|THE LAW ABIDING GOD|
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
THE ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF LAW
CHRIST THE TRUTH WAS CREATOR OF LAW
One of the greatest inadequacies displayed by the world's governors today is lack of wisdom concerning the God-revealed nature of true reality and authority. Jesus Christ was not speaking idly when He said to Thomas, in John 14:6, that He was "the Way, the Truth and the Life." Truth is the pattern within reality; the accordance with what is real of all things which, St.John tells us, Christ designed from the beginning and created. John 1:3 says "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Christ, as the designer, knows every pattern of activity possible within His creation and His love demands that mankind be informed concerning, and eventually induced to make, the most beneficial eternal choices.
THE LAW OF NATURE POINTS TO THE NATURE OF LAW
In the regularity of Nature there is perceived law of which I shall have more to say shortly, and mankind has, apparently, been granted the ability to choose and to act. Man's actions may make that law work to his benefit or against him. Law regulates the correspondence between actions and results. It is the contract between a supreme authority and those who are governed by that authority. Authority is expressed through the ability to enforce the will in the form of a set of rules.
Sir William Blackstone, in his classic "Commentaries on the Laws of England", Volume I, printed in 1765, leads off his second section, dealing with the nature of laws in general, by stating:
"Law, in it's most general and comprehensive sense, signifies a rule of action; and is applied indiscriminately to all kinds of action, whether animate, or inanimate, rational or irrational. Thus we say, the laws of motion, of gravitation, of optics, or mechanics, as well as the laws of nature and of nations. And it is that rule of action, which is prescribed by some superior, and which the inferior is bound to obey.
Thus when the supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be."
LAW EMANATES FROM SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY
Upon realising the truth regarding authority as the basis of law, but neglecting, or having lost, the divine revealed knowledge granted to Adam, the diverse members of mankind, blindly experimenting with various racial, social and religious forms of co-operative organization, have had thrust upon them the requirement to decide in practical terms which force constitutes, for them, the highest authority. They have had to ask themselves which authority shall be deemed truly supreme.
They have asked "Is the supreme sovereign authority the 'RACIAL' family head, related by blood, the Patriarch of the tribal unit, the Clan Chief?" This generally leads to sovereignty vested in one person, Monarchy.
"Is it 'Nature', as in the case of the individual who recognizes only the 'law of the jungle' and, who co-operates with 'SOCIETY' for mutual heightened benefits in a gang - or its more sophisticated organizational derivative, the secular state?" This generally leads from democracy to dictatorship as the law of the jungle acts to establish hierarchy.
"Is it, as perceived by the primitive and superstitious, a 'RELIGIOUS' concept, (perhaps of deities controlling limited domains of nature), to be feared and propitiated?" This leads to a theological hierarchy, and to priestly autocracy, acting in the name of deity, possibly in co-operation with a civil authority.
Indeed, an hierarchy of perceived authorities may be said to exist. In some cases, men choose which authority they will serve for a season. "Is the supreme authority the more immediate Satan the 'Prince of this world', in contrast to a dis-interested and distant 'God'?" Sinners who feel shame, and who harbour a secret dread of the Judgment with foreboding may try to shy from God, as did Adam. Such often seek wild but temporary pleasures to obscure those guilty premonitions, trying to persuade themselves that God does not exist, and thus set Satan as their temporary mentor.
Predictably, free will experiments with apparently expedient substitute avenues of action, seeking to evade the rigorous demands of precise compliance with God's Law by more efficient expenditures of effort. Predictably, apparent short term success dissolves into long term failure. In love, God, being omnicient, must Himself adhere to, and insist upon, the only beneficial, and therefore lawful, procedure.
However, we all recognize to some extent the prevalence of the "Laws of Nature" and so I would like to return to that area and examine a rational approach to it.
