-called Law of Moses and thereby abolished the accuser of every Israelite. Again, they nailed Moses to an empty Cross.
For nearly two millennia, Christian theologians have wrenched [as if twisting off a rusted bolt] Jesus saying that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt 5:17) into Jesus abolishing the Law of Moses that stands as their accuser. These certified scholars are, indeed, all wild olive scions grafted onto the root of righteousness (Rom 11:17-18), and most, because of their arrogance against the natural branches, proudly bear the wild fruit of the scion, causing this wild fruit to be regarded as the fruit of Christ Jesus; hence they commit blasphemy against the Father and the Son while hindering the natural branches, now in a far country, from returning to the Lord. The worthless fruit borne by these wild scions will not, in any age, provoke the broken off natural branches to jealousy (Rom 11:11, 13-14)—and if the wild scions by their faith will not cause jealousy, then these scions grown long and leafy are as worthless as the fruit they bear. They are only fit for the fire; they are pagan usurpers.
Yes, the faith of wild scions grafted onto the root of righteousness is worthless if the uncircumcision of these scions isn’t counted as circumcision by these scions keeping the precepts of the law (Rom 2:26). But what law are they to keep? The Law of Moses? Or the Law of Christ? Are they not to keep the Law of Christ, about whom Moses wrote (John 5:46)? But Jesus pushed past merely saying that Moses wrote about Him (Deu 18:15-19), and said that the Israelite who does not believe Moses will not believe Him (John 5:47 & Luke 16:31).
At Sinai, Israel asked that God not speak directly to the nation; the nation asked that Moses stand between it and God (Ex 20:18-21). Moses said that hearing the words of God was a test of Israel’s obedience (v. 20) … if hearing by the ears was a test of ancient Israel’s fear of God, how much more so is hearing with the heart a test of endtime Israel’s obedience? The analogy contains within itself what should be a startling revelation: God today tests the Christian Church through whether it hears the voice of Jesus with its heart; i.e., the heart of every born of Spirit disciple. If a disciple will not hear Jesus with his or her heart, the disciple will also not believe the Father, who spoke to humankind through the works of Jesus. And if the disciple does not hear Jesus and believe the Father, then the disciple is an imposter, a waterless cloud pushed about by every wind of doctrine.
As the man Moses stood between God and Israel as the mediator of a first covenant by which Israel became the holy nation of God (Ex 19:5-6), Christ Jesus today stands at the throne of the Most High as the mediator of a second covenant (Heb 8:6 & 9:15) by which endtime Israel is the holy nation of God (1 Pet 2:9). Moses, therefore, stood as a shadow and type of Christ Jesus as the first Adam was a shadow and type of the last Adam, the man Jesus, a quickening Spirit. And as Moses spoke the words of the Lord to ancient Israel, delivering these words through the mouth of Aaron, the man Jesus spoke the words of the Father during His earthly ministry (John 14:24), delivering these words in too many miracles for books to contain (John 21:25). Thus, as the prophets of old spoke the words of the Lord, these words received through dreams and visions, the prophets of endtime Israel speak the words of the Father, these words received not by dreams and visions but through the silent utterances of the Holy Spirit. And as the test of the prophets of old was not whether a sign or wonder came to pass but if the prophet also taught Israel to serve only the Lord, loving Him, keeping His commandments and obeying His voice (Deu 13:1-3), the test of endtime prophets to the Church (Eph 4:11) is also whether the prophet teaches endtime Israel to serve only the Lord, loving Him, keeping His commandments and obeying His voice. The Lord tests Israel through how Israel tests prophets; for the thing prophesied will or will not come to pass. Fulfillment of the words Jonah delivered against Nineveh was delayed a century and a half by Nineveh’s repentance. Fulfillment of the words of the prophet Jeremiah delivered against Jerusalem was 23 years in coming, but the words of Hananiah, words far easier to believe than Jeremiah’s, were not from the Lord. So time will determine whether a prophet is of God. What disciples can determine is whether the prophet teaches Israel to only serve the Lord. And today, the Christian Church has been made “to trust in a lie” (Jer 28:15)—actually, in many lies and liars.
