Monday, January 31, 2011

Laying Down the Law - Hagar

In the preceding chapters I have set forth a panoramic view of Yahweh’s plan to bring forth mature spiritual sons and daughters. I have labored to show the place of the Law in God’s plan of the ages. Man was not created sinful, nor did Yahweh intend for man to remain perpetually enslaved to sin. The Law would not always be needed to serve as a restraint upon carnal people. Yahweh has determined to have sons and daughters who share His divine nature.

A great leap forward in the divine plan occurred when Christ sent forth His Spirit to indwell man. Yahshua declared to His disciples:

John 16:7-8
“It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

One cannot put too much emphasis on the words, “It is to your advantage...”  The Greek word translated into English as “advantage” is “sumphero.” It is derived from two root words that mean “to gather together, as if to collect.” What Christ was expressing to His disciples is that they would reap an increase; they would be abundantly supplied; they would be greatly enlarged and improved in every way, when Christ sent forth the Holy Spirit unto them.

What man has gained through receiving the Holy Spirit is beyond measure. Those who were dead in their trespasses and sins, were made alive. Those who were formless (lacking the image of God) and void (lacking the indwelling Spirit of God) were fashioned into a new creation.

II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

It was truly a vain work for any man to attempt to arrive at Yahweh’s desire to have offspring in His image through works of the flesh. The flesh profits nothing. The best we can  do in our own strength is unacceptable in the eyes of the Father. Our attempts to arrive at the promises of God are mirrored in the life of Abraham.

Abraham earnestly desired a son in his image, one who sprang from his own loins. When Abraham was unable to acquire such a son through his wife Sarah, he went into his wife’s handmaid Hagar in an attempt to produce that which his soul greatly desired. Ishmael was the fruit of this fleshly work, and Yahweh had no regard for him. God has given us this testimony from Abraham’s life to reveal important matters pertaining to the Law.

Galatians 4:24-30
For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar - for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children - but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all... What does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman."

Consider this parable found in the life of Abraham. Abraham wanted a godly heir that came from his own loins. His wife Sarah, though exceedingly beautiful, was barren. Sarah is a symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Hebrews 12:22-24
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Yahshua the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Abraham and his descendants were covenanted to the heavenly Jerusalem PRIOR to being joined to the Jerusalem below. God gave Abraham the covenant of promise 430 years before his descendants received the covenant of Law.

Galatians 3:16-18
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Note that Paul says that this earlier covenant was “confirmed before by God IN CHRIST.” When was this done? The sacrifice of Christ was foreshadowed when Yahweh cut a covenant of blood with Abraham. Abraham was instructed to divide various animals in half, and a deep dread fell upon him. A smoking pot and a lantern were seen to pass between the pieces. These things pointed to the work to be accomplished by Christ.

A brother wrote to me some days back objecting to my current teaching on the Law. He defended the continuance of the Mosaic covenant by saying that Christ did not bring in a new covenant, but merely RENEWED the covenant. There is truth in that the new covenant in Christ’s blood is a RENEWED covenant. One must understand, however, that it is not the covenant instituted by Moses that was renewed. It was the earlier covenant of promise.

When Yahweh cut covenant with Abraham, His plan was for the promise to tarry for many more centuries. Even as the promise of God tarried for Abraham in a natural sense, so too did it tarry in a spiritual sense. Isaac is a type and shadow of Yahshua. Isaac was named “laughter” for his appearing brought gladness and joy to the hearts of Sarah and Abraham in the same way that the appearance of Christ would bring gladness and joy to the world.

Yahweh had far greater things in mind than were to be realized in Isaac when He promised Abraham a seed. Isaac was not the true seed. Yahshua was that seed. God had committed Himself to undertake for Abraham to bring forth a righteous heir. Isaac was in bondage to sin, as was his father, but the long awaited Seed was not. Yahshua was tempted in all ways as we, yet without sin.

We find another spiritual parable in the life of Abraham. When the natural seed that was to be realized in Isaac tarried, Abraham took to himself another wife. Abraham was already married to Sarah, and he took to himself Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid, as wife. Marriage represents a covenant between two parties. This covenant is sealed when a man is intimate with a woman. Hagar would have been a virgin when she was given to Abraham, therefore a blood covenant was cut when Abraham had relations with her. (For further reading on this subject, see the book “The Marriage Covenant.”)

It is necessary to understand that Hagar was Abraham’s wife by covenant in order to perceive those things which follow.

Genesis 16:3-4
Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.

Thus we see that Abraham has now entered into two covenants. The first was with Sarah. The second with Hagar. When the fruit of the first covenant tarried to appear, a second covenant was entered into. In the same way, Abraham’s descendants entered into two covenants. The second covenant the descendants of Abraham could not keep. They violated it repeatedly.

Hebrews 8:9
They did not continue in My covenant...

Even so, Abraham did not keep his covenant with Hagar. Though she was his wife and had bore him a son, Abraham sent her away without inheritance or provision. This was to fulfill the types and shadows of the Law. When the promised Seed came according to the more ancient covenant, the covenant of the Law was put away. The Law was never intended to remain forever. It was given only until the promised Seed should come.

Galatians 3:19
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.

Truly, the covenant with Hagar was “added because of transgressions,” for it was the unbelief of Abraham and Sarah that led to this work of the flesh.

Consider carefully that Yahweh permitted Abraham to follow this course in taking Hagar as his wife. Yet the fruit of her flesh was not acceptable in God’s eyes. Ishmael was not a product of faith and obedience. He arose from unbelief and striving. Even so, Yahweh permitted His people to experience striving for 1,500 years until the promised Seed should appear. This striving would reveal the vanity of all fleshly effort to attain to the righteousness of God.

The Law could never satisfy the heart of Yahweh. He permitted it for a season until the Seed should come who would fulfill Yahweh’s desire, which is “OBEDIENT SONS.”  The law could only offer sacrifice to temporarily atone for sins which were continually committed. Yahweh wanted obedience, not sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22
"Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”

Yahweh desired sons in His image in the same way that Abraham longed for a son of his loins. We see Yahweh’s dissatisfaction with the Law in the following passage.