A RATIONAL DESIGN LEADS TO LAW
We should, at this point, briefly review the general background reasoning which, I believe, may logically be assumed to underlie the organization of reality and the nature of Law in our universe. I shall do this to show reasonable evidence for the existence of God's fiat control and the rationale for God's Law. I shall expound what I believe to be a logical sequence of assumptions, with a premise as the first item in this sequence:
1. Perceived design in the totality of man's experience evidences a conscious designer and creator, the alternative being an unsatisfying series of infinitesimal initiating chances which, in fact offer no explanations.
2. To design and create all realities of existence, the designer and creator must comprehend within himself all beneficially interactive qualities reflected in that Creation.
3. The specified characteristics correspond to those describing the God of the Bible, seen in Jesus Christ.
4. God has manifested the desire for a loving response on the part of the created consciousnesses, human and heavenly to His own manifest quality of love.
5. Rational response of any quality demands two conditions:
(a) a relatively predictable experience of the environment, and (b) capability of contact with God.
6. The created universe must, therefore, provide:
(a) forms of predictability to an aware mind which we call natural laws while (b) also permitting Godly interventions wherein natural law is perceived to be over-ruled, which we call miracles.
7. Godly interventions must reveal God's own unchanging, omnipotent, divine nature. Thus by revelation, a loving God must provide the beneficial knowledge, encompassed in His Law Code, to mankind and prophetic evidence of His omniscience.
8. Conscious response presumes free will. The desired response of love, holding supreme importance as it must, therefore demands the capability to deviate, to Sin with all its attendant pain and sorrow.
9. God's love demands that no disrupting, rebel nature exist to trouble those in His presence. The predictable free will failures, sin, thus demanded from the beginning a planned legal doorway for reconciliation of those repentant.
10. The death of a legal incorporation, Jesus Christ, whose body encompasses all sinners willingly submitting to His control, meets the demands of justice upon them, while His personal perfection demands, in justice, the Resurrection and acceptance of His complete body into God's presence.
11. The totality of mankind's experience corresponds with this rationale.
12. The wise will not, therefore, be scientifically myopic in concentrating upon nature's "laws" alone in choosing their philosophical premise. They will seek, rather, conjoined to Christ, to live in love with God and one another, applying the perfect pattern of His Law, to all rational behaviour.
I shall now endeavour to amplify the points covered in that summation.
LAW IS THE NECESSARY PRECURSOR TO LOVE
"Might is right" is a true statement if we recognize the inclusion of the might of Almighty God.
In creating a universe in which men and women would come to knowledge, and to choose to express love and devotion to their Creator, it was essential that a system of natural laws be operative, in order to establish a rational pattern within which logical mankind could build his life's responses.
If we want to gain some understanding of the importance of this, let us try for just an instant to imagine how our life would develop without that system of cause and effect natural laws. We would go crazy, if we did not cease attempting to make sense of an irrational existence. Experiments in stimulus deprivation eventually result in halucinations, as the internal system seeks to supply its own rational surroundings. Imagine trying to decide what action to take if we were never sure how our circumstance would change as a result of any action or inaction on our part. It would be like a super minefield. We would be crazed before we could interact in any rational way with our surroundings - or with our God! Indeed, the loss of contact with "reality" is apparently a major reason for the dangerously unpredictable actions of the mentally unstable. Being unable to apprehend true reality, they are simply making what would be appropriate response to their jumbled internal appraisal of their surroundings.
Even if we want to train a dog concerning some desirable or undesirable action which it takes, we have to give the dog assurance and reward, or a slap, immediately after the action in question takes place, to make it associate its own action with the almost automatic reaction. We are the same. We need some sense of a real and rational world of natural laws in which to make our way.
God wants us to love Him. He therefore must make our world rational, so that we may know the results which we ought to expect from our actions.
LOVE AND HATE ARE TWO ASPECTS OF INITIATIVE DEVELOPED UNDER, AND JUDGED ACCORDING TO, THE LAW
As concern relates to an expected consequence of our interposition or inaction, love and hate are simply two ways of defining an act of concern, depending upon the benefit or deprivation which concerned interposition will cause. Both the love and hate aspects of this concern together must be judged good or bad according to the standard of the Law. If the object of love is worthy, so is the hate which accompanies it. If the love is unworthy, so also is the hate attached thereto.