Again, the teacher or prophet of endtime Israel who does a mighty work in the name of the Lord, yet who does not teach Israel to love God, to keep His law and His commandments, obeying every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4), will be denied entrance into the kingdom of heaven in his or her judgment (Matt 7:21-23). This teacher or prophet is a wild scion fit only to be gathered and burned as if he or she were a tare (Matt 13:41-43). If this teacher’s or prophet’s circumcision is only by hands, or if this person’s uncircumcision is not counted as circumcision, then this person should not be heard and should be treated as if dead. Whereas it was once commanded to stone this teacher or prophet when the law was written on two tablets of stone, the change from stone to tablets of flesh will have endtime Israel consigning the man or woman who teaches Israel to break the commandments to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1Co 5:5) so that the Spirit might be saved through the person’s deep repentance … in reality, the person will not repent for the person has been formed by God into a vessel for dishonorable use because the person was never workable clay on the Master Potter’s wheel. Yet the prayers of every saint should be for the person to repent. Perchance, another miracle will occur.
The uncircumcised person who by faith keeps the precepts of the law is a Jew inwardly (Rom 2:26-29), circumcised by Spirit and not by the letter of the law. And nothing short of keeping the precepts of the law will cause those who are physically circumcised to be jealous of Moses, whom they regard as their ancestor. But the precepts of this law will then be the precepts of the Law of Moses, for keeping a differing law will not cause jealousy. Thus, the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ must necessarily bear to one another a relationship analogous to, or closer than the relationship of the first Adam to the last Adam.
The linguistic phrase the Law of Moses is imprecise in origin and in usage. The English icon /law/ has a sense of singleness about it. For example, John quotes Jesus saying:
Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:22-24)
There seems to be a single Law of Moses, but where in Moses is there a command to circumcise? Is not this command given to the patriarchs [the fathers]? Is this command not found in Genesis chapter 17, where a third covenant is made with the patriarch Abraham, with circumcision being the ratifying seal of this third covenant?
The first covenant made with the patriarch Abraham [this covenant will also be part of the Law of Moses, for Moses wrote of this covenant] was simply,
Now the Lord [had] said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3)
Abram, at age seventy-five, went as the Lord told him—and it is his going by faith that is remembered by the writer of Hebrews (11:8).
While still uncircumcised, a second covenant is made with the patriarch Abraham: in a vision, the word of the Lord came to Abram, ‘“[Eliezar of Damascus] shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir’” (Gen 15:4). Then in vision, the Lord took Abram outside and caused him to look at the stars, and the Lord promised that Abram’s offspring would be as the stars—from the promised offspring that would come from Abram’s loins would come offspring as the stars in the heaven, an apt comparison since the Adversary dragged a third of the stars [angels] down from heaven. And Abram believed the Lord, and it is this belief by faith that is counted to Abram as righteousness (v. 6).
The above needs time to be mentally absorbed: within the overall context of the Law of Moses, which will include all of the covenants from the time of the fathers until the death of Moses (i.e., all of the covenants contained within the five books of Moses, or The Law portion of The Law and the Prophets), the faith that is counted to Abram as righteousness (Rom 4:3 & Gal 3:6, with Gen 15:6) comes when Abram dwells in God’s rest, the Promised Land (Ps 95:10-11, with Num chap 14 & Heb 3:16-4:11), with Abram having journeyed there by faith and sojourning there to await the coming of a city whose builder and founder is God (Heb 11:8-10). This faith caused Abram to believe God when the Lord promised Abram that he would have an offspring from whom would come additional offspring that would be as the stars of heaven. The faith that caused Abram to believe God about the coming of Christ Jesus (the Apostle Paul’s compilation of the first and second covenants made with Abram — Gal 3:14, 16) is the faith that is counted to him as righteousness. And Abram’s expression of this faith, coming through belief and through journeying to the geographical land representing God’s rest—faith without works is worthless faith (Jas 2:14), for such faith would be attempting to live by bread alone—becomes his righteousness. So the concept of faith being counted as righteousness is firmly ensconced in the Law of Moses, with this concept being apparent through Abram’s belief that from his loins would come his offspring.
Should the Law of Moses be abolished? From this Law of Moses comes the promised coming of Christ Jesus who would make the whole body of Israel well.
