Study for the Month of February, 2010
THE PHYSICAL AND NATURAL LAWS
By Nathaniel Fajardo
The Moral Law and the Ceremonial Laws. — Although the author of both the moral and ceremonial laws is God Creator himself for “there is only one lawgiver” (James 4:12), the main differences between the two, which the majority of mainstream Christianity strangely fail to consider, much less emphasize, is that the former existed forever. The latter, which included circumcision of the prepuce of the male organ, were instituted by God “were added because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19). By these the gospel was taught in types and symbols on how sins could be forgiven and overcome, which included the system of sacrifices, feasts and festivals, and the earthly priesthood that ministered to the earthy tabernacle. All were abolished when type met antitype at the cross.
Satan has continued his rebellion against God’s authority and law begun in heaven. Long after causing Adam and Eve to transgress God’s law in Eden, it is he, who, in our modern times of boasted intellectual advancement introduced the theory of evolution. Satan knows only too well that the moral law was already in existence before the earth and man were created. It was this law that he, together with a third of the angels whom he deceived, transgressed in heaven resulting in his rebellion, defeat, and being cast out of their “first abode.” God rehearsed this law to Adam and Eve, speaking to them face to face for sin had not yet created that great gulf between creature and Creator.
“The law of God existed before man was created. The angels were governed by it. Satan fell because he transgressed the principles of God’s government. After Adam and Eve were created, God made known to them His law. It was not written then, but rehearsed to them by Jehovah.” – Story of Redemption, p. 135.
“Adam taught his descendants the law of God, and it was handed down from father to son through successive generations. But. . . . there were few who accepted it and rendered obedience. By transgressions the world became so vile that it was necessary to cleanse it by the Flood from corruption. The law was preserved by Noah and his family, and Noah taught His descendants the Ten Commandments. As men again departed from the God, the Lord chose Abraham, of whom He declared, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ Gen. 26:5.”
Transgression of the Decalogue is of its principles or the “spirit” of the law, not merely the letter of the law, which are exceeding broader than is commonly thought. Principle means “a source or origin; primordial substance; ultimate basis or cause; fundamental truth; a primary or basic law; essential or characteristic; that which gives substance.” Webster. But since the fall the knowledge and understanding of the spiritual principles of the law defining untarnished morality and perfect righteousness rapidly deteriorated. And in proportion to the loss of such knowledge was the moral darkness and depravity that led to the violence that will never more be paralleled on earth such as was during the long-lived antediluvian generation of Noah and Enoch.
It is only when these principles are instilled in the heart, not enforced by any ecclesiastical or civil authority or a combination thereof, that man will experience genuine sanctification and come into possession of that piece that passes understanding, though surrounded by corruption and mayhem and subjected to heavy trials and temptations. His shield and buckler is God himself in the Spirit who is with him in the darkest part of his experience and gives him grace and strength to endure and emerge even more purified.
“The law is an expression of God’s idea. When we receive it in Christ, it becomes our idea. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin. ‘Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.’ Ps. 119:165. There is no peace in unrighteousness; the wicked are at war with God. But he who receives the righteousness of the law in Christ is in harmony with heaven. As received in Christ, God’s law works in us the purity of character that will bring joy to us through eternal ages.’ Faith I Live By, p. 83.
Isaiah prophesied of the restoration of the downtrodden law: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion [the true church], and from them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord. My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of they seed’s seed, but saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall rise upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isa. 59: 20, 21; 60:1-3.
The darkness covering the earth and gross darkness upon the people is ignorance of and rebellion against God’s law and its immutability. It definitely includes all the terrible suffering and curse upon mankind and upon the earth as its evil consequence. Jesus, God in the flesh, declared: “Most assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass away from the law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5: 18, 19. “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than one tittle of the law to fail. “ Luke 16:17.
The three heavens and the earth are still there: the first heaven is the atmospheric heavens, spoken of in the Authorized Version as “the firmament;” the next is the starry or cosmic heavens or the universe where the sun, moon, stars, planets, constellations, galaxies, and other worlds are; the third is Paradise itself where God’s throne is, where Paul was taken in vision where he “heard language which is unlawful to speak on earth.” 2 Cor. 12: 1-10. “The sun shining in the heavens, the solid earth on which you dwell, are God’s witnesses that His law is changeless and eternal. Though all these may pass away, the divine precepts shall endure. Moreover, to do away with the law is to do away with Christ and the character of the infinite God for He is the glory of His law and the outshining of the Father!
