Monday, 13 February 2017

The Sabbath [Part 1 – The Creator of the Sabbath]

The Sabbath [Part 1 – The Creator of the Sabbath]

There are three essential questions which every soul seeks to understand regardless of race or nationality: (1) Where do I come from? (2) Why am I here? (3) And where am I going? Upon these questions rests the meaning of life. Establishing where something comes from always helps when it comes to understanding the purpose and the meaning of that thing. You will discover that in order to understand any Bible topic, not only is it essential look at it from the entire Bible, but it is good to consider where it is first mentioned in God’s book, and the circumstances around that topic. Fundamentally, all the Christian basic beliefs can be found within the first 11 chapters of the Bible.
In this study we will be studying about the Sabbath, and looking at how it relates to a believer and salvation. As we enter into this study, let’s keep in mind that the purpose of this writing is not to prove a point but to uplift the Saviour. For this reason, we would rely on God’s book for instruction and guidance, and allow the Bible to explain itself, instead of just considering what many Bible scholars have written on this subject. When we do this, it would testify that we are trusting “in the LORD” and not leaning on our own understanding, opinions and imaginations. See Proverbs 3:5. The subject of the Sabbath is one those topics that are very easy to follow and to understand.

1   By who was creation brought to being?

Answer: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1.
Note: The root word “God” in the original is the term “Elohim”, which is a plural noun, its singular being the term “El.” Elohim refers to God in a plural sense. When the man and woman unite in the holy wedlock [marriage], they become “one flesh” – Genesis 2:24. The word “one” in this passage refers to unity not quantity. So when the Bible says “the LORD our God is one LORD” – Deuteronomy 6:4. The word one in the Hebrew is the word “echad” which is the same word used in Genesis 2:24, which refers to oneness in terms of unity, not quantity. Hence the Scripture declares: “For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” – 1 John 5:7. Again, when it says “these three are one” it does not mean they are a one person. It is referring to their unity. When Christ was baptized, He was here on earth in the river Jordan, the Spirit descended from heaven in the form of Dove, and God the Father spoke from heaven. See Matthew 3:13-17. This is implies that the God of the Bible who created the world is Elohim: the Father, the Word (Christ) and the Holy Spirit. Notice this text, “And God [Elohim] said, Let US make the man in OUR image, after OUR likeness...” – Genesis 1:26. All the three were presented, but the Bible gets even more specific. Notice: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1. The “Word” in the text refers to Christ. See verse 14. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made...He came in the world, and the world was by Him...” – John 1:3,10. Meaning, the world was made by Christ. As much as the three were involved, Christ was the active agent; He was the one who spoke the world into existence. Read Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-3. But notice the following: “But unto the Son He [God the Father] saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom... And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are works of thine hands.’” – Hebrews 1:8,10. Christ is the Creator. He is “our Maker” – Psalm 95:6. Christ is divine.

2   By whom and for who was the Sabbath made?

Answer: “And He said unto them, ‘The Sabbath was MADE for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’” – Mark 2:27.
Note: In the previous question we saw that “All things were MADE by Him [Christ]; and without Him was not any thing MADE that was made” – John 1:3. All things that were “made” were made by Christ. And the Bible points out that the “Sabbath was MADE.” The Sabbath is the institution of the Divine Creator who also is our Saviour. And Jesus made the Sabbath for “man.” The word “man” in this passage comes from the word “anthropos” which is pronounced “anth-ro-pos” and it means “a human being, whether male and female.” It is related to the term “anthropology” which is the study of mankind. Jesus Christ made the Sabbath for the human family, not just for a certain group of human race, or a particular culture. The Jesus Christ who died at Calvary, is the very same individual who made the Sabbath for the human family.