The first covenant made between the Lord and Abram was ratified by Abram physically relocating his household to the Promised Land, a type of God’s rest just as the weekly Sabbath is a type of God’s rest. This journey of faith laid the foundation for a second covenant to be made between the Lord and Abram, with the ratification of this second covenant being nothing more [and nothing less] than believing the Lord … by faith, uncircumcised Abram journeyed into God’s rest and dwelt there [after a stay in Egypt] as a spiritually uncircumcised disciple mentally leaves sin and journeys to the Sabbath and dwells there, awaiting the coming of the heavenly city of Jerusalem. By this same faith, the disciple hears the words of Jesus and believes the One who sent Him (John 5:24) and passes from death to life—by this same faith, the natural Israelite already dwelling in the Sabbath professes with his or her mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes that the Father raised Jesus from the grave (Rom 10:6-9) and passes from death to life.
Since both the first and second covenant made with Abram [to become Abraham] came while he was yet uncircumcised, the covenant ratified with the seal of circumcision can only be an additional covenant based on the faith that caused Abram to journey into God’s rest. In fact the Apostle Paul writes that Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness Abraham had by faith while still uncircumcised (Rom 4:11). Thus, this seal of Abraham’s righteousness by faith is part of the Law of Moses that, according to theologians who would abolish their accuser, came centuries after Abraham and his offspring were made naked before God, covered only by their obedience to God, an obedience that Abraham demonstrated while still uncircumcised. Therefore, those who identify the Sinai covenant as the Law of Moses are very poor readers of text. Likewise, those theologians who would have Christ at Calvary abolishing the Law of Moses would have the promise of His coming also abolished—and without the promise of His coming, by what authority did He come? And such is the dilemma of those theologians who no longer believe that Jesus was the actual Son of the Most High, and would have Jesus being merely a very wise man.
The terms of the third covenant that the Lord made with Abram need closely examined:
I am El Shaddai; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.…Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all of the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God (Gen 17:1-8)
On Abraham’s part, he was to walk blameless before God, which he did do according to what the Lord told Isaac (Gen 26:5). However, in the matter of Abimelech king of Garar, Abraham repeated the half-truth he told to Pharaoh, when he journeyed into the geographical representation of sin. Nevertheless, this failure of faith on the part of Abraham was not counted against him, but his faith was further tested when he was told to sacrifice his promised offspring.
Walking blameless before God is obeying God’s voice and keeping His charge [ordinances], His commandments, His statutes, and His laws … how are disciples supposed to walk? Are they not also supposed to walk blameless before God by faith, as Abraham walked by faith before God? The Apostle Peter wrote, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul [psuche]. Keep you conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet 2:11-12), and in another place he wrote, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler” (4:15).
As there were false prophets among the ancient Israelites, there will be false teachers among endtime Israelites (2 Pet 2:1), and these false teachers will bring into the Body of Christ destructive heresies, exploiting the Body with false words, promising freedom while they are themselves slaves to corruption. They are lawless, having returned to the error in which they lived—yes, in which they lived not two millennia ago, but immediately before being born of Spirit. They shall return to error as a dog returns to its vomit, savoring again what the belly once rejected as if the taste of sin is an addiction they have no desire to overcome.
If God did not spare lawless angels, but cast them into this place of outer darkness to be kept until the judgment (2 Pet 2:4), how will He spare lawless men who, born into disobedience (Rom 11:32), were liberated from sin only to return to disobedience and the quagmire of bondage that appeals to the eyes and to the groin and to the greed restrained for a time by a speechless donkey? How will God spare the Christian who, reared in the lawlessness of spiritual Babylon, journeys into God’s rest, only to then return to Babylon? Will He not condemn this Christian to the same furnace where lawless angels will perish? Will He not condemn this Christian to the same flames that devour the Sodomite who refuses to turn from his ungodliness? Yes, He will. Indeed, He will; for when He comes, the “Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace” (Matt 13:41-42). There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth because many will be the Christians who believed false teachers and lying televangelists.
When Jesus asked His detractors to judge with right judgment and not by appearances (John 7:24), He intimated that circumcision worked for good to heal part of a man so there was no reason for the Jews to be angry with Him for healing a man’s whole body. But how can circumcision heal part of a man? How can shedding a few drops of blood on the 8th-day of life fix what has been consigned to sin? And it is back to the third covenant the Lord made with Abraham.