Let me amplify that statement. If I take a great risk in order to save another person's life, I am jeopardising my own life. I thus "hate" my own life in showing "love" to another. Both aspects are commendable as judged by the standard of the Law.
It is in this sense, I believe, that we will best understand Christ's words in Luke 14:26 where He says: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
We see it more completely in John 15:13 where Christ says: "Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
If we are to love our enemies, as commanded in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5:44, it involves depriving ourselves of comfort, and perhaps of pride. Thus, we "hate" our own life, in order to "love" those described as enemies.
The sinner, of course, loves what is forbidden by the Law, and so the associated love and hate are both unworthy and must be judged by that Law.
GOD MUST ABIDE BY HIS OWN LAW
We perceive that, in order to create love in His creatures, God HAD to create a universe which ran in accordance with certain expected cause and effect relationships which scientists have come to state in a set of generalised observations called natural laws. He had also to permit free will to act in response to the intruding circumstances which natural law provided. He had to obey the natural laws which were his creation, in bringing his creatures to a rational decision to love Him. This means that he must even allow death to ensue after certain peril filled actions of mankind or nature occur. Satan's fall, also, was therefore a not unexpected development along the way to the overall objective in God's Plan. God had, in short, to refrain from constantly interrupting the course of "natural events."
This design has unavoidably, however, set the stage for the scoffing of secular scientists at any possibility of miracle, either in history or in the various fields of investigation which they pursue. The assumption is that natural laws operate throughout all time and space in a chance designed universe. Unfortunately, they insist on betting the lives of those they teach that their guess is correct.
THE LAW IS SUBJECT TO, AND MUST COMPREHEND, THE NECESSITY OF REVEALED MIRACLE
Miracle, in the form of disruption of the natural order, had also to be reserved as an alternative by God in order to assure his creatures of His existence and His omnipotence, His honour, His love, and all His other attributes.
God built into the natural order the mechanism for supernatural interposition. I sometimes illustrate this concept by a story.
An explorer places his watch in the keeping of a native and instructs him regarding its winding and the reading of the hands as they circle slowly and steadily about the dial but omits detailed instruction regarding other functions of the mechanism. Becoming accustomed to the watch's time related activity, and not having been instructed regarding the watch's further capabilities, the native is astonished to see the dial instantly reset in the hands of the returned explorer. To the native, the movement is "miraculous." It is not part of his past experience with the mechanism.
Thus God placed within the experience of man the functioning universe, which acts in accordance with the laws of nature. Man, the scientist, with myopic concentration carefully tabulates the natural order, and based thereon proceeds to formulate his philosophies and theories, dismissing all the while the possibility, indeed the Biblical revelation, of miracle by the hand of its Creator.
But miracles, in order to be rational had to be accompanied by prophetic warnings to prepare mankind for their operation, and to make mankind responsible to God Himself, as revealed through them.
God abides by His own law even in such matters as prophetic time periods.
When He initiated a period of "Seven Times" punishment for Israel, the God of Justice saw to it that the prisoners did not remain under the curse one year longer than the stipulated time.
William Norman Saxon, on page 23 of his recent book, "The Reformation of Israel" says: "The long period of Israel's exile among the Gentiles (nations) began when the divided kingdom fell to the Assyrians and the Babylonians in a series of military incursions from 745 to 604 B.C. In one of these incursions, Manasseh and the tribes of Reuben and Gad were taken into captivity by Tiglath-Peleser in 745 B.C.." In 745, Tiglath Peleser took power and 2520 years later, in 1776 A.D., Manasseh, the U.S.A., emerged, taking power as a modern nation. In 734 B.C., Tiglath Peleser took captive Manasseh, East of Jordan, and 2520 years later, in 1787 A.D., the U.S, Constitution formed that nation.
