Hello, Lionroot. Welcome to the forums!
Abrahamic covenant not the same as Mosaical Covenant
Lionroot wrote:Aren't you confusing the concept of covenant and commandments here? The Covenant was made before the Law was given.
mentioned that he would be unavailable for a few days, so if I may interject a few thoughts...
What passage would you use to support the Old Covenant being made before the Old Law was given? Are you referencing the covenant given to Abraham? I do not believe it is the same covenant made with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai:
Paul wrote:Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. 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. (Galatians 4:21-26)
This verse says there was definitely a covenant associated with Mt. Sinai, the giving of the law, and resulting bondage. Which covenant do you think that would be? The one given to Abraham, some 430 years earlier (Galatians 3:14-18
)? Or, the one given to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, when they received the Old Law?
The author of Hebrews wrote:Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you." (Hebrews 9:18-20)
So, when was the first covenant given? Well, it was "dedicated"
at Mt. Sinai, when Moses sprinkled the people and the writing of the law with blood, and the people accepted it then and there, at Mt. Sinai. Furthermore, the covenant consisted of "words", "commands", "judgments", and "precept" "according to the law", which Moses read to the people, and unto which they committed themselves for obedience.
Moses wrote:So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do." And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient." And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words." (Exodus 24:3-8)
Again, when was the covenant made with the Israelites?
Circumcision is part of the Old Law
Jeremiah wrote:"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, 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 that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:31-32)
Lionroot wrote:They are separate items of consideration, and while the former is said to pass away the later is said to never pass away. ... Physical circumcision is a matter of the Old Covenant which you rightly have shown has passed away. As for the Law it stands until Heaven and Earth pass away. At least that is what Jesus said.
First, in a previous post, Jesus' statement (Matthew 5:17-19
) is shown to permit the passing of the law, once it was fulfilled, for which a case has been presented in preceding posts.
Second, circumcision is clearly associated with "the old law" in Scripture:
Luke wrote:And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD"), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." ... And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, ... So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
Please note that both the rites for purification and circumcision are associated with "the law of the Lord"
and "the law of Moses"
- not just the covenant. In fact, the two separate commands, quoted in the above passage, are taken from Leviticus 12:1-8
Anticipating a response -- If one argues that the "law of Moses" applied to purification only, then he must also say that in the book of Leviticus
, chapter 12, verses 1-2 and 4-8 are associated with the law of Moses, while verse 3, in the middle of the same context, is limited to the covenant? Who can believe it? ... Regardless, Luke associates circumcision with "the law of the Lord"
, so if circumcision has passed, then so has the law with which it was associated.
John wrote:"Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?" (John 7:22-23)
Did Jesus limit circumcision's association with the Old Covenant? No! He clearly states that the law of Moses would be broken, if circumcision were not kept on the Sabbath. If Jesus thought circumcision was part of the Mosaical law, should not we?
Paul wrote:For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. (Romans 2:25)
When is circumcision important? When one is striving to keep the covenant or the law? Paul said it was profitable, if you were trying to keep the law!
Paul wrote:And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. (Galatians 5:3)
Again, this goes back to a previous point about the law being a package deal. You cannot pick and choose the parts you want to keep. However, please notice that in this verse, Paul associates circumcision with the law, not just the covenant.
Paul wrote: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. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. (Galatians 6:12-13)
Notice how Paul points out the inconsistency and hypocrisy in these false teachers. They compel part, circumcision, but yet they do not keep it all (the law). What's the point if the "part" is not of the "whole"? If circumcision is not part of the law, then there is no complaint of hypocrisy, and Paul has not point! But, yet clearly Paul has a point, so these false teachers must have been inconsistent, which could only be true if circumcision were part of the law!
The covenant cannot be separated from the law
Third, Where is the passage for suggesting that the law and covenant are completely independent, such that one may pass away, while the other persists? Although I believe the old covenant is not the exact same thing as the old law, I do believe they are inseparable, as demonstrated by their interchangeable usage in the following verses:
Moses wrote:And the LORD would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law (Deuteronomy 29:21)
Moses wrote:So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. (Deuteronomy 31:9)
Why was the law of Moses kept in the ark of the "covenant", if they were two separate things? (See also Deuteronomy 31:25-26; Joshua 8:33-34
The seer wrote:Yet the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets." Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them that they should not do like them. (II Kings 17:13-15)
Notice the parallel: "My commandments and My statues according to all the law, which I commanded your fathers"
, but the children of Israel "rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers"
. Clearly, they are synonymous.
