PROPHETIC PREDICTION ON SACRIFICES
How did Christ's death affect the sacrificial system?
"After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off. . . . And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." Daniel 9:26, 27.
WHAT REALLY ENDED AT THE CROSS?
What did Christ nail to His cross and thus abolish?
"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." Colossians 2:14. "Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Ephesians 2:15, 16.
NOTE.—"By the handwriting of ordinances the apostle most evidently means the ceremonial law."—DR. ADAM CLARKE, Commentary. "Jesus did not give a new moral code. He was not a second lawgiver like Moses. He was far greater, and His moral teachings stand on a far higher plane than those of Moses. He was not so much concerned with laying down detailed rules for the regulation of the moral life as with enunciating eternal principles by which men should live under God and with talking about motives and purposes which should rule all our actions. "Jesus did not give a new code, but He also did not say that the moral teachings of the Old Testament were suspended. The ceremonial and ritual- istic laws of the Old Testament are abrogated for the Christian, but not the Ten Commandments."—J. PHILIP HYATT, "God's Decrees for Moral Living," The Teacher (Baptist), October, 1943, vol. 57, no. 10, p. 5.
To what did the abolished ordinances pertain?
"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: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:16, 17.
Note—The things concerning which no man is to judge us "are a shadow of things to come." The weekly Sabbath was given to man in Eden, not as a shadow of something to come, but as God's memorial of His creative work. For the Jews' shadowy sabbaths see Leviticus 23:4-44.
Do these ordinances relate to the sacrificial system?
"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 corners thereunto perfect." Hebrews 10:1.
What occurred at the time of the crucifixion which indicated that the typical system had been taken away by Christ?
"The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake." Matthew 27:51. In
what language is this clearly stated?
"He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, 0 God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second." Hebrews 10:8, 9.
NOTE.—The first here refers to the typical offerings. These were taken away that the second, the all-sufficient offering, the blood of Christ, might stand forth as the true, the only sacrifice that could take away sin. To have continued the offering of animals after the cross would have been a denial that the Lamb of God, whom the offerings prefigured, had come.
How did Jesus intimate to the woman at Jacob's well that the ceremonial system of worship would be abolished?
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, wor- ship the Father." John 4:21.
NOTE.—The Jewish worship centered in the ritual service of the temple "at Jerusalem," while the Samaritans had instituted a rival service "in this mountain," Mount Gerizim. Jesus therefore indicated that the time was at hand when the whole typical system would pass away.
TESTING THE ISSUE
How did this question confront the apostles?
"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved." Acts 15:1. "Certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment." Verse 24.
What decision was then reached by the apostles?
"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." Verses 28, 29.
NOTE.—The question before the council at Jerusalem concerned the cere- monial law. Christian Gentiles and Jews were keeping the seventh-day Sab- bath, and in other matters observing the Ten Commandments, for the apostle James says pointedly, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10. Prohibitions against murder, theft, and Sabbath breaking were clear, but the question of Jewish cere- monialism arose. Waiving the ceremonial rite of circumcision, the apostles decided that since the eating of blood and things strangled affected the health, thus touching a moral principle, the Gentile believers ought to abstain from these things. Likewise, the first, second, and seventh commandments of the moral law are supported by the injunction against fornication and the use of meats offered to idols.
Of what was Stephen accused concerning the Mosaic law?
"And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us." Acts 6:13, 14.
What similar charge was brought against Paul?
"This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law." Acts 18:13. What statement did Paul make concerning his faith? "I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets." Acts 24:14.
NOTE.—The charge against Stephen and Paul was not based upon any violation of the moral law, but upon their teaching concerning the ceremonial law; and Paul's admission that he was guilty of what they called heresy meant simply that he differed from them as to the obligation to observe any longer the ceremonial law, which was imposed upon them "until the time of reforma- tion." The simple act that such charges were made against these able teachers of the gospel shows that in their view the ceremonial law had been abolished by the death of Christ.
JESUS AND THE LAW What is the office of the moral law?
"By the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20.
NOTE.—If the moral law were abolished, there would be no sin. But Christ always kept the Ten Commandments, and by His death established the moral law forever. (See Romans 3:31; 8:1-3.)
How is this same teaching expressed in another place?
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Romans 10:4.
NOTE.—Murdock's translation of the Syriac New Testament renders this passage: "For Messiah is the aim of the law, for righteousness, unto every one that believeth in Him." The law of God points out sin, and thus leads the sinner to Christ, that by beholding and accepting the sacrifice of Calvary, he may be cleansed of all iniquity. (Romans 7:7.)
Where is there a similar use of the same word "end"?
"Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:9. (See also 1 Timothy 1:5; James 5:11.)
NOTE.—In the ceremonial law there was "a shadow of good things to come," a type of the mediatorial work of Christ, our great High Priest. The moral law points out sin, condemns the sinner, and sends him to Christ for pardon and cleansing. The work of Christ, by both His life and death, abolished the ceremonial law but established the moral law.
What did Christ say of the law and the prophets?
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17.
NoTE.—"The ritual or ceremonial law, delivered by Moses to the children of Israel, containing all the injunctions and ordinances which related to the old sacrifices and service of the Temple, our Lord indeed did come to destroy. . . But the moral law, contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the Prophets, he did not take away." "In the highest rank of the enemies of the gospel of Christ, are they who openly and explicitly 'judge the law' itself, and 'speak evil of the law'; who teach men to break ... all the commandments at a stroke; who teach, without any cover, in so many words,—What did our Lord do with the law? He abolished it. There is but one duty, which is that of believing. All commands are unfit for our times. . . .' Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!"—JoHN WESLEY, "Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount," Dis- course 5, in Works, vol. 5 (1829 ed.), pp. 311, 317.
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