English blog

the law of Moses primitive…

25-10-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet

Many Christians have the idea that the law of Moses is the ultimate expression of God’s thoughts. Usually, one does not think of the whole law with its hundreds of provisions, but more of the law in her reduced form, “the ten words” (the tablets of stone). In both cases, they have never properly taken note of what the “apostle of the gentiles” has written on the subject, while precisely he is their teacher (1Tim.2:7). He, formerly was a passionate zealot in Judaism and in addition, an expert by experience, like no other. INCIDENTAL Paul explains in the letter to the Galatians that the law was given on Mt. Sinai, 430 years after God’s unconditional promise to Abraham. During the time in between, but also during the roughly 2000 years before (from the time of Adam), man has lived without law. Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew no ten commandments. Paul writes: the law was added and came in by the way (Gal.3:17, Rom.5:20). The law was not given to all nations, but only to Israel. In addition, it is dated: “to (the resurrection of) Christ” (Gal.3:24). Since then, Israel also is no longer “under the law” (Gal.3:25). THE LAW STIMULATES SIN The law was never intended to make Israel a better people. On the contrary. God has given the law “that offenses should be increasing” (Rom.5:20). The principle of law stimulates sin (Rom.7:5; 1Cor.15:56), as the first human couple experienced already, in the garden of Eden. Paul calls the law a “dispensation of condemnation” and a “dispensation of death”. It is by faith that a man lives, i.e., trusting the promises of God. Not “be holy” (as virtually all Bible translations erroneously read), but “you WILL be holy” (1Pet.1:16). No command to work, but a promise to believe! PRIMITIVE AND UNDEVELOPED The law that God gave to Israel was only a preliminary demo-version of His will; intended for limited internal use (for Israel). It was a shadow of what was to come. Much of what we read in it comes across to us as being primitive. It is also primitive in that it was a first stage, something that would later on be canceled (Heb.10:9). As well, the law is also primitive in the sense of still undeveloped. Literally, it was “wrapped in swaddling-clothes”. Elsewhere, the law is called a “veil” (a “covering”) that will be removed (2Cor.3). When Jesus was born of a woman, born “under the law” (Gal.4:4), He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Significant! When He rose from among the dead, He left (significantly enough) the wrappings in the grave behind. That is development in the true sense of the word!