“Jesus Christ is the glory of the law. . . and that “in the law every specification is the character of the infinite God.” All who have and brazenly attempt to do away or change anything in it by addition or subtraction must remember that “Since this ‘the law of the Lord is perfect,’ every variation from it must be evil. Those who disobey God’s commandments of God, and teach others to do so, are condemned by Christ. The Savior’s life of obedience [John 15:10] maintained the claims of the law, it proved the law could be kept in humanity, and showed the excellence of character that obedience would develop. All who obey as He did are likewise declaring that the law is ‘holy, just, and good.’ Rom. 7:12. When, through faith in Jesus Christ, man does according to the very best of his ability, and seeks to keep the way of the Lord by obedience to the Ten Commandments, the perfection of Christ is imputed to cover the transgression of the repentant and obedient soul.”- Faith I Live By, pp. 84, 85.
“God’s law was not spoken. . . . exclusively for the benefit of the Hebrews. God Himself honored them by making them the guardians and keepers of His law, but it was to be held as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow-man; and all are based upon the great fundamental principle of love. [Luke 10: 27 quoted].”- Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 305.
“God’s law is not a new thing. It is not holiness created, but holiness made known. It is a code of principles expressing mercy, goodness, and love. It presents to fallen humanity the character of God, and states plainly the whole duty of man [Eccl. 12: 13, 14].”—1 BC 1104-5.
“In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time, this law, unchanged, in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to ‘magnify the law and make it honorable’. . . . In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the sermon on the mount [Matthew 5, 6, 7] He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts, and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart [see Heb. 4: 12, 13].”—Acts of the Apostles, p. 505.
“The Ten commandments, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not, are ten promises, assure to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe. Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’ John 14: 15.” – 1 BC p. 11105.
There are two glories of this law as revealed in Christ: character glory and luminous glory, both of which have been revealed in the lives of the faithful of the ages. The muted lumen glory has been seen on the countenances of some men mentioned in the Bible. Moses had to veil his face for sometime after descending from the mount in God’s presence. During Enoch’s walk with God towards the latter end of the three centuries prior to his translation, the wicked antediluvians saw in Enoch’s countenance a reflection of God’s glory especially after he emerged from his communing with God in isolation. Stephen, stephanos, whose name means “a wreath or crown,” the first Christian martyr, as he was expiring from the stones being hurled at him by his Jewish executioners of the Sanhedrin, “looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” Though Saul, who stood by while Stephen was being stoned and did not participate, he was instrumental in his death. Such men, saints on earth, already had the law of God “written in their hearts and minds.” They were sealed in their foreheads with name of the Father “unto eternal life.” And thus:
“The whole world will be judged by the moral law according to their opportunity of becoming acquainted with it, whether by reason, or tradition, or the written Word.” – Ibid, p. 83.
Through their religious leaders, the Jewish nation hated Jesus because He showed them by precept, life example, and by His works how to truly practice and perfectly live His law in their lives. In so doing He laid manifest their base hypocrisy for they were pretending to be zealously keeping God’s law but were, in fact, enforcing laws they had added which they themselves could not keep. Jesus told them “You have made of none effect the law of God by your traditions,” commanding men to keep them as though they were the laws of God.” In hating Christ they hated the Father whom they professed to love and worship. In condemning Christ as being the law-breaker, that is, refusing to obey their man-made religious laws and traditions, and having Him crucified knowing fully well that He was innocent of all the charges their leaders brought upon Him, they condemned the Father in heaven and had Him crucified as well. Jesus said to them:
“If you keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. He that hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among you the works which none other man did, they had not sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law: they hated Me without a cause.’ ‘If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not sin; but now they have no cloak [to hide or excuse] their sin.” John 15:10, 24, 25, 22.
These warnings are even more applicable today than in the ages past because the greatest accumulated light of truth is shining on this final generation. “Unto whom much is given, much is required.”
“And this is the condemnation [judgment] that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3: 19-21. (to be continued)