Isaiah 1:11-14
 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? saith Yahweh: I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them.
[Noah Webster’s Bible 1833]

Because the Law could not produce righteousness in the heart of man it was never a pleasing wife for Abraham’s descendants in the eyes of God. The offspring it produced were rebellious. Their hearts were always going astray. Like Ishmael, they could not tame the unruliness of their own souls. All those born of Adam are like “a wild jackass of a man.”

Genesis 16:11-12
And the Angel of Yahweh said to [Hagar]: "Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because Yahweh has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."

In the Hebrew, the words rendered into English as “wild man” are “adam pere.” Adam means “man.” Pere is a Hebrew word describing the onager, which was a wild donkey of the desert. God was testifying that Ishmael, the son of Hagar, would be a man with the nature of a wild ass. Stubbornness and rebellion would be his nature. Ishmael is a type and shadow of every man born of the first Adam. As the son of Hagar, He is a symbol of all those who enter into the covenant of the Law seeking to please God through works of the flesh.

The Law cannot restrain sinful men. As Paul testified, it merely stirred up a desire to violate its commands.

Romans 7:5
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

Apart from receiving the new birth in Christ, we are all wild asses. It is with difficulty that we can be restrained. We will always find some way to break free of that which holds us.

Yahweh has no regard for the fruit of man’s flesh. The best that fallen man can produce falls short of the desire of God. That which He esteems must be brought forth by His Spirit.

Genesis 17:18-19
And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"  Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”

God’s lack of regard for Ishmael finds a parallel in His testimony of that generation of Israel who were given the Law.

Hebrews 8:7-9
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not regard them, says Yahweh.”

The Law is mankind’s Hagar. It holds forth the allure of producing man’s desire. The Law looks fertile. Man believes if he can only come into union with the Law that good fruit will be the result. Union with the Law, however, produces only rebellion and sin.

Romans 7:8-11
But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

The natural man embraces the Law with the hope of producing life. Indeed, outwardly it may appear that man has accomplished his goal. There is an appearance of life being brought forth, but in God’s eyes He sees only death.

Matthew 23:27-28
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

People of God, this judgment spoken by Christ applies to all men who believe that their works will find them approval before Yahweh. After the Spirit had been given to the body of Christ, the apostle Paul said that there were yet men who wanted to bring partakers of the new covenant back under the Law that they might make a good showing in the flesh.

Although God was bringing forth something far better for Abraham than what he had accomplished on his own, observe how difficult it was for this man to let go of that which he had produced. Abraham petitioned Yahweh, “May Ishmael LIVE before You.” Life was not to be obtained through the Law. Therefore, when LIFE (Yahshua) did appear the son of the bondwoman had to be cast out.

Consider this carefully. Paul tells us that these two women are two covenants. Abraham truly had two wives. He was covenanted to both of them. Yet, when Sarah (the Jerusalem above) brought forth the promised seed, Hagar (the Jerusalem below) was cast out with her son.

Galatians 4:30
"Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman."

Lest we think this was an unrighteous act precipitated by Sarah, consider that Yahweh told Abraham that what Sarah spoke was His will.

Genesis 21:9-13
And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac." And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham's sight because of his son. But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.”

Not only did Ishmael mock Isaac, but we read that Hagar, after she had given birth to Ishmael, acted arrogantly toward her mistress Sarah. An important truth is revealed here. These two covenants are in antipathy toward one another. They cannot abide together harmoniously.

Hagar’s time in the tent of Abraham was only until the promised seed should come. Then she was sent away, with her son. So too do we find that the Law remained only until the promised Seed appeared. The covenant of promise was renewed. Christ has become its Mediator. The bondwoman and her offspring have been sent away.

Before passing onto other types and shadows, let us consider a further contrast between Ishmael, the son of the bondwoman (Law), and Christ. We have seen it described that Ishmael was a wild ass of a man. He was incapable of ruling over the stubbornness and rebellion of his soul. In contrast, let us look to the magnificent parable found in one of the last demonstrations of Yahshua.

Mark 11:1-2
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; and He said to them, "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it.

Matthew 21:4-7
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Yahshua commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

The disciples brought to Christ a colt on which no one had ever ridden. This is a parable. No man had ever been able to tame the beast nature. No man had ever conquered the rebellion and stubborn sinfulness of the natural man. Christ was the first to do so. He sat on the colt, and it submitted to bear Him where He must go. So too, did He ever rule over His soul. He never did anything of His own initiative. He lived to do the will of the Father. In Christ, the Father’s desire was realized for an obedient Son. All those who by faith are joined to Christ are also transformed into obedient sons.

Heart4God Website:

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Butterfly Dreams

Joseph Herrin (01-30-2011)

Bus Painted - Driver’s Side
(Click on Photo for Larger Image)

In the midst of writing blog posts and answering e-mail I have found opportunity recently to get most of the bus painted. My first step was painting the roof. I mixed ceramic additive into a gallon of white paint, and applied the mixture to the roof. The ceramic additive will greatly reduce heat absorption during sunny days.

It took about 4-5 hours to paint the roof. The platform at the rear took the most time as all the rails had to be painted with a brush. The entire bus was painted with brush and roller. As you can see from the picture above, I decided to go back with the original white and blue color scheme after so many people wrote to me and suggested that they liked it the best of the options I had posted.

It was difficult to see from photos, but the bus was in bad need of painting. In the following photo you can see remnants of all three previous lives of the bus. First it was a school bus, then a church bus, then a NASCAR fan’s mid-track viewing platform.

I scraped off the reflectors and vinyl lettering that was found across the exterior, including words like “CHURCH BUS,” and the Methodist Church logos that were on either side. Then I proceeded to paint the bus. White was applied first, then blue.

Painting a large vehicle with brush and roller gives one an opportunity to exercise the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is certainly needed. The ladder on the back of the bus had to be painted with a brush. It is tedious work, but the finished result made it worth the labor.

I spent one day painting the white on each side of the bus.


Another day was needed to paint the blue.

I waited for it to warm up to about 50 degrees each day before I started painting. I would spend the morning writing until about 11:00 A.M. or Noon, and then paint during the afternoon.

I found some butterfly decals at Walmart in the automotive section. They were on closeout, and marked down. I bought two packs. Each pack was enough to do one side of the bus.