3   Who made the seventh day holy and when, and why?

Answer: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all His work which God created and made.” – Genesis 2:1-3.
Note: In the beginning, right at the end of the creation week, we find God concluding His work of creation by resting on the Sabbath, and this is how the Sabbath came into existence. The word “rest” in the passage comes of the root word “shabath”, which means “to cease, desist, rest.” God did rest. What? Does God ever get tired or even sleep? “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?...” – Isaiah 40:28. We are also told that “He that keepeth Israel shall neither, slumber nor sleep.” – Psalm 121:4. Jehovah God does not ever get tired. So why did He rest then? The answer is simple. During the first week, God was setting an example for the whole human race that there is time to work, and there is time to rest. Even though there are those that regard labouring (working) as a curse, the work God reveals that working of God’s divine plan. See Genesis 2:8,15.
The word “sanctified” in means “to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate.” God had set aside the seventh day for whole use, after He rested. This means, the Sabbath was made holy from the time God after God “rested from all His work which God created and made.” – Genesis 2:3. Then we are told that He blessed it. It is a blessed day. We can see from these three things that God did (resting, blessing, and sanctifying) that the seventh day is different from all the other days.
In an environment where there was no sin, no Jew, no evil, God saw it fit to make the time that was to be holy, and set aside. This means the Sabbath day is of divine origin, and also, it is His original plan. After all, He could have ended days on the sixth day, but He went on to make the seventh day.

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Sabbath [Part 1 – Which Day Is the Sabbath?]


 The Sabbath [Part 1 – Which Day Is the Sabbath?]


“Come unto Me, ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28. The subject of the Sabbath when is rightly understood, does liberate the honest and sincere soul that seeks to understand and do the will of Jehovah.

1    Which day is the Sabbath?


Answer: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the SEVENTH DAY is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God...” – Exodus 20:8-10.

Note: Read Exodus 16:26. Here we are told that “the seventh day is the Sabbath.” The word “the,” is a definite article, that means it points to something specific, not general. Thus, when the Bible says “the seventh day,” it refers to a specific day which is the “the seventh day.” Notice that the Bible says, “the seventh day is the Sabbath”, not “the seven days is [or are] the Sabbath(s).” This helps us to recognize that the idea that every day is the Sabbath does not harmonize with the fact that “the seventh day is the Sabbath.”  Since “the seventh day” comes once in a week, we also realize that the Sabbath comes once a week.  

2    When did God bless and sanctify the seventh day or the Sabbath?


Answer: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” – Genesis 2:1-3.

Note: Right after He “finished”, when He had “rested on the seventh day”, He “blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” If God had to bless and sanctify this day when He had rested in it, it means that He blessed and sanctified it when the seventh day was completed; that is, at the closing of the seventh day. Read Exodus 20:11.

The word “sanctify” means “to set aside for holy use.

3    For whom did God establish the Sabbath?


Answer: “And He [Jesus] said unto them [the Pharisees], ‘THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN, and not man for the Sabbath.’” – Mark 2:27.
Note: The word “man” used in this verse, in the original language is the word “anthropos” and it means mankind. Anthropology is the study of mankind. According to Jesus, “Sabbath was made for mankind.” From Genesis 2:3, we have learn that before the Moses and Jews were ever born, God “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” Thus, we see that the Sabbath was made for everyone; not just for a certain group of people; “The Sabbath was made for man.”

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Law [Part 4 – Law of Love and Liberty]


 The Law [Part 4 – Law of Love and Liberty]


The law of God has always been in existence, but during the time of Moses it was codified (written down). This was done because the children of Israel had been in slavery for a long time, and along the way they lost sight of the holiness of God. To Moses was given “two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” – Exodus 31:18; and he was commissioned take these stones with him to the children of Israel. The children of Israel had a worldwide obligation to share the gospel with the entire world. Had they remained faithful, the words written in Ezekiel 47:8-12 could have been fulfilled through them; in short God could have reached the perishing world through His message of salvation, and present His righteous law to the humanity. But “men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” had lain upon the law of God manmade traditions and additional rules and regulations which now made the law of God a yoke of bondage, one that no human being can ever keep, even they themselves. See 2 Timothy 3:8. And for centuries, Satan worked thoroughly leading the Israelites into selfishness. God was gradually removed out of their system, and manmade theories and traditions now superseded the written word of God.

