Monday, July 4, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 7


Be Ye Perfect


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.

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:
http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Friday, July 1, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 6


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: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 5


The Deficiency of the Law

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 its 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.

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.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Monday, June 27, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 4


A New Spirit


I will continue to lay a foundation of understanding, before proceeding to address specific arguments that advocate the continuance of the Law. Rightly dividing the word of God will be much easier for those who first have gained an understanding of the role of the Law in Yahweh’s plan of the ages.

Proverbs 14:6
Knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.

It has been Yahweh’s desire from the beginning of man’s creation to bring forth beings in His image and likeness. Yahweh desires to have mature sons who are partakers of the divine nature.

II Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

It was never the Father’s vision to perpetually restrain carnal, sinful men with an external Law. Even as the Biblical day begins in darkness and progresses to light, so too it has been the Father’s will for men, who were born in a spiritually darkened condition, to experience the dawning of His own divine nature within them.

Ephesians 5:8
For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.

Christians, not understanding or reckoning on the radical changes that occur in a life when the Spirit of Christ causes a man or woman to be born again, often continue on as if they are still sinful creatures that must be restrained by Law. They are like a bankrupt pauper who is suddenly given a vast fortune. Not really believing he can draw on the wealth now held in bank accounts in his name, he continues to live in poverty. His life continues on as if nothing substantial has occurred.

In a similar way, many Christians do not reckon on the truth that Christ working in them has set them free from the power of sin. They continue to see themselves as slaves to sin. The focus in a great many churches today is upon Christ’s atoning work. Forgiveness of sins is proclaimed with near exclusivity. That Christ has gone far beyond this and set men free from their slavery to sin, and has given them a new spirit and a new heart, is seldom proclaimed, or understood.

What God has done for man through Christ is revealed in type through the experiences of Israel under Moses. For centuries the descendants of Abraham had been slaves in Egypt. This stands as a type and shadow of mankind being slaves to sin while living in this world. The Israelites had over them cruel taskmasters. Similarly, sin is a cruel taskmaster. It drives men to actions that they would not otherwise do. Men who were created to be the image and likeness of God find themselves compelled to do the very things their conscience condemns.

Romans 7:15-24
For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do... For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me... I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Sin is a cruel taskmaster. Like Pharaoh, it enslaves men, refusing to let them go. As often as an Adamic man may tell sin to relinquish its hold and let him depart to go worship God, it will refuse. Sin’s power cannot be broken by any human effort (Consider Moses’ failure to deliver his people at the age of forty). This leaves all men in that state of misery described of those Israelites who were in bondage in Egypt. They were groaning and crying out due to their harsh servitude. Similarly, the apostle Paul exclaims:

Romans 7:24
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

The answer comes in his very next words.

Romans 7:25
I thank God - (He has) - through Yahshua Christ our Lord!

This deliverance from sin’s slavery is signified in the historical account of Israel’s departure from Egypt. On the night they departed and gained their freedom, every household of Israel took the blood of a lamb and put it on the doorposts and lintel of their home. When the death angel came that night he “passed over” every home upon which the blood of the lamb was found. In every home in Egypt where the blood was not applied, the firstborn son died.

Sin’s power had been broken by the blood of the lamb. Pharaoh arose in the night, found his son and every other firstborn of Egypt dead, and gave permission to the children of Israel to depart at once. Christ has set man free. This freedom is difficult to comprehend by those who have only known slavery to sin all their lives. This too is patterned in the experience of Israel.

Departing from Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness until they came to the Red Sea. Pharaoh arose with all his army and pursued Israel, intending to take them back into captivity. Behold what occurred.

Exodus 14:13-14, 19-20
And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. Yahweh will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace..." And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

Hallelujah! Yahweh would not grant Pharaoh authority to take those set free by the blood of the lamb back into slavery. “He whom the Son sets free shall be free indeed!” (John 8:36).

Observe, however, the reaction of God’s people. They have not perceived, or fully embraced, the grace and power of Yahweh working on their behalf. They doubt the goodness of the One who delivered them, believing that they are powerless to resist a return to their former life.

Exodus 14:10-12
And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh. Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."