Applying Decals

The instructions said to wet the surface with water, then peel the backing off the decals and use a squeegee to rub them into place. After letting them sit for about 15 minutes, the top film could be removed. The process went very smoothly, and I had both sides of the bus completed in less than an hour.

I am very pleased with the overall appearance of the bus now. Some people in the campground have commented on the bus’s clean lines. It does not look like it is 39 years old now. The body has been well preserved. After all, it is Body by Carpenter.

I still have to paint the nose of the bus, but I must do some patching and sanding there first. I did replace the light covers up front, and I applied the vinyl lettering that Randy Simmons gave to me.

You may wonder what the butterfly symbolizes. It is a parable of those whose lives are transformed through Christ. We all begin as the caterpillar. The caterpillar is a consumer with a voracious appetite. It has been described as a stomach with legs. The caterpillar goes through a stunning metamorphosis. The fleshly, earthbound insect becomes a heavenly creation of great beauty. Its appetites are transformed. Its mind is changed, for that which was earthbound adapts to a life lived in the heavens. When the transformation is complete, there is nothing to suggest that the butterfly began life as a lowly caterpillar.

We too must lay aside the old life to become spiritual creations. The old life is comfortable. It is familiar, and we are strongly attached to it. Yet, our Father has a plan to transform all who are willing into heavenly beings. The instrument of transformation is the cross. It puts to death the old nature that a new creation might arise.

This is my dream. I believe God can accomplish such a transformation in my life, from glory to glory. I pray that all who read these writings might also dream such dreams.

Heart4God Website:  

Parables Blog:  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Laying Down the Law - From Children of Israel to Sons of God

The dealings of God with mankind is progressive. Even as the divine day begins in darkness and progresses to light, so too do we find that Yahweh’s revelation of Himself to man is with an ever increasing brightness. Yahweh has given us many things in the natural creation to provide insight into His dealings with mankind. One pattern we see is found in the progression of a human being from a baby, to a child, unto sonship, culminating eventually in the maturity of fatherhood.

I want to explore with you at this time the evidence given in Scripture that the Law of Moses entrusted to the Levitical Priesthood was for men and women who were in their spiritual childhood. When Christ sent forth the Spirit to indwell mankind, the desire of God to bring a people past childhood into sonship was realized. Let us begin by examining the following Scriptures.

Galatians 4:3-5
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fulness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

These words of the apostle Paul reveal that there was a time appointed by God described as “the fulness of time.” This date set by the Father’s own counsel marked a profound change in Yahweh’s dealings with mankind. Those who were formerly “children” were “under the Law.” At the appointed time these children under the Law were “redeemed.”

The Greek word translated as “redeem” in the passage above is exagorazo.
Strong’s Concordance defines it in the following manner:

exagorazo; to buy up, i.e. ransom; figuratively, to rescue from loss...

The root of this word is the Greek exago. It is defined as, “to lead forth.” The people of God, in their spiritual childhood, were kept under the Law until a time when Christ should lead them forth into the maturity of sons.

Galatians 4:1-3, 3:23-25
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father... Before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

The message of the apostle is made plain in these words. The Law acted as a guardian and tutor for spiritual children. The children of God were under the guard and stewardship of the Law “until the time appointed by the Father.” This steward brought us to Christ, “but after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Christ came to exagorazo (redeem us, lead us out) from the Law that we might go on to maturity and receive the adoption as sons.

In the previous chapters we looked at numerous declarations in the Scriptures stating that the Law made nothing perfect.

Hebrews 7:18-19
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect...

The word “perfect” is a translation of the Greek word teleios. One understanding of this word is “mature.” The Law made nothing mature. The Law could not bring men and women past spiritual childhood. The Levitical Priesthood was focused upon the Law of Moses. As such, the Levitical Priesthood was one of imperfection dealing with those who were spiritually immature.

Hebrews 7:11-12
Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

What is revealed in the words “if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood”? Paul is declaring that perfection (maturity) was not to be found in the Levitical priesthood “for under it the people received the Law. The Law made nothing perfect (mature).

There is a very consistent testimony in all of these Scriptures we have been looking at. The Law fulfilled a very important part of Yahweh’s plan for mankind. It had a narrowly defined purpose, and was limited in scope, both in its capabilities and duration. Over and over we read that it was given UNTIL some specific time appointed by the Father; until the time of reformation; until faith should come; until the seed should be born, etc..

In Christ the people of God are led out from the Law to enter into life in the Spirit. They are led out of childhood into a time of formation as sons that they might receive the adoption. The Law, and the Levitical Priesthood, had taken mankind as far as possible. It had guarded them while they were children. A new covenant and a new priesthood was required to take them on to spiritual maturity. The Levitical Priesthood was replaced with a new priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Yahshua is the High Priest of this new order. He is the initiator of a new covenant of the Spirit.

Hebrews 7:14-19
For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

People of God, can you understand that the pride of man, and the carnal nature, respond negatively to a change of priesthood? The natural descendants of Abraham were the sole stewards of the Old Covenant. Consider the passions and desires resident in the soul of man that would resist ever having this order changed. The Levites did not want to lose their unique role and call. Neither did the Jewish people, for they all considered themselves to be a holy people. A change of priesthood would alter their PLACE in this world.

John 11:47-48
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our PLACE and nation."

It is a great failing of man that he is more concerned with his place and standing in this world than he is intent upon seeing the will of Yahweh accomplished. Although the Levitical Priesthood could not take men beyond spiritual childhood, they did not want to relinquish their role when God determined to raise up a new priesthood to take men on to maturity.

Many Christians are committing the same error today. They refuse to let go of the Old Covenant, even when they are shown clearly that it can make no man perfect. Why is this occurring?

Many men are able to make a good showing in the flesh by proclaiming a continuance of the Law, but they fall short of the standard of those who would be priests according to a Melchizedek priesthood. They are not walking as Christ walked. They have not counted the cost of being Yahshua’s disciples and accepted it. They are willing to give God a tithe of their time and money, but not their entire lives. Wanting to be esteemed as spiritually mature, they are unwilling to enter the kingdom of God as children.

The result is that the church continues to walk after the pattern of a Levitical Priesthood. Priests and parishioners, ministers and members, are all spiritual children. The body of Christ is composed of the immature and ruled over by spiritual children.