Ephraim and the remaining tribes of the House of Israel were taken captive by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. and 2520 years after that, in the year 1800 A.D., the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland became Great Britain.
Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 604 B.C., and 2520 years later, in 1917, British forces under General Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Turk.
Sir William Blackstone, in Volume I of his Commentaries from which I quoted a few moments ago, proceeds to take note of the dual foundation of law. He says:
"Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these."
THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL WAS NECESSARY IN GOD'S PLAN TO DEMONSTRATE GOD'S LAW
As many people share the earth, a nucleus of civic organization was required - first, to so combine the efforts of a segment of mankind as to elicit from the natural laws a shared corporate blessing, and second, to demonstrate the benefits, thus made available, to others.
That initial nucleus must be strictly and solely responsive to God's authority in an orderly hierarchy, correctly applying natural law to derive those benefits.
PERSONAL FREEDOM ULTIMATELY DEPENDS ON NATIONAL ADHERENCE TO KINGDOM LAW
There exists an EGALITARIAN GOSPEL OF PERSONAL SALVATION
As a private individual, each person must respect the God-imparted right of another to make his or her conscience-guided response to Christ's offer of Salvation. Such freedom is to the end that all shall be judged responsible when called to account on the Day of Judgment because all were free to reciprocate Christ's love.
The traditionally high value which our society has placed upon this egalitarian right to personal choice, particularly during and after the Reformation, has been perverted, becoming the rationale for the dismissal of God as the supreme authority in our nation's government.
This perversion has received its official sanction of late in Charters of Rights and Freedoms.
LAWS OF THE THEOCRATIC KINGDOM OF GOD MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE
In order that the potential benefits may eventuate which accrue to all within the demonstration nucleus organization, everyone subscribing as a member and owing allegiance to God in that Kingdom must automatically yield the right to those aspects of personal freedom which flout the law system of that demonstration unit.
Upon submission to Jesus Christ as King, those rights becomes subject to the requirements of God's law. There can be no rebel claiming the right to complete free will in that nucleus social order where such display of free will would flout God's Law, and challenge God Himself. Therefore, a citizen of that Kingdom has no right to permit usurping rebels to interfere with God's authority and change His Laws. The egalitarian right to individual choice must yield within the context of God's Kingdom to God's authority.
Let us consider a simple analogy: Suppose a person is attempting to assemble the parts of a mechanism such as a clock, or perhaps a jig-saw puzzle for which only one perfect design is possible. If a bystander is stealing parts of the assembly in order to construct some other assemblage of his own design, this is destructive of the desired perfection and no substitute design will meet the requirements. No substitute will function correctly. Christ said, in Matthew 12:30: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Within Christ's Kingdom, as with all kingdoms, an hierarchy of command by appointment of the Lord is necessary.
The sin of Korah was to presumptuously jump the chain of command, the hierarchy appointed by God for priestly worship, and the resulting execution was swift and necessary.
THE LAW IS PERFECT. Psalm 19:7 says: "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."
THE LAW IS A DELIGHT. Psalm 1:1-2 says: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night".
THE LAW CONTAINS WONDERS. Psalm 119:18 says: "Open mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."
This Law is the gift to His Israel of our Law Abiding God.
ISRAEL MADE A NATIONAL COMMITMENT AT MOUNT SINAI
The Sinai experience was a national revelation and an agreed relationship to God, on behalf of subsequent generations. But note that the agreement was law binding both Israel and God to certain commitments to each other. God has been faithful to abide by His commitments made to the Patriarchs, and at Mount Sinai. He is a Law abiding God.
It is at this point that our present national governmental leaders go wrong.
THE PRIOR LEGAL AGREEMENT OF ISRAEL TAKES PRECEDENCE - IT IS THUS ESSENTIAL TO CORRECTLY IDENTIFY ISRAEL TODAY
As Israel, we have a bilateral agreement which may not be unilaterally broken without God's consent. We are not just "any nation". WE ARE ISRAEL, whose fathers made agreements, legally still binding on their descendants, to become that demonstration nation. It is that prior commitment of our fathers at Sinai which, alone, will legally over-ride the subsequent attempts to secularize our government.