Furthermore, how did the Israelites reject "the covenant"
, according to the above verse? "They followed idols, became idolaters..."
Where was that forbidden? In the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-5
David wrote:They did not keep the covenant of God; They refused to walk in His law. (Psalm 78:10)
Classic Hebrew parallelism demands equivalency: The two "they's" are the same people (the Israelites). The verb's are the same (did not keep = refused). The personal object of rejection is the same (God). The rejected instruments are the same (God's covenant = His law). If the covenant is not the same as the law, then the parallelism is destroyed!
Since they are interchangeable, if the old covenant was fulfilled, completed, done away, etc., then so was the old law associated with it.
The Power and Dominion of The Law was eliminated at the Cross
Again, let us revisit a passage from previous posts:
Paul wrote:Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 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. ... 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." (Romans 7:1-7)
According to your division, do the 10 Commandments pertain to the law or the covenant? Paul associates the command to not covet with the law (Exodus 20:17
)! And, previously he said that we were made dead to the law by the body of Christ!
Therefore, the previous arguments apply to the law as well as the covenant!
In preceding posts, please see Romans 8:3-4; Romans 10:4-5; Galatians 3:10-14; Galatians 3:19-25; Ephesians 2:14-16; Hebrews 7:11-15
, which say that the law
was weak according to the flesh, fulfilled, ended, changed, and abolished. And, they also state that we are no longer under it, and that we have been redeemed from it's curse. So, why do you say the arguments only pertain the covenant, since the above passages so clearly mention the Old Law?
Old Law versus New Law
Lionroot wrote:By the term "Old Law" do you refer to the Torah or the Commandments? Perhaps like many you consider them an indistinguishable amalgamation? Is the term "Old Law" extra-Biblical?
I can find the term "New Covenant", where then is the term "New Law"? Is that an extra-Biblical term?
Christ quotes heavily from the Torah, especially Leviticus. ...
To answer your first question, I understand that the "Old Law" is the law associated with the Old Covenant, given at Mt. Sinai, which constitutes the much of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The "Old Law" includes the Ten Commandments, but it is not limited to it, because New Testament references are made to passages outside of the Ten Commandments, and they are labeled as belonging to the "the Law of Moses", "the Law of God", "the Law of the Lord"
, or just "the law"
Admittedly, the terms "Old Law" and "New Law" are not found in the Bible, but that does not mean the concepts are not contained in Scripture!
Paul wrote:For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; (I Corinthians 9:19-21)
In this passage, Paul professes to adapt to the customs and traditions of his audience, (where morally permitted of course) so that the gospel may have more free course among them. Notice, how he describes the Gentiles as being "not under law"
. This we understand, because the law of Moses was given to the Jews. However, he makes this caveat, in case someone thought he might have abandoned law altogether -- "but under law toward Christ"
. There is a law under Christ! It is a different kind of law (not based on works), but it is a "law" nonetheless:
Paul wrote:Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:27)
Furthermore, the prophets foretold that the Messiah would have His own unique law, which they incidentally linked to His covenant:
Isaiah wrote:"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law." Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1-6)
Therefore, just as when God recognized a "new covenant", He made the first "old", when God points out a different law, pertaining to Christ and the new covenant, He makes the first "old" and the second "new" (Hebrews 8:7-13
). Just as the phrase "old covenant" is not found in the Old Testament but clearly taught there and therefore appropriate, so might we say that the terms "old law" and "new law" are not found in the Bible but clearly taught there, and therefore likewise appropriate.
Lionroot wrote:Paul quotes similarly from the Torah and the Prophets, indeed he says he would not know what sin was if it wasn't for the Law, ...
Yes, and in this same context, Paul says that we are no longer under the law and that the law was put to death by the body of Christ (Romans 7:1-7; Galatians 3:10-25
). As I stated earlier, I did not claim the Old Testament (Old Law) was without value, even unto teaching, rebuke, edification, and instruction; however, I did say it was without the authority associated with law, which is what I believe I have demonstrated.
Lionroot wrote:and elsewhere writes:
1Cr 10:1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
1Cr 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Cr 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Cr 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
I don't see the point. Christ was a key instrument in both laws, but was He not a key player in both covenants too? Otherwise, why was His body sufficient for ending the Old Law (or covenant, as you say) (Romans 7:1-4
)? Just because laws have similarities in some points, we should not conclude they are the same in all. Otherwise, we would have conclude the covenants were all the same too! ... I must confess that I am struggling to see the logic of this argument, much less its necessity. Please excuse me, if I am barking up the wrong tree here.
Thank you for your consideration...