Isaiah 3:12
Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you; they send you down the wrong road.
[New Living Translation]

Is it not revealing that the Law of Moses was delivered to “the CHILDREN of Israel”? The phrase “children of Israel” occurs more than 630 times in Scripture. Only in Christ are we able to move past spiritual childhood and on toward maturity as sons.

Ephesians 4:11-15
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children..., we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.

Consider what is expressed in the following words of the apostle Paul:

Galatians 4:1-7
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out,  "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

When we were spiritual children the Law was our guardian and tutor. We were heirs at that time, but treated no different than a slave. Not having the spirit and character of our Father formed in us, we were under an external master that told us what to do, and what not to do.

When the time arrived, Yahweh sent forth His Son that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. Christ has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts that we might walk with God as sons. We have been redeemed from under the Law that we might walk in newness of the Spirit.

Romans 7:4-6
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God... Now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

We were delivered (redeemed, led out) from the Law. We have been joined to Christ by His Spirit which was sent to indwell us. We are now to serve in newness of the Spirit, for it alone can lead us to maturity in Christ.

It offends the religious mind to suggest that those who are in Christ are no longer under the Law. Why is this so? Partly because many who were making a good showing under the Law must admit that under the Law they are no more than spiritual children. A focus on the Law cannot bring any to perfection (maturity). Even the best who are under the guardianship of the Law have not progressed past childhood. It is galling to the natural man to admit that we are yet babes when those around us have considered us mature spiritual men.

To lay aside the Law as the measure of their spirituality, many men and women will lose their PLACE in the same way that the Jewish religious leaders feared. Service as Levitical Priests focused upon the Law does not qualify men for service as priests of a new order.

What a very difficult task it is to lead people out of the old order and into the new. Only the humble will be able to make the transition. Those who are unwilling to release the honor they have attained as “law-keepers” and “Torah Observers” will not be able to enter the new order.

Consider the experience encountered by those who pass from one level of school to another in the public school systems of America. One might attain a place of respect, popularity and honor in elementary school, but passing on to Middle School they have to begin all over. Similarly those passing from Middle School to High School fall from the top of the ranks to the entry levels. One can be a BMOC (Big Man on Campus) in their senior year of High School, but passing on to the university level they find that they are once more considered an “underclassman,” a “pleb.”

How hard it is for those who have embraced the Law to depart from it to begin anew. Having mastered the roles of childhood, they are reluctant to pass on to higher things where they must begin at the lowest levels once more. The way to advancement with Christ is always the path of humility. The more humble a man or woman is, the further they will advance in the kingdom of God.

Oh the depths of the wisdom of God. He has so designed things that a man must manifest His character to make any advancement. Knowledge alone will not suffice. A good showing in the flesh is not enough. We must ever sink lower to be exalted. We must admit we are children in order to pass on to maturity.

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Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Laying Down the Law - Be Ye Perfect

If you did not read the previous post in this series, I encourage you to not permit the opportunity to pass you by. Go back and read it carefully, for there is contained in it such profound truth regarding the tragic consequences of seeking to be guided by Law, that all Christians are advised to consider carefully what is written. To return to the previous post click here:

The Law of Moses does not contain the full substance of the mind, character,  and will of the Father. These things are comprehended only by the Spirit.

I Corinthians 2:10-12
For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. .. Now we have received... the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

The Law was given by God to His people UNTIL that which is perfect should come. The Law was an interim measure that fulfilled the purposes of God. The Law revealed to men their lack of spiritual life. It showed men their need of a Savior. Through its types and shadows it pointed to the redemptive work of Christ. The Law was not the redemptive work itself. It was not a means to attain righteousness, and it did not fully disclose the will of the Father. The Law could not make men perfect.

Hebrews 7:18-19
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

In the previous chapter I gave an example of one area of the Old Testament Law, revealing it to be a shadow of life in Christ. This area was tithing. The Law required that men give to Yahweh a tithe of all their increase. In Christ, men are brought to give to Yahweh EVERYTHING.

Luke 14:33
 ‘So, then, every one of you who doth not take leave of all that he himself hath, is not able to be my disciple.’
[Young’s Literal Translation]

I Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price...

Romans 14:7-9
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Christ’s life, death and resurrection accomplished the desire of the Father. Through Christ, Yahweh obtained for Himself a people who would fully become His possession. This possession is not in part, as under the Law of Moses, but in whole. A man could be partaker of the Mosaic Covenant and give to God a tithe, but no man can be Christ’s disciple apart from giving up all he possesses.

Consider this pattern of shadow and substance in another Law, that of Sabbath rest. The Law of Moses required all of God’s people to rest one day of the week, and to perform no laborious work in it. The substance that the Christian is called to walk in is far more substantial. The substance of Sabbath rest is realized as a man ceases entirely from all works that arise from his soul.

Hebrews 4:10-11
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest...

This Sabbath rest was first revealed to the world through the life of Yahshua. No man prior to Christ ever walked in the substance of Sabbath rest. Yahshua demonstrated true Sabbath rest in the following words:

John 5:30
"I can do NOTHING on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 8:28-29
So Yahshua said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do NOTHING on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father instructed Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I ALWAYS do the things that are pleasing to Him."

Christ had entered so fully into the will of His Father that there was no action in His life that was initiated from within His own soul. He did not even speak a word of His own initiative. He only spoke those things the Father commanded Him to speak.

People of God, this is the difference between the shadow of the Law and the substance found in Christ. The Law truly made nothing perfect, but in Christ perfection is attained.

There are many believers today who have written to me to declare how very zealous they are for observing the shadow of the Sabbath as found in the Law. My heart is burdened for them, knowing that as long as they focus on shadows they will never attain to the perfect will of God. Indeed, keeping the shadow affords them a sense of self-righteousness as they measure themselves against what was commanded by Moses. Their self-satisfaction keeps them from any serious consideration that there is anything more Yahweh would require of them. They fall far short of giving to Yahweh their entire lives, seven days a week, while testifying that they are pleasing to Him as they observe the shadows found in the Old Covenant. Most who are Sabbath Keepers have not comprehended that the Laws pertaining to Sabbath were given to lead men to the substance that is found in Christ.