Those who hold control of our government today are trying to organize it on an humanistic, egalitarian basis wherein free will, as expressed in the "Charter of Rights and Freedoms", and through parliamentary majority dictatorship, prevails among us.
This will not stand because our God is a LAW ABIDING GOD. Our monarch sits upon the Throne of David which is reserved to be given to the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Advent. It shall NOT be overthrown, for we find the Angel Gabriel, in Luke 1:32, speaking to Mary and telling her that God would give unto Jesus "the throne of his father David", and Our God is a Law abiding God.
GOD'S LAWS REFLECT GOD'S NATURE
Hebrews 6:13-18 gives us some insight in this matter. That passage reads
13. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
14. Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
17. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Note therein several characteristics:
1. God can make promises which extend to many generations and thousands of years.
2. The promises are kept.
3. God confirmed the immutability of His counsel by an oath which He cannot break because He is an unchanging God. Malachi 3:6 says "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
4. God's promises are to give His people hope and eventual blessings.
GOD CANNOT SUBSTITUTE A CHURCH FOR ISRAEL
God has given His word unconditionally regarding certain of the national promises to the Patriarchs and to King David. These are not affected by the people's sin. Sin simply brought into force the "But" clauses of conditional agreements such as those found in Deuteronomy 28, and eventually the 2520 years banishment from the land. God is not thwarted in His plans.
The Church is Christ's body, the Nation of Israel is still His Bride. I shall digress slightly because I think this point is important.
Matthew 10:5-6 recounts Christ's injunction to the twelve:
5. ...Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
In Matthew 15:24 we read Christ's words: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Lest it be said that these quotations were limited to a pre-resurrection timeframe, let us note that John 20:21 quotes the words of the risen Jesus, spoken to His disciples: "...as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."
Thus I feel that we are justified in supposing that Paul's Epistle to the Romans addresses Israelites. We find in Romans 1:6, that Paul is writing to "the called of Jesus Christ." He indicates in 1:13 that the recipients are numbered among the nations (Gk. "ethnos"), and in 2:17 he addresses them as Jews (Gk. 'Ioudaioi), who rest in the law, are circumcised in 2:25, and in 4:1 he speaks of "Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh." I Corinthians 10:1-4 shows that the Corinthian Greeks were likewise Israelites.
Romans 7:4 indicates that those addressed are to marry the one raised from the dead. But the marriage of which Paul is here speaking is not, therefore, of a new Gentile Church, but of redeemed Israel, who was married to God (Jeremiah 3:11-14), set aside (Hosea 2:2), and, according to the Law (Deut. 24:1-4) must continue thus until the death of her husband on Calvary. Our God is a Law abiding God. He adheres to His own Law even in this.
The description of the Bride in Revelation 21 is clearly of a Christian Israel.
JESUS CHRIST, THE PERFECT KEEPER OF THE LAW, IS ONE WITH THE LAW ABIDING GOD
There is a great deal of shallow thinking prevalent on the part of many so called Christians with regard to Law and Grace. Contrary to Christ's own words in Matthew 5:17 which read: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil", many believe and teach the opposite! It seems to these kindly folk that "Gentle Jesus" could not be so strict as the God described in the Old Testament. The theological ramifications of their position should be made plain.
1. They make Jesus to be of a different mind from God whereas Jesus stated "I and my Father are one (John 10:30), and He used the same name, "I AM" with reference to Himself (John 8:58) as God used on Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:14).
2. The Old Testament Law is incorrectly set aside and replaced by a supposed new "law of love." But in Matthew 5:18-19, Christ said:
18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
3. Jesus, if He changed the Old Testament Law, would have been a sinner, and could not then have been the spotless Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. However, Jesus could demand (John 8:46) "Which of you convinceth me of sin?"