By the time Jesus came to earth, Israelites were in the utter darkness; their system had been suffering the invasion of Satan without them realizing it. The beautiful system which had been designed to be a beacon of light, became a stumbling block. They thought Bible knowledge, religious activities, etc. constituted righteousness. They rejected Jesus who is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” – Jeremiah 23:6. Sadly, many today when they read about the pervasion that Israelites came up with, they perceive that these misrepresentations are what God intended when He established the law. As a result they cannot appreciate the beauty of the holiness of God’s law. They think that the law is evil, and unholy, and they fail to understand the law as it came from God was pure, and undefiled. As we will see from Scripture, the law of God is love in action. This means, there’s a tremendous harmony between the law and the love. And there will never be liberty where the law of God is violated, set aside or trampled underfoot.

1    Is the law of God a good thing?


Answer: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid...Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” – Romans 7:7,12.

Note: Read 1 Timothy 1:8. Paul does not see anything wrong with the Ten Commandments, but he has the problem with “the carnal mind” which “is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God...” – Romans 8:7. Read Romans 7:14.

2    What was Jesus’ response when He was asked about the great commandment in the law?


Answer: “Then one of them [Pharisees], which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” – Matthew 22:35-40.

Note: After Jesus had pointed out the greatest commandments, Paul had this to say, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ‘Thou shalt not covet;’ and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Love worketh no ill to its neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 13:8-10. Notice that Paul first quotes from the last 6 commandments of the Ten Commandments (See Exodus 20:13-17), and then from there he is clear that these commandments are “briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’” To make sure we don’t miss this, he then says, “Love worketh no ill to its neighbour.” In other words, if you love your neighbour you won’t kill them, lie about them, steal from them, etc. So, the last 6 commandments are summarized in the saying, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”; and from Jesus we have seen that this is the second great commandment. And so we can deduce that the first 4 commandments can be summarized into “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” See Exodus 20:1-11. And this makes sense because if you love God you won’t make any graven images and worship them, or take His name in vain, etc. Thus we see that the two great commandments, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God’ and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ are a summary (not a replacement) of Ten Commandments. And also they were written on two tables of stones. On top of this, these commandments have the word “love” in common, have you noticed that? Therefore, “love” “is” “the greatest” or the centre of the law of God – 1 Corinthians 13:13, NKJV. Let’s get the picture here, love is the summary of two great commandments: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God’ and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The commandment ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God’ is a summary of first 4 commandments while ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ is a summary of the last 6. Thus, love is a summary of all Ten Commandments. To make sure we don’t miss this, James writes, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ said also, ‘Do not kill.’ Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” – James 2:10,11. In short, Ten Commandments is a package of love. You can’t choose some commandments and leave the others. In like manner, John says, “If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar...” – 1 John 4:20. In other words, if a person claims to keep the commandment that says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God’ and yet violates the one that says, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’, John says this person “is a liar.” In other words, this is one package, and we don’t have a right to accept what we like and reject what we don’t like. It’s either all or nothing. Two extremes that are to be avoided are as follows: one group that messes around with loveless law, and the other group that focuses on lawless love. Paul said, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Read Luke 10:25-28.

In Matthew 22, Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” – Deuteronomy 6:5. “...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...” – Leviticus 19:18. Thus, the Son of God was not inventing these verses, but quoting. And to further prove this, let’s examine the following words: “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, ‘Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said unto him, ‘What is written in the law? How readest thou?’ And he answering said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.’ And He said, ‘Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.’” – Luke 10:25-28. This man after being asked what is “written” in the law, he cited the two great commandments, which shows that these two commandments were already written, and we have seen the exact location where they have been written. These commandments were totally not new, and there is no record where they are mentioned as being new. The new commandment we have is found in John 13:34. It says, “a new commandment I give unto you, ‘That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’” The word “as” in this passage makes a whole lot difference, it means “like.” In other words Jesus is saying, “love another just as you have seen Me do.”

