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Fulton County Gospel News

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The Taken Away Law

By Barry O’Dell

Approximately 600 years before the birth of Christ, Jeremiah recorded a promise from God: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31).  Jehovah went on to reveal that this “new covenant” would be different from the covenant He made with Israel when they came out of Egypt (Jer. 31:32).  It would be a law written on the hearts of men and that would be taught to men (Jer. 31:33-34).  There is no question as to what is being promised by God when this passage is understood with other passages like John 6:44-45 and Hebrews 8:8-12.  The book of Hebrews was written to proclaim the superiority of Jesus Christ and His new covenant to other periods of Biblical history and law.  Chapters one and two show from Scripture that Jesus is superior to all the angels of God.  Chapters three and four show that Jesus and His “rest” is superior to Moses and the Promised Land of Israel.  Chapters five, and seven through ten, reveal that Christ is superior to Melchisedec (the Patriarchal Age), Levi (the Mosaic Age), and that Christ’s tabernacle (the church) is superior to the “worldly sanctuary” (Heb. 9:1).  Finally, Hebrews 10 reveals that the sacrifice of the body of Christ (10:5-7) is superior to the offering of the blood of bulls and goats (Heb. 10:3).

There was nothing “wrong” with the Law of Moses, as God was the author.  In fact, Paul wrote of the Old Law, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12).  Paul wrote that the problem with the Law of Moses was that it revealed the nature and consequences of sin, but that it did not offer the perfect sacrifice for sin (Rom. 7:7; Heb. 10:2-3).  The problem was that Israel, with whom God had made the covenant, refused to keep the covenant (Heb. 8:8-9).

The Bible is very easy to understand when discussing these issues.  The Law of Moses was given to the Israelites when they came to Sinai after being redeemed from Egyptian captivity.  In fact Moses wrote, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us (Israel) in Horeb (Sinai).  The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:2-3).  Paul wrote that man is “dead to the law by the body of Christ” (Rom. 7:4).  The law to which he is referring can only be the Law of Moses because of Romans 7:7: “…the law had said, ‘Thou shalt not covet.’”  Deuteronomy 4:13 and 5:22 state that God wrote that Law upon tables of stone.  Paul wrote of that Law, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:14).  As he did in Romans 7, Paul clarifies what that “handwriting of ordinances” was in Colossians 2:16-17 when he referred to “the new moon, Sabbath days, and the shadow of good things to come.”  As in Hebrews 10:1, those thoughts can only refer to the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses.

Jesus and His covenant do what Moses and his covenant could not.  “But in those sacrifices (Law of Moses) there is a remembrance again made of sins every year” (Heb. 10:3).  This is why Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us.  Paul wrote, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3).  In Galatians 3:24-25 we read that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” and that now “we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”  The wonderful blessings of being in Christ Jesus by being baptized into Christ are then traced all the way back to the promise made to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 12:1-3.  The seed that would bless all nations of the earth is Christ (Gal. 3:16).  Because of God’s plan and Christ’s execution of that plan, man now has a perfect sacrifice that has been offered once for all (Heb. 10:12-13).  Man is now able to be an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17; Gal. 4:7).  As Paul wrote, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15). 

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