This same struggle is faced by all those who have been set free from sin’s bondage through the blood of the Lamb. Having known only unrelenting slavery to sin, having been cruelly treated by this dominant taskmaster, it is difficult to comprehend that sin no longer has any power over the child of God. By faith we must enter into the freedom that has been purchased for us. We must reckon those things true that God has declared accomplished through the blood of Christ.

Romans 6:11
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Yahshua our Lord.

There is yet more to what God does in accomplishing for us this great salvation. Understanding the types and shadows of what the Israelites experienced will help us to perceive that which Christ has accomplished for us. The experience of Israel was given as a type of us, the saints of God in Christ.

I Corinthians 10:11
And all these things as types did happen to those persons, and they were written for our admonition, to whom the end of the ages did come...
[Young’s Literal Translation]

Consider the threefold manner in which salvation is revealed through the experience of Israel.
First comes faith. Only those who believed the testimony of Moses, that the blood of a lamb would deliver them from the power of death, were obedient to put the blood on their doorways. Similarly, we must believe that the blood of Christ will deliver us from the sentence of death incurred through sin. We must take His shed blood unto ourselves, believing that it has made atonement for our sin.
Secondly, the Israelites experienced baptism into Moses in the Red Sea.

I Corinthians 10:1-2
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea...

Moses in this instance is a type of Christ.

Acts 7:37
“This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'Yahweh your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.'”

The prophet like unto Moses referenced here is Christ. Moses instructed the people to place the blood of the lamb on their doorways. Similarly, Yahshua gives us His blood that we might be passed over by death. The people were baptized into Moses, the Law-giver, in the Red Sea. Similarly, we are to be baptized upon confessing faith in Christ to symbolize our union with the Son of God. Consider the richness of the following words of the apostle Paul and what they mean for those who are baptized into Christ.

Romans 6:3-11
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Yahshua were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Yahshua our Lord.

When Moses led the children of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea, Yahweh was signifying that their old life of slavery had come to an end. The same waters that provided a path of escape to the people of God brought an end to Pharaoh and his armies. So too, when we are baptized into Christ, we have a path of escape from a life of bondage to sin opened up to us. At the same time, the power of sin to hold us captive is cut off.

However, we must not stop there. There is yet a third part to this work of salvation. We are delivered from the rule and authority of sin over our lives when we are united to Christ, but we must take Another to be our ruler and authority. We have been freed from one master who offered us only death in payment for our labors. We must be joined to another Master who will pay us with eternal life. If we stop short of coming under the rule of Yahweh after having been freed from sin, we are lawless.

This then is the third aspect of salvation that is signified in the life of Moses. Moses brought the people of God under the rule of Yahweh by establishing between the two parties the covenant of Law. We have a Savior today, a prophet like unto Moses, who also brings us under the rule of Yahweh. He does not accomplish this through a covenant of Law. He does it by the far surpassing means of joining us to the Father by the Spirit. Yahshua makes the rule of God in our lives an inner work.

Ezekiel 36:26-27
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

People of God, do not make the mistake of thinking that Yahshua fulfilled this prophecy of Ezekiel by inscribing the Laws delivered to Moses upon the heart of man. Many are teaching such a conclusion, from these words of Ezekiel, or similar ones found in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:33
"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares Yahweh, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

What is spoken here employs the shadow of the Law to reference that much fuller work accomplished in Christ. Every type and shadow we find in Moses has a much fuller, richer, more substantial fulfillment in Christ.

Yahshua does not bring us under the rule of Yahweh by taking a copy of the Law of Moses and placing it in our hearts. He does something profoundly greater. He takes the very heart and mind of the Father and reproduces them inside of those born of the Spirit. That new spirit part of our being that is received at the new birth yearns always, and only, to know the will of the Father and to do it. The mind and thoughts of God are communicated to us by means of the Spirit of God discoursing with the spirit birthed in us.

I Corinthians 2:11-16
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

The Law contains only a shadow of the good things to come. The fulfillment, the substance to which the Law points, is vastly fuller.

Hebrews 10:1
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things...

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.

It is a great mistake to believe that the substance realized in Christ is merely a copy of the shadow. When I stand outside in the sunlight, my body casts a shadow. Suppose I was to capture that shadow and give it to someone. They would be able to tell some things about me, but their knowledge of me would be incomplete.