Colossians 2:16-18
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

The Father desires that men and women enter into that fulness of rest found in the life of Messiah. He wants His people to come to an end of all works that arise from their own souls. Yahweh wants His people to be able to declare with Christ, “I never (Not on Sabbath only) do anything of My own initiative. I always do the will of the Father.” Only this constitutes perfection. Only this rises to the fulness of the stature of Christ.

To understand the substance of Sabbath rest to which the shadows of the Old Testament point, I recommend the book Sabbath that can be found here:

The Scriptures testify that God is at work in the saints to conform them to the image of Christ. We are to live as He lived. Yahshua’s testimony is to become our testimony. The apostle Paul comprehended this, and stated it plainly.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me...

Yahshua testified that the Law did not bring men to perfection. He stated that men must go beyond the Law to attain to the righteousness of His Father. We have observed this already in the tithe and in regard to Sabbath rest. Let us look now at some other Laws.

Matthew 5:21-22
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.”

The command to not commit murder is found in the ten commandments. Has a man attained to the righteousness of God if he refrains from murdering another? Absolutely not. Yahweh judges the heart. Do you harbor unforgiveness, or secret hatred, or envy, or jealousy, toward a brother? If so, you have violated the righteousness of God.

Psalms 51:6, 10
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Christ demonstrated a harmony between the outward action and the inner heart condition. He was truly the Lamb without spot or blemish. He was and is altogether beautiful and without defect. His heart is pure. He desires that our inner life be perfect and that it accord with our outward actions. After revealing that the righteousness of God goes beyond the letter of the Law in its prohibition against murder, Christ passes on to other Laws.

Matthew 5:27-28
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:31-32
“Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'  But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”

Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'  But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

Matthew 5:43-45
“You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven... THEREFORE YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.”

Observe how Christ goes beyond the shadow of the Law in every instance. He reveals that the righteousness of God is much fuller, richer, and substantial. What is extremely revelatory is how Yahshua closes this subject. He declares that we are to be PERFECT as our heavenly Father is PERFECT.

In these words Yahshua reveals that keeping the letter of the Law will not make any man perfect. Man must go beyond the shadow of God’s righteousness contained in the Law, and enter into the fulness to be realized as we become partakers of the divine nature.

You who want to be under the Law, do you not perceive that the Law is an imperfect revelation of our heavenly Father? If it is the Law which guides you, you will fall short of attaining to the perfection found only in Christ.

Not only is the Law weak and deficient in revealing the righteousness of God, it is also inadequate to reveal the WILL of God for His people. The Law speaks in generalities, but the Spirit guides men with great specificity. The Law could not reveal to Christ that the Father would have Him begin His ministry by fasting for forty days in the wilderness, but the Spirit was quite adequate to do so. The Law could not disclose to Yahshua the twelve men who were to be His closest disciples, yet the Father had in mind specific individuals.

John 17:6-7
 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”

Christ did not choose men of His own initiative to be His disciples. He looked to the Father to know who were the ones the Father had selected. Yahweh is the source and originator of all things. Christ’s head is God (I Corinthians 11). Yahshua was always careful to do that which He saw His Father doing.

The Law is inadequate as a guide to reveal to the saints the will of Yahweh. The Law was given as an imperfect, yet necessary, guide to men until the Spirit of God should be given to indwell them. Since that time all those who are “in Christ” have been called to be led of the Spirit to discover the will of the Father for them.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Galatians 5:18
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Those Christians who have adopted the Law, or some moral code specific to their church or denomination, as their guide for living will fail to look to the Spirit to guide their steps. The reality of life among the majority of Christians today is that they are guided by the moral code they have adopted. It is an exceptional event for them to be guided by the Spirit. Consequently, the body of Christ remains immature, fleshly, and nothing is brought to perfection.

Surrendering to be led of the Spirit is a frightening prospect to the soul of man. The Law permits men to maintain a degree of control over their lives. They may give to God a tithe of their time and money, but the rest is at their own disposal. Not so for those who walk after the pattern of Christ. They must go wherever the Spirit leads and do whatever the Spirit commands. Their lives are not their own. There will certainly be many experiences the Spirit leads them to that their soul would not have chosen.

In Gethsemane Christ stated, “My soul is crushed as unto death.” It was the Spirit, not the Law, that directed Yahshua to Gethsemane and the cross of Calvary. All who surrender to be led of the Spirit will be led to a cross. It is the ONLY pathway to the perfection Yahweh desires for His sons. Christ was perfected through suffering, and so too must we be perfected. This is why Christ told the rich young ruler, “If you would be perfect, take up your cross and follow Me.”

As Christ was led of the Spirit, so too must be His disciples. As He took up His cross at the direction of the Spirit of God, so too must we. Clinging to the Law, men are able to make a good showing in the flesh while avoiding the suffering of the cross. This may seem like a good bargain in this age, but in the age to come there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth among all who have fallen short of the perfect will of the Father.

Heart4God Website:
Parables Blog:  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Laying Down the Law - The Moral Law - A Shadow of Things to Come

Many have set forth the argument that the ceremonial Law, and the Law of offerings and sacrifices, have been set aside for those who are in Christ, but the moral Law still holds sway over the life of an individual. They teach that the moral Law still is to serve as the believer’s code of conduct and a guide for righteous living. That the apostles and church fathers had the moral portions of the Law in mind when they declared the Christian to have died to the Law is evident in the Scriptures, and will be revealed to all who will rightly divide the word of God. Consider the following passage from Paul’s writings.

Romans 7:6-7
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET."

To those who argue that Paul was merely setting aside the Talmudic additions to the Law, let them consider Paul’s arguments in this chapter of Romans. Where do we find the command “You shall not covet”? It is in the Law of Moses, in that very pronounced subset which is referred to as the ten commandments.

Exodus 20:17
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

People of God, the  command to not covet most certainly belongs to that division of the Law that some have described as the moral Law. What does Paul say in regard to it? “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”

A number of things are to be observed in this statement. The Spirit has supplanted the role of the Law. The Spirit of Christ is that which is far fuller, more substantial, powerful, and capable than the Law delivered to Moses. The Spirit not only is able to reveal to the sons of God the will of the Father IN ALL THINGS, but it is able to impart the divine life needed to obey.