The presence of the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion] is revealed through the linguistic icons in Greek and Hebrew that represent “deep breath [Gr: pneuma],” as in aspirated breath or voiced breath [Heb: ruwach] as opposed to silent, shallow breath [psuche]. Aspired or voiced breath is linguistically represented by the letter /h/, a glottal stop, an addition to normal breath made at the back of the mouth as in voicing the letter combination ah. Therefore, when the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham, the Lord added voiced breath to Abram’s name, with this addition of the linguistic radical for voiced breath /ah/ indicating the presence of Yah’s breath being with, now, Abraham instead of Abram. Thus, the significance of this third covenant made with Abraham was that for walking blameless before the Lord, Abraham received use of the Spirit of Yah.
The Hebrew signifier for God is /El/ as in El Shaddai [God Almighty]. To this signifier/El/ is added the linguistic radical for voiced breath /ah/ to arrive at Eloah, the singular form of the regular plural Elohim. Thus, Eloah is God plus His divine Breath, and Elohim is the signifier’s plural, or (God + Breath) + (God + Breath) an undefined number of times. Therefore, from the Tetragrammaton comes the number of the plural: /YHWH/ deconstructs to /YH/ + /WH/, with YH becoming Yah when voiced. So Yah is not a contraction for the Tetragrammaton, but that divine being [of the same substance as the other] who was seen by Moses and the seventy elders of Israel (Ex 24:9-10). It was /WH/ who was never seen (John 1:18) and who the world never knew (John 17:25). He is the Father, whom Jesus as the Logos came to reveal.
So there is no mistake: the God who interacted with Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses—the God of the Old Testament—wasn’t the Father, who the world never knew, but was Yah, the Logos, who was Theos, who came as His son, His only (John 3:16). And it is this Theos who was with Theon, the Father, in the beginning (John 1:1-2).
As the Tetragrammaton implies, Theos (YH) and Theon (WH) were One Spirit as Adam and Eve were one flesh—and this is the profound mystery (Eph 5:32) that was hidden from ancient Israel, and has been hidden from lawless disciples. The relationship between Theos and Theon changed when Theos entered death by being born as the man Jesus; the relationship became that of Father and Son (Matt 3:17), so that the Son would be free to marry another, with Christ and the Church becoming in marriage One Spirit as Theos and Theon had been when they, together, determined to create man in their image, male and female (Gen 1:27). Therefore, lawless theologians that pit the harshness of the God of the Old Testament against the love and mercy of Christ Jesus understand neither Law, nor Grace, but teach to their own destruction. They do not understand that physical circumcision came as the seal of the covenant by which spiritual circumcision would come. They fail to grasp that the terms of this covenant require the Israelite to walk blamelessly before God, this walk aided by the better promise of the Holy Spirit prior to demonstrated obedience instead of after—but the obligation of demonstrated obedience that has the spiritually circumcised Israelite walking blamelessly before God still remains. Grace covers a person’s walk with God, but grace doesn’t cause the hated son of Isaac not to be hated. For the disciple who does not attempt to walk blamelessly before God while under the garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness will be as Esau was when the Body of the Son of Man is revealed.
The Law of Moses is not just one covenant made with a circumcised nation at Sinai, but many covenants made over lifetimes with both the circumcised and the uncircumcised. And as with any complex of compacts and covenants [Heb: bereeth], some must necessarily be abolished or concluded to make a succeeding covenant relevant. But covenants that are spiritual, holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12, 14) will not be abolished, for by description, they are not of this world.
The mostly unrecognized criterion for determining which covenants are shadows and copies of spiritual compacts was given to disciples in the epistle to the Hebrews:
Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Thus it was necessary for the copies of heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Heb 9:18-23)
Covenants that are shadows of heavenly compacts; that is, covenants that will be abolished are purified with blood. These covenants begin with the shedding of blood, and they continue until blood is again shed—from cutting to cutting, for a physical covenant is made with the flesh as a type of what is spiritual.
The few drops of blood shed during physical circumcision become the spiritual cutting away of the hardness of the heart in spiritual circumcision. And it is time to return to Abraham: no blood was shed by Abraham when he left home and kin and journeyed into the Promised Land and dwelt there as a sojourner. This covenant is spiritual. Abraham will become a great nation, a blessing to all families of the earth. This covenant will not be abolished.
Likewise, the second covenant made with Abraham was not ratified by blood, but by belief. It, too, is a spiritual covenant. Abraham has a spiritual heir whose earthly tent came from Abraham’s loins, an heir who has produced many potential heirs who will be like the stars of heaven … as the Adversary cast to earth a third of the stars of heaven, the Heir of Abraham will draw into heaven a third of all humankind as the single great nation promised to the patriarch.