Suppose then I was able to give the person my very own being. Imagine even that I was able to take my heart (passions, motives and desires) and my thoughts, and place them inside the individual. This is what Yahshua accomplished when He sent forth His Spirit to indwell man. Yahshua made it possible for mankind to be partakers of the divine nature, to know the thoughts of God, and to experience His heart.

The Law presented to man a shadow of God’s thoughts and heart. It could not disclose Him intimately. To truly know Yahweh we must become partakers of the same Spirit.

People of God, the shadow was given until the substance realized in Christ should come. The Law still holds benefit, for much wisdom can be gained by studying its shadows. However, it no longer functions in its role as guide and restrainer to those in Christ. The saints have received something far superior, even the living and abiding Spirit of Christ dwelling in their members.

Heart4God Website:
http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Friday, June 24, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 3




The Father’s Plan

What is the Father’s ultimate thought in regard to mankind? We must answer this question if we are to perceive the Law’s role in the greater scheme of things. We can find the Father’s mind concerning man in the first chapter of the Bible.

Genesis 1:26-28
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

It was Yahweh’s vision to create a being that was His own image and likeness. This creature would be so conformed to His own character and being that He would call him “son,” and the creature would call Yahweh “Father.” Man was to be the exact likeness of the God who created him. We find this truth declared in the following passages of Scripture.

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature...

Romans 8:29-30
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Combining the testimony of the above two passages of Scripture we receive the following revelation. Yahshua, the firstborn Son of God, is the exact representation of Yahweh’s nature. Yahshua declared this openly when He told Thomas, “How is it that you can say, ‘Show me the Father’? If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” Furthermore, the Son of God stated, “I and the Father are One.”

The next passage of Scripture reveals that it is the Father’s plan that mankind be conformed to the image of His Son. When this is accomplished, Yahshua will then stand as the firstborn among many brethren. This is the purpose of man’s creation and the whole thought of Yahweh regarding man. He desired sons in His own image and likeness. These sons are predestined to be perfect in their resemblance to His own holy and righteous character. They will one day share in His glory, the glory that is now the portion of Christ.

I John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

It seems too fantastic to the minds of carnal men to embrace the truth of Yahweh’s plan for mankind. If Yahweh is the Holy God, then His seed must also be holy, and His seed must produce gods. Some would cry forth “blasphemy.” The religious did so when Christ made a similar statement, for Satan has worked tirelessly to steal from man the understanding of who God created him to be. Consider the following exchange between Yahshua and the Jewish religious leaders.

John 10:31-36
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Yahshua answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." Yahshua answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?”

One of the great difficulties in perceiving the purpose of Yahweh in creating man is that “it has not appeared as yet, what we will be.” Yahweh’s plan is one that is fulfilled over time. He has been carrying forth His master plan for the past 6,000 years since He first formed Adam in the Garden. God is at work in man to conform us to His own image, that same image observed in His Son. When His work is complete, there will stand with Christ many sons who are also the exact image and likeness of the Holy Creator God.

The apostle Paul understood that this work of man coming into the full image and likeness of Christ, who is the exact representation of Yahweh, is a progressive work.

Galatians 4:19
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you...

How much of Christ does the Father desire to be formed in mankind? Does He want us to resemble Christ only a little? Absolutely not!

Ephesians 4:11-14
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...

It is in failing to comprehend the truth of Yahweh’s plans for man to come forth as a perfect image and likeness of His own self that has caused such confusion regarding the Law. Yahweh does not need a Law to restrain Him. The Law is merely a reflection of His own innate holiness, justice and goodness. The Law was given to a chosen people who did not yet have His divine nature formed in them. None of those men, women and children who stood at the foot of Mount Sinai when the Law was given had yet been born of the Holy Spirit. They were living souls, but were not yet spiritual men and women. They were of the earth, earthy. They were not yet heavenly creatures in their innermost nature.

I Corinthians 15:45-49
So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Paul acknowledges in these words once more that this conformity to the full stature of Christ is a progressive work. We become partakers of the divine nature when we are born of the Spirit, but we are not yet fully formed at that time.