A second thing to observe in these words is that we are to continue to serve Yahweh. Being freed from the Law we are to enter into a fuller service to God. This service is not to continue under “the oldness of the letter.” Paul testifies that we have died to that manner of living. Rather, this service is in the newness of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:18
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

In sharing with the saints of God over the course of many years that those who are in Christ are no longer under the Law, including the moral Law, many emotional arguments have been raised. One of the common arguments is to ask, “So, do you believe it is now okay to commit murder, or to commit adultery, or to steal?” Others will ask, “So, what part of the moral Law do you want to violate?”

People of God, such arguments have failed to comprehend that which the scriptures are teaching. They are not promoting lawlessness. They are declaring that there is a far more excellent way to discern the mind and will of Yahweh than through the Law. The Law was weak, and it contained only a shadow of the will of God. The Spirit is able to reveal the will of God in fulness.

I do not desire to walk lawlessly. I desire to know the will of the Father and to do it. The Law cannot disclose the Father’s will with the same precision and fulness as that of the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Remember, Moses brought men under the rule of Yahweh by establishing the covenant of Law. Christ brings men under the rule of the Father to a far surpassing degree. His life establishes the pattern to be lived by all those who are born of His seed.

Yahshua was not guided by the Law. He was guided by the Spirit and He perfectly fulfilled the will and pleasure of the Father. From the moment the Spirit descended upon Him at the Jordan in the form of a dove, we read of Christ’s life being directed by the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:9-13
It came to pass in those days that Yahshua came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

It was the Father’s will for His Son to begin His earthly ministry by fasting for forty days, dwelling in the wilderness, and being tempted of the devil. Christ did not arrive at this knowledge of the will of His Father through the Law. Christ revealed the pattern of His life in the following words:

John 5:19-20
Therefore Yahshua answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.”

How is it that the Father disclosed what He was doing to the Son? It was through the Spirit.

I Corinthians 2:11-13
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

I want to share with you here one of the most tragic consequences of looking to the Law as a guide for righteous living. Because the Law contains only a shadow of the will of the Father, and not the full substance of His will, those who are guided by the Law will fail to discover and walk in all that the Father has appointed for their lives. Those areas of the Father’s will they are most likely to fail to enter into are one’s in which the saint would experience suffering and persecution.

Let us look to Christ once more as a pattern. It was the Spirit that directed Yahshua to heal on the Sabbath day. Although the Law did not strictly forbid healing on the Sabbath, neither did it say that one must heal on the Sabbath if an opportunity presented itself. Yahshua understood that if He healed on the Sabbath, the Jewish religious leaders would condemn Him and eventually seek to take His life. If He were guided by the Law He might have reasoned, “I can wait until the Sabbath is over to heal the people. They will still be healed, and I will avoid condemnation and persecution.”

This however, is not how Christ formed His decisions. He was careful to do whatever He saw the Father doing, and He saw the Father healing certain people on the Sabbath day. If Yahshua was to accomplish all the Father’s will, He had to be submitted to do all that the Spirit revealed to Him. Observe how this topic of persecution ties into the passage we read previously.

John 5:16-19
For this reason the Jews were persecuting Yahshua, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Therefore Yahshua answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”

Yahshua saw the Father healing on the Sabbath. Therefore, He healed on the Sabbath. This submission to the leading of the Spirit resulted in Christ’s persecution. If Yahshua were directed by Law He could easily have waited and healed on the next day and avoided persecution. Many Christians today who are directed by the Law, or look to some Christian moral code as their source of direction in life, are continually making similar decisions. They avoid persecution and suffering by living by a code of conduct. They are  freed from a life directed by the Spirit. The Christian’s mind becomes that which directs them, choosing the best manner to apply the Law to their circumstances.

People of God, let me state to you plainly, in order to be conformed to the image of Christ you must live by the Spirit. The Spirit will ALWAYS lead the sons and daughters of Yahweh to experiences where those around them will condemn them, scorn them, and persecute them. The Spirit will ALWAYS direct the saints to an afflicted path that leads to life, and few there are who find it.

I know of no greater deceit today among the people of God than that which clings to the Law with passionate arguments of wanting to do the Father’s will. Embracing the Law provides an excuse to avoid suffering while maintaining an appearance of righteousness. It sunders the Christian from submission to the Spirit of Christ with the result being that the disciple’s cross is avoided.

This is the reason that Satan works so tirelessly to sow confusion among the body of Christ in relation to the role of the Law. Satan knows that the Law makes nothing perfect, but life in the Spirit brings forth mature sons and daughters. Satan does not want to see Christ fully formed in men, so he leads them away from the one path that can produce saints who have attained to the fulness of the stature of Christ.

If one walks by the Spirit they must go wherever the Spirit leads them to go, and do whatever the Spirit directs them to do. The same Spirit that led Yahshua to heal on the Sabbath and to confront the sin and corruption of the Jewish religious system, will lead disciples today to works and words that will result in their persecution.

Galatians 6:12
As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Do you perceive what Paul is stating here? The Law allows men and women to make a good showing in the flesh while avoiding the persecution of the cross. Let me give you an example to illustrate this.

The Law tells a man that he is to give the firstfruits of his increase to Yahweh. He is free to do with the remainder whatever his soul desires as long as he does not violate the righteousness found in the Law. This is a shadow of the will of God, but not the full substance. The substance is realized in Christ.

Luke 14:33
"So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

Christ brings in the fulness of the Father’s will for mankind. Everything that a man possesses is to be surrendered to the Father to be used as He directs. Those who live by a Law of righteousness make a good showing in the flesh by giving to the Father a tithe of their increase. Those who walk by the Spirit must surrender to the Father EVERYTHING.

Luke 14:33
 ‘So, then, every one of you who doth not take leave of all that he himself hath, is not able to be my disciple.’
[Young’s Literal Translation]

There was a rich young ruler who kept the Law of Moses. He was outwardly of a very godly character. To borrow Paul’s description, he made a good showing in the flesh. I do not doubt the sincerity of this man. I do not believe he was a hypocrite, or a play actor. He wanted to be found approved by the God of Israel. This young ruler came to Messiah and asked the following:

Matthew 19:16
"Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"

Yahshua answered him by citing a number of the ten commandments. The young ruler assured Yahshua that he had kept all these things. He then said, “What more do I lack.”