3    What is “the law of liberty”?


Answer: “For He that said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ said also, ‘Do not kill.’ Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” – James 2:11,12.

Note: James first quotes the 7th Commandment, and the 6th Commandment (see Exodus 20:13,14). Then from there he makes it clear that we shall be “by judged by the law of liberty”; by definition, the law of liberty is Ten Commandments. We know that our God delivers people from “darkness into His marvellous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9; from captivity to “liberty” – Isaiah 61:1, etc. “I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of BONDAGE.” – Exodus 20:2. The words which follow after these, are what we know as the Ten Commandments. It wouldn’t make sense for God to save the Israelites from “bondage”, and give them the law of bondage; but the opposite is true; the fact that He saved them from “bondage” and gave them Ten Commandments; makes it clear that the Ten Commandments must be the law of liberty. Read Psalm 119:45.

Obedience to the law of God brings liberty and happiness, this is why the Bible says, “...he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Proverbs 29:18. “Blessed [happy] are they that do His commandments...” – Revelation 22:14. Read Proverbs 3:1,2; John 13:17; John 15:10,11. “And the LORD commanded us to do all these statues, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.” – Deuteronomy 6:24.

Loving God is keeping His commandments: John 14:15,21; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6. Disobedience to God’s law leads never brings happiness, but obedience does. “Great peace have thy which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” – Psalm 119:165. You cannot love God and hate His law. Those that love Him would obviously “have respect unto all” His “commandments” – Psalm 119:10.

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Law [Part 3 – The Infallible (Unchangeable) Law]


The Law [Part 3 – The Infallible (Unchangeable) Law]


A positive change is always good and advisable. Every person on this planet recognizes that there are some defects in their character, so we all need a change. But the Bible raises a question, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil?” – Jeremiah 13:23. These are rhetorical questions. God is trying to just teach us the just as the leopard cannot by himself or by determination remove his spots, so also can we not change ourselves. We are not capable, and we were not born with power to transform ourselves. For this reason, we must “born again” – John 3:3; in other words we must be “born again” “by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” – 1 Peter 1:23. There are things that are subject to change on this planet. The inspired pages reveal that “the earth; and the heavens” “shall be changed” – Hebrews 1:10,12; but as for God He is “the same,” His “years shall not fail.” – Hebrews 1:12. So we see that there are certain things that are unchangeable. One of those things that do not change is God’s word. Read Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; Luke 21:33; 1 Peter 1:23, etc. God Himself does not and cannot change. Read Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17. And as we shall see, the law of God – the Ten Commandments can never change, we will cover some of the reasons why it is impossible for God’s law to change.

1    Will God ever alter the things which have gone out of His lips?


Answer: “My covenant will I not break, no alter the thing that is gone out of My lips.” – Psalm 89:34.

Note: Here the Scriptures are clear that God will never alter or change what He had said with His mouth. We have seen that the Ten Commandments came out of the mouth of God; the Bible declares: “And God spake all these words...” – Exodus 20:1. Which implies that He cannot lie. See Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18. God always says what He means and He means what He says. His words are perfect. See Proverbs 30:5,6. Since God spoke the Ten Commandments with His mouth, it is evident that the Ten Commandments can never change. “The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” – Psalm 111:7,8. We see that “all” God’s “commandments” “stand for ever and ever” because they “are done in truth and uprightness.”

2    On what did God write the Ten Commandments?


Answer: “And He [God] gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” – Exodus 31:18.