John 1:12-13
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Notice that John writes that when we receive Christ we are given the right “to become” children of God. The work is not complete when we receive the seed of Christ into our being. It is a work begun. A great transformation has occurred. Those who were formerly living souls have become spiritual beings. Those who were dead spiritually have been made alive. Those who were formerly slaves to the flesh and its sinful nature, were set free into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

From the moment of our spiritual birth we are to embark upon a transformation process. We are still as the caterpillar which is outwardly clothed in a fleshly body. There is a new nature inside, even that of the butterfly, yearning to be free and to be revealed as a heavenly being. Metamorphosis begins for the people of God at the moment they have implanted in them this new nature that must arise and come forth as a spiritual being.

II Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Consider now what the Scriptures testify concerning the role and purpose of the Law. When Yahweh chose for Himself a peculiar people from the earth to be His own, He had already determined that another 2,000 years would pass before this people would be given His Spirit to indwell them. As this people began to multiply and increase, He determined that something must be done in the interim. Until a Son should be sent who would impart His divine seed to mankind they needed a guardian and tutor to watch over them.

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

Galatians 3:24
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ...

Galatians 4:1-2
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.

Until the time appointed for man to become a partaker of the divine nature through the Spirit birth, God gave them the Law. Because man did not have the divine nature internally to produce in him the desire and the power to fulfill the Father’s desires, he needed something external to guide and restrain him.

Proverbs 29:18
When people do not accept divine guidance, they cast off restraint. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.

Yahweh foresaw the day when He would place His Spirit in man. This Spirit would radically alter the very character of all who received Him. Those who were formerly slaves to the flesh with its passions and desires, would receive a new, holy, and more powerful part of their nature as the Spirit of Christ took up residence within them.

Philippians 2:13
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

In placing His Spirit in man, those so transformed would find that a new life was now resident within them. It was a divine life. This life is produced by the holy, incorruptible seed of God. It is growing up into the full image and likeness of the Father.

This divine life resident in man would produce in Him the desire (to will) and the power (to do) the Father’s good and perfect pleasure. Such a man is truly a new creation. He has no need of an outward Law to restrain him, for the Spirit within ever yearns to do the will and pleasure of the Father.

It was necessary, until the Spirit was given, for those men who were devoid of spiritual life to be kept under the guardian of the Law. It would be chaos if such men were left unrestrained, for the sin nature would lead them to all manner of abominations. Therefore, Yahweh gave to Moses His Law.

The Law was given not only as a restraint upon men who lacked an inner conformity to Yahweh, it was given to expose this lack. The history of Israel under the Law reveals clearly that those ordinances delivered to Moses were incapable of transforming the nature of the men to whom they were given.

Galatians 3:21
If a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.

The best among the people fell woefully short of the righteousness of God. David was a man after God’s heart, but he committed adultery and murder. The Law presented a standard of righteousness that fallen man could not attain to. Paul testified to this aspect of the Law.

Romans 7:5-14
For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But 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. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Paul writes here in the past tense. He is writing of his former experience before receiving the Spirit of Christ. This is evident by his describing himself as “carnal” and introducing the passage with the words “when we were in the flesh...” Those who are born of the Spirit are no longer carnal (flesh dominated) men, they are spiritual. God gave the law to unrighteous, carnal men, to reveal to them their inward condition. He wanted His people to understand that they lacked the inner image and likeness of God. They may desire to do well, but the power to perform it was not in them.

Yahweh wanted His people to understand that if they were to be judged according to their words and actions, they all stood condemned. They must all die.

Romans 3:9-12
For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."

The wages of sin is death, for the word of God states “the soul that sins must die.” All men sin. If we say we have no sin we lie and the truth is not in us. All are therefore under the sentence of death. Yahweh wanted men to perceive this truth. Man desperately needed a Savior.

The church today focuses almost exclusively on one aspect of the work of the Savior; atonement. The church loves to speak of how sins have been forgiven through the sacrificial offering of Yahshua on the cross. Forgiveness and atonement are truly awesome works of grace, but they do not complete the work of salvation. Christ did not come merely to provide forgiveness for man’s sin. He came to set man free from the bondage of sin.

John 8:34-36
Yahshua answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

What the Scriptures testify is that the Law was given until the time appointed for man to receive the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Those who have received the Holy Spirit are new creations. They are born of righteous seed. The Law was not made for such as these.

I Timothy 1:8-9
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane...