Observe closely the response of Christ. He does not tell the young ruler that he is perfect for having kept the commandments, for the Law makes nothing perfect. Instead, Christ replies:

Matthew 19:21
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

This encounter with the rich young ruler is recorded in three of the gospels. Mark presents these last words of Christ to the ruler in this manner.

Mark 10:21
Then Yahshua, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

In each telling of this encounter, the writer reveals that Christ told the young man who had kept the Law that he still was lacking. Christ said, “IF YOU WANT TO BE PERFECT” there is something further you must do. The word translated as “perfect” here is the Greek word “teleios.” It means, “perfect, entire, lacking in nothing.” To become “teleios” Christ told the young man that he must go beyond the Law, and “take up the cross and follow Me.”

How does one follow Christ? They receive the Spirit of Christ and surrender to be guided by it in all things in the same way that Yahshua did. The Spirit will lead all men to a cross. Those who are guided by the Law are able to make a good showing in the flesh while avoiding the cross.

Those of you who read this writing, I declare to you that if you cling to the Law as your guide for living, you will be able to make a good showing in the flesh. Men will applaud you for your righteous appearance, but you will fall short of becoming “perfect, entire and lacking in nothing.” If you surrender to be led of the Spirit in all things, you too may be required to sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor.”

Men will not applaud you for this. Family members will tell you that you are misguided. Religious people, and lovers of money, will tell you that you need to hold onto your possessions that the world might see that obedience to God results in prosperity. Yet, Christ, speaking through the inspiration of the Spirit of His Father revealed this to be the will of God for this young man. If he would be perfect, he must go beyond the Law to a life fully surrendered to the Spirit.

Christ declares that this is a cost that ALL disciples must accept. Everything you possess must be yielded to the Spirit to be used as He directs.

Consider now why the Law is so attractive to men and women today. Embracing the Law delivers them from suffering while permitting them to make a good showing in the flesh.

Those who are concerned that my teaching in this series will lead to lawlessness, now know the truth. It is an adherence to the Law that leads one away from full submission to the will of God and prevents men from coming to spiritual maturity.

I ask you to consider this matter in your own life. Is it not easier for you to give Yahweh a tithe of your increase than to submit all you possess to Him for His disposal? Does it not strike fear into your heart to consider what a full surrender to the Spirit in this realm might result in.

If you have embraced the Law as your guide, you can console yourself with the thought that you have done well in giving to God a tithe. You can avoid asking God if He would have you to give everything. If this is your experience, the Law has severed you from the Spirit of Christ. The Law has usurped the role of the Spirit as Yahweh’s voice to disclose His full and perfect will to you.

Galatians 5:4
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law...

Is not the fear of suffering a powerful motivator? Many, not discerning the dynamics of the attraction of the Law to the soul of man are finding themselves staunchly defending the Law’s continuance. They declare that they are defending righteousness and fighting on behalf of Yahweh, but in truth they are falling short of entering into a full submission to His will. The consequences in their lives will be tragic. They will fall short of attaining the full stature of Christ. Perfection is not found in the Law

Heart4God Website:

Parables Blog:  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Friday, January 21, 2011

Laying Down the Law - The Deficiency of the Law

Special Announcement: The newly re-designed Heart4God website is now online. By clicking on the link below for the Heart4God website, you will have a choice to enter the old site that contains all the material from the past 12 years, or the new site which does not yet have all the content posted. The new site has many improvements, however, including a much cleaner design, and a vastly improved audio file section.

Your feedback on the new site design is appreciated as the work continues to bring it to completion. I appreciate very much the work Angelo has done with this site design. The design work has been all his with my contribution being the site content.

It offends some who revere the Law to see it described as deficient. Yet this is the testimony of the Scriptures. The Law was a shadow. Shadows lack substance. The Law could make nothing perfect. The Law could not impart divine life. The Law could not permanently take away sins through it sacrifices and offerings. The Law could make no man righteous. The Law could point to the perfect work of Christ through its types and shadows of the Tabernacle, the offerings, feast days, and washings, but it was not the very substance and realization of these things. Christ in every way has surpassed the Law and brought His people to something better.

Hebrews 10:1
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Hebrews 7:18-19
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Acts 13:39-40
By Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son...

Galatians 4:9-10
But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Hebrews 8:7-8
 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant...”

Hebrews 9:9-10
It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience - concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

What is the accumulated message of all these passages? It is that the Law was a weak and deficient work instituted until that which is perfect should come.

Let us look at the specific deficiencies of the Law. Many who are espousing the continuance of the Law today like to divide the Law into various parts that they might declare that one part has ended, while another part continues. Although this distinction is never made by the apostles when they speak of the Law, I think it may be of benefit to address the Law by its various parts in order to demonstrate that whether one is speaking of the ceremonial Law, the Laws of sacrifices and offerings, or the moral Law, all are weak and deficient. All have been supplanted by something far superior.

Consider again the Father’s wider plan for mankind as we begin this examination. Yahweh desires sons in His own image, who are partakers of His own nature. When the Law was given, mankind lacked this inner spiritual life. It would be another 1500 years until a Savior would come who would accomplish the will of Yahweh. Sin would be atoned for. The certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us would be nailed to the cross of Christ. The way would be opened for union with the Father. The Spirit would be given to indwell mankind. Men would receive a new spirit and a new heart. Until that time arrived, it seemed good to the Father to provide man a testimony of the things that lay ahead, and a means to show mankind their sinful condition and need of a Savior.

Galatians 3:24-25
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

In the ceremonial parts of the Law, including Feast days and Sabbaths, washings and offerings, the manifold plan of God for the reformation of man was revealed. In the sacrifices of the Law we see the principle of atonement, of the soul of one creature serving as a substitute for the life of another. The Scriptures declare, “The soul that sins must die,” but Yahweh permitted another soul to die in our place. Bulls, goats and other animals were a type and shadow of that perfect sacrifice to be realized in Christ. In the moral Law we see a shadow of the righteousness, justice, holiness, and will of Yahweh. Yet it too is imperfect, and something much fuller is to be found in Christ.

The Ceremonial Law and Offerings

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Most Christians perceive that the ceremonial parts of the Law served as shadows of things to come. For example, Yahweh delivered through Moses instructions for the children of Israel to annually observe three major feasts, which in their several parts break down to seven individual events. The first of these feasts is Passover.