Note: Here we discover that it was the divine “finger of God” that engraved the Ten Commandments “upon...two tables of testimony, tables of stone.” When a person dies, they place an inscription upon their grave containing the day in which they were born, day of death, and also their names. The reason why this information is written on the stone is because it can never change. We often use the phrase “written on stone” to point towards statements that are solid and not subject to change. God meets us where we are. To illustrate how unchangeable His law is, He wrote it on the stone, because these precepts are eternal. In the Bible God is called the Rock. See Deuteronomy 32:4; 1 Corinthians 10:4. The reason for that is because the rock remains in all seasons. Whether it is cold or hot, windy and sunny, raining or snowing, etc., in all circumstances the God of heaven remains true to His word, and He remains Faithful. And this is one of the reasons why it is easier to trust Him.

3    Did Jesus Christ come to this planet to do away with the Ten Commandments?


Answer: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil...And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” – Matthew 5:17; Luke 16:17.

Note: Here in Matthew 5:17 you can sense that Christ has already identified our problem; which is, we thought He came to do away with the Ten Commandments; He says, “think not”, in other words, “don’t think” that. This teaching is so dangerous that He Himself felt the need to make His position clear as it pertains to the law. He did not come to destroy but to fulfil. To fulfil and to destroy is not one and the same thing. Bible gives us a clear indicating is to what to fulfil means: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.’” – Matthew 3:13-16. When Jesus said we “it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness”, He went on to demonstrate that by becoming baptized. Thus we can see that to fulfil is to uphold, to practice, etc. When Paul says, “Fulfil ye my joy...” – Philippians 2:2; he did not mean “abolish my joy.” By saying “fulfil” he meant “fill full” my joy. Thus we can see that Jesus Christ did not come to destroy the moral law; instead He came to magnify it. Read Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:21,22,27,28. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth, pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least commandments, and shall teach men [to do] so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do [them] and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:18,19. This is very clear. Whoever breaks the commandments and promote disobedience, those in the kingdom when they look upon him/her shall call that person the “least.” But the person that shall “do” them “and teach them the same shall be called the great in the kingdom of heaven.” According to this passage, does Christ want His followers to teach the Ten Commandments? Verses 21,22,27,28 reveal that Christ Himself taught the Ten Commandments and magnified them like no one before.

It is a dangerous statement to declare that Jesus Christ came to do away with the Ten Commandments. If that was the truth then thieves, murderers, etc would have to be permitted to continue violating God’s holy law. The death of Christ on the cross is a proof that God’s law can never change.

4    Why is it that the law of God would never need to be improved?


Answer: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” – Psalm 19:7.

Note: The psalmist is clear in this passage that God’s divine law is perfect. You can never improve perfection; you can only improve towards it. In like manner, you can never improve upon God’s law, you can improve towards it. The Bible says, the law converts the soul. It has got a transforming power. See Romans 7:7.

5     How does the law of God relate to the truth?


Answer: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth...Thou are near, O LORD, and all Thy commandments are truth.” – Psalm 119:142,151.

Note: The law of God is the truth. And you might recall that the Bible also tells us the Christ is the truth [John 14:6]; God’s word is the truth [John 17:17]; the Holy Spirit is truth [1 John 5:6]. Jesus, the word, the Holy Spirit, and the law are not against each other. They all harmonize, for they are all the truth.

“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light...” – Proverbs 6:23. The law of God is light. Jesus is light [John 8:12; John 9:5]; the word of God is light [Psalm 119:105]. The law is the transcript of God’s character.

The following table shows how God’s law is a transcript of His character:



 

God is

His Law is

Good

Psalm 100:3; Matthew 19:17

1 Timothy 1:18; Romans 7:12

Holy

1 Peter 1:16; Isaiah 5:16

Romans 7:12

Perfect

Matthew 5:48

Psalm 19:7

Pure

1 John 3:1-3

Romans 7:12

True

John 3:33

Psalm 19:9

Spiritual

1 Corinthians 10:4

Romans 7:14

Just

Deuteronomy 32:4

Romans 7:12

Righteousness

Jeremiah 23:6

Psalm 119:172

Faith

1 Corinthians 1:9

Psalm 119:86

Love

1 John 4:8,16

Romans 13:10

Unchangeable

Malachi 3:6; James 1:7; Hebrews 1:10-12; Hebrews 13:8

Matthew 5:18

Eternal

Genesis 21:33

Psalm 111:7,8

 