Do the words lawless, insubordinate, ungodly, sinners, unholy and profane describe Christ and His seed? No. The apostle states elsewhere:

I Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived... And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yahshua and by the Spirit of our God.

The Law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person. Those who would place Christians under the dominion of the Law are employing the Law in an unlawful manner. They have failed to comprehend that truly radical transformation Yahshua has wrought in them. They still see themselves as carnal men who need a law to restrain them. They are not reckoning on the fact of their being a new creation in Christ.

A focus upon an external Law will lead men away from the discovery of Christ in them. Those who perceive Christ in them, those who are focused upon the divine life in their members which is producing the will and power to do the pleasure of the Father, need no external law. These are ruled by the Spirit, and gladly so. Such ones are not antinomian. They are not lawless. They are submitted freely to the rule of God through the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Heart4God Website:
http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Laying Down the Law - Part 2




A Wider View

This is the second book in which I have included a chapter titled “A Wider View.” I have found that certain kingdom truths are difficult to comprehend unless we first envision the grand panoramic scope of Yahweh’s works and plans. When we focus narrowly on a subject, apart from discerning the ultimate intent of the Ruler and Creator of the Universe, we are hindered from apprehending truth and arriving at the mind of Christ. This is certainly true when one begins to explore the purpose and limits of the Law which was delivered to Moses at Mount Sinai.

The following story is presented to illustrate the role of the Law, and how two different peoples can see its purpose and role in vastly different ways.

The Parable

There was a great man of immense wealth, power and vision. He conceived a plan to build a city wherein he could place his name. This city would be the center of his empire, and the greatest work he would ever accomplish. The man begins to form his master plan. The city is to be built perfect and entire when it is begun. There will be nothing unsightly in the city. The power lines will all be run underground. Sewer and waste collection will likewise be accomplished through means that will make it possible that nothing unclean, malodorous, or obnoxious to the senses will ever pass before the eyes of the inhabitants.

The city will be one of beauty, purity, and peace. Vast gardens are designed, and quiet spaces for contemplation. A transportation system is envisioned that will run totally on solar power, with efficient quietness and zero emissions. There will never be an automobile, or other device to fill the air with noise, or pollution, or add congestion to the streets. The thought going into this city’s design is immense. No aspect is left unconsidered. No expense is considered too great.

The location of the city is chosen. It will sit on a parcel of barren wasteland. The land is to be transformed into a paradisaical condition. The site has been chosen with care. It will receive adequate light from the Sun, and is free from nearby environmental pollutants. The site chosen has no inhabitants. No one regards it, for it is in its appearance a dry and weary land with nothing to attract the soul of man.

This great visionary knows that it will be many generations before the city construction can begin. Vast amounts of money and material must first be stored up for it is a colossal work to be undertaken. It is important to preserve the land in its natural condition until the time arrives for the city to be built. Anything that would defile the land and make it unsuitable for development must be guarded against until the time for the city to arise from the desert.

The man therefore hires a people to build a wall all around the property. He gives them charge of the wall, instructing them to keep out all intruders. He warns them to be vigilant that nothing should enter that would alter the condition of the land until the time should come that he is ready to build his city. He then goes away to prepare for his great work.

Generations pass. The vision of the city is passed to the man’s son, and then to that man’s son. With a single focus they continue to lay up wealth, to develop technology, and to store up material for the construction of the city.

At the same time, the people charged with guarding the wall continue their task. As one generation passes into another, the people guarding the wall forget the purpose envisioned for the land. All that matters to them is that they have a duty, and a charge to keep. They are to protect the land, and keep out all intruders. They are to prevent the land from being altered in any way.

These people are proud of their calling. They begin to think of the land and the wall as their own. It was given to them as their own sacred charge. Though all is barren within, they believe that no place on earth is more valuable. The immense wall around the property gives evidence to its value. Indeed, the wall becomes immensely valuable to them as they focus more on it and the purpose it serves, than the land within which it guards.

More generations pass, and the time is at hand for the visionary’s descendant to build the city. All is in readiness. An immense procession of workers accompany the owner of the land to the property. They arrive at the wall with equipment, engineers, blueprints, and every necessary thing to build this paradise in the wilderness. It is an hour of momentous importance. The hour to transform the barren wilderness into a paradise is at hand. The work envisioned generations before, which has been the desire and passion of the land owner and his descendants is to be brought to glorious fruition.