But the third covenant made with Abraham, the covenant which promises that Abraham will be the father to a multitude of nations was ratified by the shedding of blood, by physical circumcision. This covenant is a shadow and type of a spiritual covenant that will not be ratified by the shedding of blood—and the spiritual reality of this shadow will have Moses as its mediator.
Christ has obtained a more excellent ministry than that of the Levitical high priest to the same degree that the covenant He mediates is better than the first covenant that consecrated Israel as the holy nation of God (Heb 8:6). If that first covenant had been faultless—it couldn’t be, for from its ratification with blood it was a shadow and type of a spiritual covenant—there would have been no occasion for a second (v. 7). The writer of Hebrews here quotes the prophet Jeremiah, saying,
Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant I made with their father on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. (Heb 8:8-9 & Jer 31:31-32 — emphasis added)
The Lord made a covenant with Israel on the day when He took Israel by the hand to lead the nation out of Egypt. The assumption of theologians has been that the covenant Israel failed to keep though the Lord was the nation’s husband—the covenant made the day when the Lord took Israel by the hand—is the Sinai covenant, made in the third month of that same year, or made six and a half weeks after Israel left Egypt.
That day equates to six weeks later, no! That does not compute, and obviously cannot be true. That day is not six weeks later, so here a closer reading of Scripture is warranted.
After nine plagues that both humbled Egypt and caused a discernable separation between Egypt and Israel—this separation visibly made through the plagues, but also made by concealed circumcision—the Lord told Moses that after one more plague, Egypt would let Israel go and would actually drive Israel away (Ex 11:1). And the Lord made a compact with Israel, the Passover covenant: Israel was to select a lamb on the 10th day of the first month and pen the lamb until the 14th. Then at even between the 14th and 15th, not between the 13th and 14th for twilight belongs to the day, not to the night, Israelites were to sacrifice their paschal lambs, and begin roasting these lambs whole. This night portion of the 15th day of Abib [i.e., the first month] was a long night of watching, of roasting the lamb with fire, of then eating the lamb with feet shod and loins girded, and with staffs in hand. Israel was to be ready to leave when Pharaoh expelled the nation from Egypt, the promise of this Passover covenant. Israel would not have to fight its way out of Egypt, the representation of sin, nor would it have to slip away in the middle of the night. Rather, every Israelite was to ask his or her Egyptian neighbor for gold and silver jewelry and for fine clothes. Israel was to physically spoil the nation’s physical oppressor.
At midnight of this long night of watching, of roasting and eating the paschal lamb, the death angel passed over all of Egypt, but did not enter houses that had the blood of a lamb smeared on doorposts and lintels. However, in every other house, the firstborn of man and beast was slain; for an important feature of the Passover covenant is that firstborns belong to God. This covenant is found in Exodus chapter 11 through 14. And this is the covenant made with Israel on the day that the Lord took the nation by the hand to lead it out of Egypt. It isn’t the Sinai covenant that is made on this day, but the covenant that promised liberation from physical bondage in a geographical land that scripturally represents sin.
The Passover covenant made on the day that Israel left Egypt was ratified by blood, that is by the blood of lambs and of Egyptians (Ex 12:29 & Isa 43:3). Therefore, this covenant served as a shadow and type of a Second Passover covenant by which the lives of men will again be given (Isa 43:4), and by which Israel will again be recovered (Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8, with Isa 11:11-16 & Ezek 36:24-29; 20:33-37).
The covenant made on the day that Israel left Egypt extends from blood to blood, with the shed blood of paschal lambs in Egypt ratifying this Passover covenant and with the shed blood of the Lamb of God on the 14th of Abib ending this Passover covenant. This covenant was abolished at Calvary! It is no more. But the spiritual reality of this physical Passover covenant was also implemented the same day that the first was abolished.
When Jesus, on the night that He was betrayed, took bread and told His disciple to eat, that the bread was His body, then took a cup and said, ‘“Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for man for the forgiveness of sins”’ (Matt 26:27-28), a new, spiritual Passover covenant was made between the Lord and Israel, a covenant ratified by drinking the fruit of the vine that was not blood but symbolized Jesus’ shed blood.
