THE RELIGION OF THE JEWS
About 1495 B. C. God revealed Himself to Israel, through Moses their mediator, as Jehovah, the I AM. Through Moses God gave to Israel His law, which was made up of many laws, commandments and ordinances.
“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17.
Let us carefully note these verses:
“Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”
Romans 5:20 and 21
“Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The ritualism, ceremonies, ordinances and religion of the Jews, called “meats and drinks, divers baptisms and carnal ordinances,” were imposed upon Israel until “the time of reformation.” Religion was given to Israel on Mount Sinai. That religious program was to be observed until the time of reformation.
About 1900 years ago the time of reformation was at hand. Since that time God has not required Israel to carry on that religious program, and most assuredly that program was never given to members of God’s Church today, which is known as “the Body of Christ.”
Note what God has told members of that Body
Colossians 2:13 to 16
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 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; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.”
Here we have most important Divine instructions concerning the spiritual program for members of the Body of Christ in this day of grace. Here we learn that God, during one period of time, demanded of His people certain religious practices which He forbids them to observe in another period of time.
Now let us look into the truth of :
Romans 5:20 and 21
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“The law entered.” The law entered at Sinai about 2500 years after sin entered in the Garden of Eden. “The law of sin and death” became effective after Adam sinned. His offence brought death to the human race. For 2500 years the sinner was unable to please God. Because of his indwelling sin, the sinner was unable to do right and refrain from doing wrong. The sinner was condemned by his conscience.
Then the law was added because of transgressions until Christ came:
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator.”
“The law was added”—The law was added to the Abrahamic Covenant the gospel which God preached to Abram. Galatians 3:8.
“Because the law worketh wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression.”
“The law worketh wrath.” Christ made peace by the blood of His Cross. Colossians 1:20.
II Corinthians 3:7 and 9
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.”
Here we note that the law is called “the ministration of death and condemnation.”
Romans 3:19 and 20
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
WHY THE LAW
Galatians 3:24 and 25
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
“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.”
INDWELLING SIN AND SIN THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW
After 1492 B. C. God had two witnesses to convince man that he was a sinner, “conscience” and “the law.” There were then two laws, “the law of sin and death” and the law that was given by Moses.
Moses lived 80 years when there was no law. Men of many generations lived when there was no law, “from Adam to Moses”; about 2500 years.
When Christ spoke of sending the Holy Spirit to convince the world of sin, that sin was “because they believe not on Me.” John 16:7 to 11.
MOSES RECEIVES THE LAW
Exodus 20:1 to 26
1. “And God spake all these words, saying,
2. I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 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:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a Jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 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.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, not thy son, not thy daughter, thy manservant, not thy maidservant, not thy cattle, not thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, not his manservant, not his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, not any thing that is thy neighbor’s.
18 And all the people saw the thundering., and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Feat not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.
24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.
26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.”
MOSES RECEIVES THE PATTERN OF THE TABERNACLE ISRAEL’S RELIGIOUS PROGRAM
Exodus 25:1 to 10
1 “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass.
4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
5 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.”
EXODUS 25:23 and 31
“Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth therof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.”
“And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers shall be of the same.”
“Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them.”
“And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair to be a coveting upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.”
“And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.”
THE VAIL AND THE MERCY—SEAT
Exodus 26:31 and 32
“And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubim. shall it be made. And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.”
“And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.”
“And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare; and the height thereof shall be three cubits.”
“And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.”
In our next lesson we shall. see how the high-priest sprinkled the mercy-seat with blood on the day of atonement which Israel was commanded to observe once each year. Then their sins were covered for a year when the ceremony was repeated.
THE ALTAR AND PEACE OFFERING
In Exodus 20:24, we read the Lord’s instructions concerning the altar and peace offerings. These instructions are given in the same chapter which contains the ten commandments, the law.
We read in Romans 4:15, “the law worketh wrath.” In Colossians 1:20 we read that Christ made peace by the blood of His cross. The Lord knew that no Israelite could perfectly keep His holy law. Sin is the transgression of the law: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4. Christ died on the cross to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” Hebrews 9:22. What the law could not do Christ did do. Romans 8:2 to 4. “The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw night unto God.” Hebrews 7:19.
Thus we see that the altar and the peace offering spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross of Calvary, so that lawbreakers might be delivered from God’s wrath and be at peace with God. In Romans 8:1 to 4 we are told that Christ did what the law could not do because the law was weak through the flesh. We are saved by God’s grace, which reigns through Christ Jesus. Romans 5:21.
This brings us to carefully note the Divine truth taught in the several Scriptures which we quote:
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Hebrews 7:19.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4.
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1 and 4.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4.
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:8 and 9.
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:38 and 39.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36.
FIGURE AND SHADOW
We learn in Hebrews 9:10 and Hebrews 10:1 that the religious ceremonies and sacrifices which the Lord gave to Israel, with the ten commandments, and which they practiced for more than fifteen centuries, were figures and a shadow of better things; that is, the better things that were accomplished by Christ.
We are told in Hebrews 10:9 and 10: “Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that He might establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Let us carefully note the truth of Hebrews 9:11 and 12:
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US.”
Here we learn that Christ, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, by His own blood, entered into heaven and obtained eternal redemption.