The first Passover was observed just prior to Israel’s departure from slavery in Egypt. For a period of five days each family was to take a spotless lamb into their homes (from the 10th to the 14th of the first month). On the 14th day of the month they were all to slay the lamb, and place some of the blood on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. They were commanded to roast and eat the lamb, leaving nothing over until the next day. There were other associated rituals such as removing all leaven from the home for a period of seven days leading up to the night of Passover, eating the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and standing dressed and fully ready with staff in hand to depart (Exodus 12). Every detail is symbolic, and points to some work fulfilled in Christ.

When Christ was born of a virgin, lived among mankind, and completed the work the Father gave Him to do, the substance of Passover was realized. For a period of time all Israel had the Lamb of God to dwell among them. They beheld His form and observed Him to be spotless and without blemish. Pilate examined Him and testified, “I find no fault in Him.”

On the Passover the Jews crucified the Son of God, and spoke the words, “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children.” It was a bitter experience as the Bread of Life was broken. Yet those who receive His sacrifice in faith as an atonement for sin are passed over by death. They are invited to eat the Lamb of God, for His flesh is true meat, and His blood is true drink. These words are Spirit and they are life, indicating that we are to receive every part of Christ, not just that which is attractive to the appetites of man. We are to receive Him into our being. We are then to be ready to immediately depart from a worldly life of slavery to sin and follow Yahweh as He leads us through wilderness experiences on the way to the land of our inheritance.

There may be some groups who profess to be Christian who slay a lamb every Passover and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. (Most who observe Passover buy their lamb at the grocery store.) Some may even take some of the blood and put it on their doorways. However, such re-enactments of the shadow of Christ’s atoning work are no longer required. The substance has surpassed the shadow contained in the Law. Yahweh will no longer have regard for the blood of a lamb, for He has accepted the perfect offering of the blood of His Son. The blood is never to be offered again.

Hebrews 10:1-9
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.... For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come - in the volume of the book it is written of Me - to do Your will, O God.'" Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them"(which are offered according to the law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

There are a number of ways in which to understand these words, “He takes away the first that He may establish the second.” Certainly they imply that the offering of Christ has replaced the sacrifices and offerings of the Law. On another level these words reveal the desire of the Father that was accomplished through Christ. Yahweh has desired obedience from man, and not sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22
So Samuel said: “Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”

Look at the repetition of the words of Christ in the above passage from Hebrews. “Behold, I have come... to do Your will, O God.” This is what Christ accomplished for the Father. Before man received the indwelling Spirit of Christ they could not attain to the righteousness of God. The will might be present, but the power to accomplish it was not. The result was disobedience followed by sacrifices and offerings for sin. Christ came to bring an end to sacrifices, and to establish obedience in the lives of God’s people. He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

Yahweh was never satisfied by the offerings and sacrifices of men. He permitted them UNTIL the one perfect sacrifice should be offered on behalf of men, and obedience established in those who had received a new nature.

Amos 5:21-24
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.  But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Yahweh has always desired righteousness and obedience. Sacrifices and festivals are not an acceptable substitute for these. Christ takes away one to establish the other.

I receive correspondence from people who tell me with great excitement that the Temple in Jerusalem is about to be rebuilt, the priesthood and Sanhedrin restored, and sacrifices once more offered. It is folly to believe any of these things are being accomplished by the will of Yahweh. He abolished these things when He sent His Son. The shadows have been replaced with the substance found in Christ.

If some are inclined to continue to commemorate Feast Days, and Sabbaths, I do not condemn them. It is error, however, to declare that such things are required of Yahweh for Christians today. They are not. This the apostle Paul made clear in the passage already cited.

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

If I have entered into the substance of the will of the Father, then none are able to accuse me as a transgressor. The truth is that a great many are keeping the shadows of these things, but they have yet to enter into the substance. These are the ones who will incur condemnation.

Many are the saints who observe the Sabbath day by ceasing from physical labor, yet they have not entered into the spiritual substance that this shadow pointed to. Paul defines Sabbath rest in the following manner:

Hebrews 4:10
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

The substance of Sabbath rest is entered when a man ceases from works that arise from his own soul and begins to live a life submitted to the Spirit of God. It is that which Christ declared of Himself when He stated, “I never do anything of My own initiative. I only do the will of the Father.”

You may observe Sabbath days, but if your life is still under the direction of your own soul, you have not entered into Sabbath rest and you are not yet pleasing to the Father. Christ came that men might enter into the fulness of the desire of Yahweh for them. The shadow had men ceasing from their labors one day a week. The substance directs and empowers men to cease from their self-directed labors every day that they might live to do the will of the Father.

(To gain a fuller understanding of the substance of Sabbath rest, I recommend to you the book Sabbath.)

Some have written to me over the years concerning the Scripture in Zechariah that speaks of the Feast of Tabernacles being continued during the millennial rule of Christ.

Zechariah 14:16-17
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

A principle is found throughout the New Testament revealing that when the substance has come, the shadow is done away. The earth has seen the fulfillment of the first two major feasts of Yahweh, Passover and Pentecost. Tabernacles is yet to be fulfilled. Christ fulfilled Passover when He was crucified as the Lamb of God. Pentecost was fulfilled fifty days later when the Holy Spirit was given to the body of Christ. Tabernacles has not yet been fulfilled. Therefore, it is the only feast mentioned in this passage from Zechariah.

Tabernacles symbolizes God and man dwelling together in fulness. At this time we have been sealed with the Spirit of promise, but we have not yet received the Spirit without measure.

Ephesians 1:13-14
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Just prior to the Millennial reign of Christ a group of firstfruit sons will be resurrected to glory. These will rule and reign with Christ for the thousand years. These will be the first to experience the substance of Tabernacles.

Revelation 20:5-6
This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

All those who were passed over, being judged as unready, having failed to have come to maturity at this first harvest of men, will have to await the thousand years end before the next resurrection.

Revelation 20:5
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.

Those who rule with Christ during this period will have experienced Tabernacles, while those nations they rule over have not. To ever keep in mind the will of Yahweh for the nations, they will be required to keep the Feast of Tabernacles annually. The nations are not required to observe Passover and Pentecost, for these have already been fulfilled in Messiah.

In the next chapter we will examine the deficiency of the moral Law delivered to Moses.

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