TEMPTATIONS IN THE WILDERNESS DEMONSTRATE CHRIST'S SUBMISSION TO THE LAW
After Jesus was baptised, He was "led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil", Matthew 4:1 tells us. The Three Temptations of Jesus were: "Command that these stones be made bread", "Cast thyself down... (from the pinnacle of the temple)", and "all these things (all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them) will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
That these were real temptations, we should not be in doubt. Christ did hold the power to make stones into bread, to make a miraculous display of victory over death, and to be King over the world. All these, He eventually did, but the devil's temptation lay in offering an apparently easy route to accomplish His mission.
Christ, in compassion, fed both the 5,000 with five loaves (the number of Grace) and two fishes and the 4,000 with the seven loaves (the number of God) and a few fishes, twelve loaves in all, reminding us of the loaves for the twelve tribes on the table of shewbread in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 24:5-9). But He accepted the way of the Cross, instead of mis-using His ability to multiply the loaves in order to recruit followers. Thus the stony ground of the Stone Kingdom, His people, was fed by Himself, the Living Bread, and led to become good wheat seed, wheat symbolising the children of the Kingdom, and, as part of the Body of Christ, to partake of the nature of the Living Bread.
By His Resurrection He made that thrilling miraculous display of victory over death, and being lifted up on the Cross, He was enabled to draw all men unto Himself and earn the crown through love.
When Christ stood before Pilate, false accusations on all three of these counts were thrown at Him, and one verse, Luke 23:2, records them. It says: "And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King."
CHRIST'S THREE TEMPTATIONS IN VARIED SUBTILTY WERE REPEATED IN HIS MINISTRY
During the years of Christ's active Ministry, there had been three occasions on which temptations in these same three general categories appeared to test Him. It is appropriate to use these as examples, demonstrating that Jesus, as The Lord, did not break the Old Testament Law.
I shall now examine these. In each case, the Jewish leaders presented the challenge to Christ. In each case, Christ would be presented with alternatives forcing Him either to sin by breaking God's Law, or else to give an answer in accord with the Law of Israel, but conflicting with the power of Rome. In each case, Christ obeyed God's Law.
1. THE TEMPTATION TO PRE-EMPT THE ALLOTTED REGIME OF ECONOMIC PROCESSES
Creation of bread from stones, in the context of Bible times, related to the economic field. In Matthew 22:17-19 the Pharisees and Herodians approached Jesus to ask "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?", seeking to entangle Him in His talk. If He answered "yes", He could be called a traitor to Israel, if "no", He could be accused of rebellion against Rome.
As Israel's sins had incurred the "seven times" punishment, the "Times of the Gentiles" were, by God's design, operative, and the Babylonian succession of rulers was in charge at this stage of history. Rome thus held delegated authority from God. Tribute taxes were therefore the result of the sins of their own ancestors, and their payment was an appropriate national result at this stage. The excellence of Christ's wisdom in revealing this status of the nation by drawing attention to the image and superscription on the tribute money thus complied with God's Law while avoiding the charge of rebellion against Rome. After the termination of the Babylonian succession of rulers, that tribute would no longer be lawful but the temptation was to terminate the "Times of the Gentiles" by demonstrating divine power prematurely and this had to be resisted for various beneficial reasons. It would upset God's timetable of history and release Israel from punishment before she was properly prepared to be His bride. CHRIST SHOWED US THE LAW ABIDING GOD.
2. TEMPTATION TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY
Natural law, in the form of the law of gravity, exacts the penalty of death for sufficient transgression, and Christ had been tempted to over-rule that law by divine intervention. Now Christ was presented with the temptation to order the release of one guilty of death according to Old Testament Law.
There was no sin on Christ's part in the episode of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:2-11). We often hear reference to this account by those who propose it as precedent for abolition of the capital punishment specified in the Old Testament Law. It is suggested that by His actions on this occasion Christ somehow changed that Law. Impossible! Christ could not break or change any of that Law and still be our Saviour. James 2:10 says "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Right after the incident of the woman taken in adultery, remember, in the same chapter, John 8:46, Christ could boldly demand of the Jews: "Which of you convinceth me of sin?".