An Israelite can sacrifice lambs for the remainder of his life—the temple can be rebuilt at Jerusalem and lambs can there be sacrificed until no more sheep exist—and not one drop of sheep blood shed will please God, or be respected by God until the Passover covenant ratified by the cup ends with Jesus again drinking of this cup new in His Father’s kingdom (Matt 26:29). Only then, when His disciples are glorified with Him will the present Passover covenant be abolished. Only then will the animal sacrifices described by the prophet Ezekiel return; for Jesus will then no longer bear the sins of any Israelite. Every person will bear his or her own sin, but every person will also be empowered by the Holy Spirit so that no sin dwells in the flesh of any Israelite.
The covenant by which Israel became the holy nation of God (Ex 19:5-6) was ratified with the blood of many bulls:
Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Ex 24:6-8)
But the nation lied. Its obedience didn’t last forty days. Nor could it last. For the nation, now with knowledge of sin, was still without liberation from sin. Liberation from Egypt was merely a shadow and type of endtime Israel’s liberation from sin, a liberation that comes with the Second Passover.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Abib (from John 19:31, with John 12:1 & 12:12); He entered as High Priest and as the Paschal Lamb, and He was penned in [or near] Jerusalem until the 14th day, when He was sacrificed between the evenings as Pharisees then reckoned when Passover lambs were to be slain. And with His death, one long spiritual night of watching began, one night of roasting the Lamb of God with the sins of Israel and eating of this Lamb through taking the sacraments on the night that He was betrayed. On every other night, taking bread and wine is merely making an offering of the fruit of the earth to God. Cain’s offering. Not Abel’s.
At the midnight hour of the long spiritual night of watching that began at Calvary, the lives of men will again be given (Isa 43:4) for the ransom of Israel as the liberation and recovery of Israel begins … this liberation and recovery could not begin earlier, for the spiritually circumcised nation of Israel began when Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, Receive the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion] (John 20:22). From one kernel of grain (John 12:24), Christ Jesus Himself, planted at Calvary, has grown the firstfruits that will be harvested upon Jesus’ return. From one kernel came one stalk with a seed head of ten kernels. To the ten was added two more (John 20:26-29 & Acts 1:26). And the twelve were 120 altogether—and to this small plot were added three thousand in one day and enough kernels for the birds to scatter them to the far corners of the world. But in the same field that grew the firstfruits of God also grew the false grain of the Adversary. The false grain grew taller than the firstfruits and looked better from a distance. The false grain robbed the firstfruits of resources, while usurping the name of Christ—and it is this false grain that is today recognized as endtime Christianity. But what begins false will remain false; for again, a little paganism stirred into the lump makes the whole lump pagan.
Christian theologians usually teach that the covenant ratified at Sinai was made with the circumcised nation, but note what Moses writes:
And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers [the patriarchs] did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. (Deu 5:1-3)
Most of Israel that Moses addressed on this day was uncircumcised (Jos 5:2-7) and had been born after the covenant was ratified by the blood of oxen. Nevertheless, this Sinai [or Horeb] covenant was made with physically uncircumcised and physically circumcised Israelites, and was a shadow and type of a spiritual covenant that would have the ten words of God written on two tablets of flesh (Jer 31:33 & Heb 8:10) of physically uncircumcised peoples and physically circumcised Israelites.
Therefore, the Sinai covenant was made to be abolished from its inception; for the Lord knew that without liberation from the sin to which He had consigned all of humanity, Israel could not keep the bargain it made. So to the Sinai covenant was added another covenant: “These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb” (Deu 29:1).
Pause now and consider: Moses began to speak the words of the Book of Deuteronomy on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year (Deu 1:3), two months and ten days before Israel crossed the Jordan on the 10th day of Abib (Jos 4:19 — Israel, itself, was penned in God’s rest as the selected paschal lamb). Israel mourned Moses’ death for thirty days (Deu 34:8). The two spies were across the Jordan for three days. And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo before he died. So when the seventy days from when Moses began to speak the words recorded in Deuteronomy to when Israel entered into God’s rest are accounted for, all of Deuteronomy was spoken in a very short period of time, one to thirty days. Thus, it is proper to say that when Moses reminded Israel that the nation was a party to the Sinai covenant, Moses also gave to Israel the Second Covenant, by which spiritual circumcision could come (Deu 30:6). So Israel was not left to fail once given knowledge of sin.