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Law [Part 2 – The Law from Adam to Moses]


The Law [Part 2 – The Law from Adam to Moses]


Imagine you had one opportunity to speak to the whole world, and during that time every ear would be turning in or watching. What would your message be? Well, there was a time when the God of heaven – Jehovah had to speak for Himself and address the whole world. We must keep in mind that God has been speaking through human beings, and there was a time when He wanted to speak to the world, a message that would be for the entire humanity and all generations. He descended from heaven, the mountain was His pulpit, and He “spake all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’” – Exodus 20:1,2. The words that follow after is what we know as the Ten Commandments. The Bible says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” – Matthew 12:34. Out of the abundance of God’s heart came the Ten Commandments. These words that came out of His mouth are divine, for the Bible tells us, “a divine sentence is in the lips of the king” – Proverbs 16:10, and “the LORD is our King” – Isaiah 33:22. There are certain things that God does through human beings, but as for the Ten Commandments God did not entrust any human being to deliver these words on His behalf. He could not communicate this message even through holy and faithful angels. For the mere fact that these words proceeded from the mouth of God shows that they are important. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights...” – James 1:17. No wonder the Bible says, “the law of the LORD is perfect” – Psalm 19:7 and “the law is good” – 1 Timothy 1:18. The law that God spoke reveals His honesty, purity, power, territory, authority, and His desire. In the previous study, we have seen that the principles of the law of God have always existed, and we also saw that the law of God exists even in heaven. In this study we will be looking at the principles of this law from Adam to Mount Sinai.

1    What moral command was delivered to humanity in the Garden of Eden?


Answer: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’” – Genesis 2:17.

Note: Notice that here in this verse God establishes the morality as it pertains to mankind. It was not left to man to decide what is good and what is evil; instead God Himself was the one who established this. In giving this moral command, God gave the principles of the Ten Commandments. Let consider a few:

Second commandment – “Thou halt not make unto thee any grave image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them...” – Exodus 20:4. “For rebellion is an the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath rejected thee from being King.” – 1 Samuel 15:23. Adam and Eve rejected the word of the Lord, rebelled against His word. Rebellion is refusing to do what is right, and that’s what Adam and Eve did.

Third commandment – “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” – Exodus 20:7. Taking “the name of...God in vain” in when we say His name without reverence. And also, it is when we accept His name, or to be specific, is when we allow ourselves to be called “the children of God”, and yet we lives, our lives “deny Him.” – 1 Timothy 1:16. By Eve saying, “God hath said” – Genesis 3:3; she proved herself to be a believer in the words of God, or rather to follow God. But then, she ate of the fruit (see Genesis 3:6). So we can see she took God’s name in vain. Of course, the classical example of taking God’s name in vain is Isaiah 4:1 where it says, “And in that day seven women shall hold of one man, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by Thy name, to take away our reproach.’”. Here in this passage, these women don’t want God to have a say about what and how they eat and dress, but at the same time, they want to be called by His name. “We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.” – Steps to Christ, page 44, paragraph 1. The Bible declares, “For as many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God.” – Romans 8:14. See Matthew 12:30.

Fifth commandment – “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” – Exodus 20:12. Adam and Eve dishonoured their heavenly Father by disobeying His voice. As a result their “days” could not last “long” or forever as God said that if they disobey they shall “surely die.”

Eighth commandment – “Thou shalt not steal.” – Exodus 20:15. Stealing is taking someone’s property without their permission. Adam and Eve did exactly that, hence they hid themselves afterwards. See Genesis 3:8. Typically criminals hide themselves after stealing.

Tenth Commandment – “Thou shalt not covet...” – Exodus 20:17. To covet is to envy; in simple terms, it is to want something that belongs to somebody else. Adam and Eve coveted God’s tree; God gave them all the other trees, but they were not content (satisfied), and were even envying God’s property.