The next time you are given the reference of the woman taken in adultery as excuse for abolition, ask "Why was the woman brought before Jesus for judgment?". If it was to secure a conviction of the woman, the scribes and Pharisees could have done it without Jesus. There were, I am convinced, two reasons:
1. To present the greatest temptation possible to Jesus to announce Himself in favour of abolition, and thus to SIN, breaking the Old Testament Law by being lenient with her. (No doubt she would be beautiful and appealing, and conceivably had been seduced and involved in her first offence by design and taken "in the very act" to "cook up a case" for use in this scheme.)
2. This was another attempt to involve Jesus in a position challenging the authority of Rome, which reserved for itself the sole right to exact the death penalty (John 18:31).
A detailed examination of this episode shows us that in every particular, Christ exactly fulfilled the Old Testament Law. Perhaps a slight digression will be profitable to search out the points wherein Christ obeyed that Law.
Christ was seated in the temple, and when the woman was brought before him, He wrote with his hand in the dust of the temple floor (John 8:6).
Numbers 5:17-18 says that when a woman is accused of adultery, the priest shall mix water and dust of the tabernacle floor and place the cup of bitter water in the accused woman's hands whereby the Lord will judge her.
As they continued to urge Him, Christ said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (John 8:7).
Deut. 17:6-7 says "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness shall he not be put to death. The hands of the Witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people.
One by one, they turned away, no man accusing her (John 8:10-11) and He then renders the official judgment "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Note that Christ at no time broke the Law, yet a clash with Rome was averted.
Christ had called the bluff of the scribes and Pharisees. They had hoped to make Christ render a decision which ran counter to the Law of God, or else to pass a death sentence which would lack official Roman sanction. They were, if anything, the abolitionists, willing to break the Old Testament Law (else they would not have bothered to drag the woman before Christ). Guilt forbad their presenting official testimony which would involve themselves in the initiation of the execution and bring them into an illegality with Rome, while Christ was left in the position of upholding the Law. Christ manifested the LAW ABIDING GOD.
3. THE TEMPTATION TO SIN BY CLAIMING TEMPORAL (GOVERNMENTAL) POWER BEFORE CRUCIFIXION
In our third illustration, Christ had to face the temptation to take power by force, and avoid the awful Crucifixion, something which He refused to do as that method was incompatible with both the completion of fullness of the Times of the Gentiles and with the nature of His Kingdom.
To have claimed kingship, would be the political equivalent to making His kingdom a kingdom of this world order. He replied to Pilate in John 18:36 "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews."
Christ had assured Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:53): "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?". He had prayed that if it was possible the cup would pass from Him, but He continued, as Mark 14:36 says: "nevertheless not what I will but what thou wilt." This is the supreme expression of the LAW ABIDING GOD.
God's re-marriage to Israel required the Crucifixion to comply with Deut. 24:1-4, and the completion of the Seven Times of punishment to comply with Leviticus 26:24 and consistent with Daniel 4:25.
Thus, Christ had to SUBMIT to listen as the mob screamed (John 19:15) "We have no king but Caesar."
CHRIST AS CREATOR MADE THE LAW WITH THE CREATION.
CHRIST AS PROPHET WROTE THE LAW ON MOUNT SINAI.
CHRIST AS PRIEST SERVED THE LAW ON CALVARY.
CHRIST AS KING RULES ACCORDING TO THE LAW IN HIS KINGDOM.
CHRIST AS PROPHET WROTE THE LAW ON MOUNT SINAI.
CHRIST AS PRIEST SERVED THE LAW ON CALVARY.
CHRIST AS KING RULES ACCORDING TO THE LAW IN HIS KINGDOM.
We are Christ's Kingdom, Israel, and Christ Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer is OUR LAW ABIDING GOD. Praise God that He remembers His Covenants with us, that He loves us, and that He has promised to return to be our King and our eternal