In Israel’s shadow days, under the law, note what the high priest did:
“But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not with. out blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.”
Hebrews 10:3 and 4
“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
By carefully reading all of the ninth chapter of Hebrews, and by comparing this Scripture with God’s instructions concerning the construction and service of the tabernacle in Exodus, chapters 25 to 31, we learn that God was very particular as to the minute details in all of His instructions concerning the sanctuary and tabernacle
“Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”
The sanctuary and all that pertained to it spoke of the life, ministry and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
CHRIST THE SANCTUARY AND TABERNACLE
When the Lord’s messenger told Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, he said. “that HOLY THING which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35.
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt (skenoo) among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
The Greek word translated “dwelt” is literally “tabernacled.” Christ, God’s true Sanctuary, the Lord Jesus Christ, tabernacled here on earth.
Believing sinners once met God in mercy and forgiveness in the tabernacle. Now God’s place of blessing is “in Christ Jesus.” Believers are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus and are without condemnation in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 1:3 and 4. Romans 8:1.
At the entrance of the sanctuary there was an altar of brass. where the blood of animals was shed. Then the laver of water for washing and cleansing. Then inside, the sanctuary was divided into the holy-place and the most holy-place, or the holiest of all. This most holy-place was the figure of heaven where Christ now ministers for His redeemed ones. Hebrews 9:24.
In the holy-place there was the lamp with its light from pure oil, the table of bread, the altar of incense, with its never dying fire and fragrance going up. Then the veil separated the holy-place from the most holy-place. This veil was rent from top to bottom when Christ died on the cross. Matthew 27:51. Mark 15:38. Luke 23:45.
THE PRIEST IN THE SANCTUARY
Hebrews 9:3 and 4
“And after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the Holiest of all: Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.”
In the Gospel of John we are introduced to Christ as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29. In chapter six, He is the Bread of God for God’s people to eat. In chapters eight and nine, He is the Light of the world. In chapter thirteen, He is washing the feet of His redeemed ones. In chapter seventeen, He is the praying High-Priest, the believer’s Intercessor, as prefigured by the altar of incense.
The colors used in the tabernacle, the blue, the red, the white, the purple, all spoke of the character and work of Christ. So also did the gold, the silver, the wood and the brass.
In another lesson we shall study concerning Solomon’s temple.
About 1012 B. C. Solomon began to build a temple for God and His people in the city of Jerusalem. From about 1495 B. C. until the temple was completed Israel continued to worship in the tabernacle.
We shall study more of the ministry of the Levites and the feasts and offerings of the Lord in our next lesson. But we have learned that when we speak of the law we must designate just what part of the law was referred to.
Let us again study carefully:
Galatians 3:19 to 25
“WHEREFORE THEN SERVETH THE LAW? IT WAS ADDED BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSIONS, TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISE WAS MADE; AND IT WAS ORDAINED BY ANGELS IN THE HAND OF A MEDIATOR. NOW A MEDIATOR IS NOT A MEDIATOR OF ONE, BUT GOD IS ONE. IS THE LAW THEN AGAINST THE PROMISES OF GOD? GOD FORBID: FOR IF THERE HAD BEEN A LAW GIVEN WHICH COULD HAVE GIVEN LIFE, VERILY RIGHTEOUSNESS SHOULD HAVE BEEN BY THE LAW. BUT THE SCRIPTURE HATH CONCLUDED ALL UNDER SIN, THAT THE PROMISE BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST MIGHT BE GIVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE. BUT BEFORE FAITH CAME, WE WERE KEPT UNDER THE LAW, SHUT UP UNTO THE FAITH WHICH SHOULD AFTERWARDS BE REVEALED. WHEREFORE THE LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, THAT WE MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH. BUT AFTER THAT FAITH IS COME, WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER.”
1. According to Romans 5:20, why did the law enter?
2. Why was the law added, according to Galatians 3:19?
3. What was the religion of the Jews called according to Hebrews 9:10?
4. What is the law called in II Corinthians 3:7 and 9?
5. Why was the law according to Galatians 3:24?
6. Who was the mediator of the Old Covenant or Old Testament?
7. Quote John 1:17.
8. In what chapter of Exodus is recorded the giving of the ten commandments? What is said in that chapter about the altar and peace offering?
9. Compare Exodus 20:4 and 23 and state which of the ten commandments was repeated.
10. State in what respect the tabernacle and sanctuary spoke of the Person and the redemptive work of Christ.
11. Where in the tabernacle did God meet and commune with Israel?
12. Where in the tabernacle did the high priest go every year? How and for what purpose?
13. What do we learn in Hebrews 10:1 to 4 concerning the sacrifices under the law?
14. Quote and explain Hebrews 7:19.
15. Quote and compare Romans 3:28 and Acts 13:39.
16. Where is Christ at this time? What is He doing? What work of the high priest of Israel pre-figured Christ’s work in heaven?
17. For what was the altar of brass in the sanctuary used? Who was Christ according to John 1:29?
18. In what sense did the shewbread, lamps and altar of incense speak of Christ as He is revealed in the Gospel of John?
19. What happened to the veil in the temple when Christ died on the cross?
20. What instructions with respect to the law are given to believers under grace in Colossians 2:14 to 17?
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.