Thus, it is evidence that embedded in that simple commandment were all the principles of the Ten Commandments. We also discovered that human beings were given the precepts of God even in an environment where there was no sin, just as we have seen that angels were also given the commandments of God in a perfect environment.

2    How did God respond to Cain’s murder?


Answer: “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he said, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?’ And he said, ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.’” – Genesis 4:7-11.

Note: The Bible says “the curse does not come without a cause.” – Proverbs 26:2, BBE. To Adam was told, “Because thou hast...eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake...’” – Genesis 3:17. Thus it is evident that curse only comes as a result of transgression. God made it clear that if Cain does not do “well, sin lieth at the door.” – Genesis 4:7. And we know that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17. “... sin is the transgression of the law.” – 1 John 3:4. “...where there is no law there is no transgression.” – Romans 4:15, NKJV. Cain in the Bible is called a murderer. The work of killing and destroying is the work of Satan. And Jesus wants us to have an abundant life. Read John 10:10. “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” – 1 John 3:12. The Bible says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” – 1 John 3:15. And Jesus said, “whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment...” and “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” – Matthew 5:21,22. Thus, it is evident that Cain a murderer. When “Cain” was “wroth” he “rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” – Genesis 4:8. The way God deals with this matter shows that He expected Cain to have been obedient, and followed God’s way, and thus keep the commandment that says, “thou shalt do no murder” – Matthew 19:18.

3    Why did God reward Abraham?


Answer: “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statues, and My laws.” – Genesis 26:5.

Note: The fact that Abraham kept God’s commandments and laws shows that the law was in existence. His act of obedience was a demonstration of the faith that he had. See Hebrews 11:8-10.

4    What was the test of the Israel when they were in the wilderness, before the arrived at Mount Sinai?


Answer: “Then said the LORD unto Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or no.’” – Exodus 16:4.

Note: The manna that God rained from heaven was a test. See Deuteronomy 8:3. God wanted to test them and see if “they will walk” in His law. Later on, when some refused to not follow what God said, “The LORD said unto Moses, ‘How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?’” – Exodus 16:28. It is evident that God holy law always been in existence. It did not come to being in Exodus 20 when He spoke it, or in Exodus 31 when He wrote it. It existed for as law as God has existed for it is the transcript of His character.

What we have studied thus far only show that the law of God is found in heaven, and was given to humanity; but also that it is universal. There’s no created being that is not subject to God’s commandments. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13. The word “man” used in this passage in the original language is the word “Adam” which means “mankind.” Thus, it is evident that the law is for every person. Exodus 18:16.

  1. “First commandment which had to do with other gods. Read Genesis 35: 2-4 and Joshua 24:2.
  2. Second commandment which forbids image worship. Read Genesis 31: 19-34 and Genesis 35: 1-4.
  3. Third commandment forbids disrespect for God. Read Exodus 5:2; Job 21:7, 14, 15.
  4. Fourth commandment had to do with God’s Sabbath. Read Genesis 2: 1-3 and Exodus 16: 22-29.
  5. Fifth commandment had to do with respecting parents. Read Genesis 37: 28-35 and Genesis 50: 15-17.
  6. Sixth commandment concerning killing. Read Genesis 4:8 and 1 John 3: 13, 15.
  7. Seventh commandment which forbids unfaithfulness in marriage. Read Genesis 34: 1, 2, 31 and Genesis 39: 7-9.
  8. Eighth commandment forbids stealing. Read Genesis 27: 35, 36 and Genesis 44: 4-8.
  9. Ninth commandment which had to do with deception and falsehood. Read Genesis 27:17-14.
  10. Tenth commandment had to do with covetousness. Eve coveted that which belonged to God before she took it. Read Genesis 3:6.
Note: While it is true that the ten precepts are stated formally, it is evident from these accounts that the people were aware of them, some ordering their lives by them, others choosing to violate them.” – Basic Bible Study Helps, The Law, By Harold E.Metcalf.