Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Law Was Temporary

Ezekiel 20:5-32

Moses' Law was almost like an after-thought. Of course nothing is really an after-thought to God Who knows the end from the beginning.

But Moses' Law did not exist when the promises were given to Abraham. The promise was that in Abraham's seed (singular, which is Christ) all nations (without distinction between Jew and Gentile) would be blessed (justified).

The captivity in Egypt was a dark interlude that had nothing to do with the promise. While in Egypt, Moses' Law did not exist.

When God chose the seed of Jacob while they were in Egypt, He still did not give them the Law - He only asked them to put away the idols of Egypt. But they disobeyed. Therefore God was ready to destroy them even in the midst of Egypt. God could have destroyed them without breaking the meaning of His promise to Abraham.

Instead of destroying them in the midst of Egypt, He brought them out into the wilderness, and gave them the Law. The Law was not given for the righteous, but for the unrighteous (I Timothy 20:1:9). It was given to them as an alternative to destroying them in the midst of Egypt.

The Law had relevance only to the seed of Jacob that was chosen in Egypt and spared judgment for their idolatry. It doesn't have relevance to anyone for whom the deliverance from Egypt and the rebellion that accompanied it does not have relevance.

The Law was a works-covenant. If you do, you shall live (verses 11,13,21). But Israel could not do.

God gave them sabbaths, plural. The Law of the sabbaths was about all the sabbaths, not just one. Therefore if anyone today is not keeping all the sabbaths, he's not keeping Moses' Law.

The sabbaths were a sign of their relationship to God. In the New Covenant we instead have the seal of the Spirit, the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption. Therefore the need to observe the sabbaths (plural) is eclipsed by the New Covenant. Observing the sabbaths was peculiarly for that rebellious house, spared from judgment, brought up from Egypt.

They rebelled against His Law to the point of being led again into captivity.

God promised to bring the obedient back into the land, which happened soon afterwards. But we know their seed soon became rebellious again.

They filled up the measure of their fathers' iniquity. All things ended-up being required of the generation that rejected the Son. And so it came to pass.

Nevertheless the seed are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

But see that the Law was not part of God's original relationship, nor part of God's ultimate relationship, with His promised people. It was a temporary inclusion, and relevant only to a select group, a group which could have been destroyed - but God gave them the Law instead.

The Law was never going to achieve in men's hearts what men's hearts needed. But the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The Law allowed the exceeding sinfulness of sin to appear. But the New Covenant gives us a new heart and causes us to keep His law. Not Moses' Law - but God's law. God's law is not always Moses' Law, in Scripture (for example, the law written in the hearts of the Gentiles, not having the Law, was not Moses' Law, but God's law nonetheless. So also we have the Law of Christ.)

Moses' Law is not intended to part of God's relationship with the people of His promise - Christians - whether Jew or Gentile.

(Then in verses 33-44, God promises to restore them to the land again from captivity - which was fulfilled soon afterwards. The same principle of excluding the good from the bad is seen in the New Covenant, in Luke 13:27).

The promise is to those who believe. The Law was only for those who were spared after they came out from Egypt.

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