The covenant made at Moab was ratified with a song (Deu chap 32); so this Second Covenant given to Israel before the nation entered into God’s rest is not a shadow and type of a covenant to come, but a spiritual covenant to which better promises would be added when its mediator went from being Moses to Christ Jesus.
The Law of Moses, or The Law, includes three covenants made with the patriarch Noah (Gen 6:18; 821-22; & 9:8-13) although only the third covenant is usually recognized; three covenants made with Abraham; additional covenants made with Isaac and Jacob; and three covenants made with Israel between the day when the Lord lead Israel out of Egypt and when Israel was ready to cross the Jordan. Plus, other promises of the Lord are part of a single compact recorded by Moses in the five books of the Torah. And it is this record of accusation that Christian theologians generally want to abolish—and that the Gideons neglect to include in the Bibles they so generously give away.
Two of the covenants made with Abraham were not ratified by blood. One of the covenants made with Noah was not ratified by blood [or the loss of life]. And one of the covenants made with Israel was ratified with a song. So the Torah includes covenants that are spiritual, and that will not be abolished by spiritual circumcision or by a broad Second Covenant. Plus, few theologians will support the abolishing of a moral law that seems remarkably like the Decalogue sans the Sabbath Commandment.
That is really what’s at issue: few Christians will condone adultery, or murder, or stealing, or lying, or coveting, or abusing parents, or worshiping another God other than the Father and His Son. Some Christians will condone praying through icons that appear to unbelievers [and other believers] like idols. Most Christians don’t understand what taking God’s name in vain means—and this includes the Sacred Names movement … how are Christians doing so far? Seven of the Ten Commandments are morally important by nearly unanimous agreement. Two are sort of okay. And one, the very least of the Ten Commandments, is extremely problematic, with it alone being justification to declare the entire Law of Moses null and void. So much for the Sabbath.
In Deuteronomy, Moses tells Israel that the Sinai covenant was not made with their fathers—it is very probable that none of the patriarchs kept the Sabbath. After all, they dwelt in the geographical landscape that represented God’s rest. But Christians, with few exceptions, don’t today dwell in this geographical land, and it wouldn’t matter if they did. With the giving of the Decalogue, a period of time was made holy and was made to serve as the mental landscape representing God’s rest. Therefore, as circumcision made with hands was replaced by circumcision by the Spirit, and as the two stone tablets that were against the physical nation of Israel were replaced by two tablets of flesh, living on the geography of Judea was replaced with living by faith in the Sabbath. Thus, the Observant Jew who rigorously keeps the Sabbath would continue to live in God’s rest if this Observant person were to profess that Jesus is Lord and believe that the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 10:6-9). Likewise, the Gentile who believes that Jesus is Lord would journey to God rest and dwell there if this person began by faith to keep the Sabbath. And the one expression of faith is no more difficult than the other. Both require surrendering to God long held and long cherished theological positions.
Circumcision by Spirit becomes a euphemistic expression for the equally figurative concept of the laws of God being written on the heart and placed in the mind. Both expression and concept pertain to being born of Spirit.
The Apostle Paul, referring to the events that happened when the Lord took Israel by the hand to lead the nation out of Egypt, said that these things took place as examples for the Church (1Co 10:6), and that they were written down “for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (v. 11). They are for us.
The Law was written down as a shadow and a type of what becomes of the Church in the latter days, especially why the endtime Church seems to be imprisoned in spiritual Babylon. So why should Christians be so damnably determined to abolish the mirror through which they see their image as God sees them? Is it that when they see themselves, they, too, will accuse themselves of wrong-doing? Is it that they know—because of the laws of God written on their hearts and minds—that they are exceedingly sinful? Or is it that the Church has become so pagan in beliefs and practices that it no longer knows how good is good enough to escape the darkness of the grave?
The Law of Moses isn’t one law to be kept or rejected. It isn’t one covenant that was abolished at Calvary. It isn’t circumcision, or the commandments, or loving God will all one’s heart and mind. It is everything Moses wrote as examples for endtime disciples, and as covenants that still endure. It is all of Moses—and the person who will not believe Moses will not believe either Jesus or the One who sent Him. This person will not pass from death to life (John 5:46 with 24).
Emperor Constantine was wrong. All he did was
officiate at the Church’s surrender to the spiritual king of Babylon, but who
there at Nicea was going to tell the Emperor that he was an agent of Satan the
devil? … Maybe one of the 1500 bishops who were not there did by not attending,
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
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