At the wall the land owner and his laborers are confronted by the people who were given charge to guard the land. These guardians have forgotten the reason the land was purchased. They have been so focused on the wall, and their part in maintaining it, that they have lost completely the larger vision. They do not understand that the wall was constructed for a season, and a specific role. To them the wall has become all important. Their role as guardians is all that they perceive.

Being a prideful people, the guardians of the wall are unwilling to relinquish the work that gave them distinctiveness and purpose. Though they are invited to enter into this far surpassing enterprise, and are assured of key roles in the construction of the city and homes when it is complete, they are unmoved. They refuse to cooperate with the land owner.

How blind are these people! They do not see that all inside their walls is barren wilderness. They could be possessors of paradise. Familiarity and the pride of their unique role holds a greater attraction than seeing the glorious vision of the landowner fulfilled.

The wall has stood for centuries. It has become an idol to the people who guard it, a thing to be worshiped. In the owner’s eyes, it is merely ancient stone and mortar. It has served its purpose. It fulfilled the intent for which it was constructed by his forebears. Though the wall is impressive, it is a mere shadow of that which is to replace it. The hour has arrived for the wall to give way to far better things. The wall must be brought down for the paradisaical city to rise.

The Explanation

The great man of vision is God. He has developed a master plan of immense glory. He will transform the barren and lifeless heart of man into a garden of glory and abundant life. Yahweh appoints a time for a Son to arise who will fulfill His vision. The time is yet far off when the plan is established. The heart of man must be safeguarded until the work is to be accomplished. The Law is therefore given, and a people assigned as ministers of the Law, until the time of reformation, when the heart of man will be re-formed.

If the ministers of the Law ever perceived the true plan of Yahweh for transforming barren souls into oases of life and beauty, they have lost the understanding. The Law has become all important to them. Indeed, it is a thing they have come to worship. When the time arrived for the Son to accomplish the vision of the Father, the guardians of the Law resisted Him. In their actions they revealed that they cared more for their position than for the vision of the God who had chosen them as ministers.

People of God, because spiritual vision is at ebb tide in this late hour, there are few who perceive the greater scope of the Father’s plan. It is not taught in the churches of this hour. Consequently, Christians today, like the Jews before them, do not perceive that the Law was given for a specific time and purpose. Its divine role was only one part of a larger plan. The Law was truly divinely inspired; its function very important, but it must give way to greater things.

The Limits of the Law

It is revealed through numerous Scriptures that the Law has a role of limited duration. It was not intended to hold sway over man forever. Those who look too narrowly at God’s work are hindered from perceiving the end of the Law. They are unable to perceive it in the larger scope of Yahweh’s master plan. Many Christians are returning to an observance of feast days, new moons, sabbath days, and dietary regulations. They are seeking to become more “Jewish,” believing that this constitutes a return to authentic Christianity. Concomitant with adopting Jewish culture is a return to the rule of the Law. This does not lead to authentic Christianity, but rather away from Christ.

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

The following Scriptures proclaim the Law’s limited duration.

Galatians 3:19
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.

This is the truth that many will not receive in this hour. The Law was given to fulfill a purpose UNTIL the Seed should come. Yahshua is the Seed of the Father. He has come. The Law has fulfilled its role of judge. It is no longer the arbiter of righteous and unrighteous behavior for those who have been born of the Spirit. This is a subject for a later chapter. Following are more Scriptures announcing the limited duration of the Law.

Romans 7:1-4
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

Over and over the apostles declare that the Law’s duration was limited. Its intent and purpose is complete when a man or woman is born of the seed of Christ and they become a partaker of a better covenant.

Galatians 4:1-5
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under (past tense) the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Hebrews 9:9-10
Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Hebrews 8:13
When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

The truth of the Law’s limited purpose in the plan of Yahweh is stated repeatedly, yet men who have not grasped the larger view of Yahweh’s divine plan are reluctant to accept this fact. The Law has become all important to some. It has become an idol, standing in the place of relationship with God through Christ.

In subsequent chapters I will set forth the scope of Yahweh’s plan for mankind. I will labor to show the Law in is proper place in this plan. It is my earnest desire that those who love truth will be helped in arriving at the knowledge of the same.

Heart4God Website:
http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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