Benton-Preston Debate on the Passing of the Law of Moses
Benton’s Third Affirmative
The proposition: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
I am delighted with the exchange that Don and I have engaged in studying and writing of our convictions on these two propositions. I know I have profited from the challenge that this debate has presented to me, and am convinced that the reader will find this debate to be very beneficial to his own spiritual development in faith. Both of us are convinced that we have the truth, but both cannot actually be right. Therefore, we encourage the reader to think and study this material carefully and seek to know the truth by careful study of God’s word.
As I lay out my final affirmative it has become clear again to me that Don has avoided the role of the negative, trying throughout to prolong his part in the affirmative and trying to pull me back into the negative of HIS material instead of him being in the negative to answer MY material. My second affirmative was almost a repeat of the first affirmative because Don was so involved with trying to continue the last debate topic and giving it some needed assistance, and I felt, and still feel, that I need to keep my affirmatives before Don and the readers to show that they still have not been dealt with sufficiently. In this final affirmative I will rehash the strength of my proposition and meanwhile show the pitiful nature of Don’s responses and the kind of material he has relied upon to give his own proposition an appearance of credibility.
Just before I started writing my third negative, I jotted down every passage that Don used to prove his proposition. I looked at each one in context and compared it to his proposition. Without his commentary and extra verbiage, you cannot look at his proof-texts and reach his conclusions. Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Watchtower publications shed light on the scriptures and that you cannot read the scriptures alone and have the same light, so it is the case here that you cannot read Don’s verses and have the same light without his additional comments. On the other hand, I listed all the passages that I used, looking at each one in context. I believe the average reader can read these verses in their context and reach the same conclusions as I have reached. This is the difference in our propositions and in the scripture arguments used to support those propositions.
Now, I am going to list my arguments again, adding additional reviews of those counter-arguments that Don did attempt. This will make it longer, but it will help you to see that Don has not really answered my material. I want the reader to also notice the difference in our proof-texts as well as how we followed each other’s arguments. There is a huge difference in the way I conducted my answers when I was in the negative and the way Don has been ordering his answers in the negative. If a man has the truth, let him take up the arguments one by one and answer them. If Don had answered each scripture sufficiently, it would have forced me to start using other arguments. A good negative will usually cause the one in the affirmative to abandon a scripture usage and start making other arguments. In this case, I have had little to do but show a few misuses of a scripture while retaining the same arguments I made in my first affirmative. See if Don will take these up one by one!
Proof of the Proposition
ALL AUTHORITY IN JESUS
After Jesus’ death on the cross, Jesus said that “all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him”.
He instructed the disciples to make disciples and teach them to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. The following are implications of Jesus’ statements:
Obligation to the Law of Moses had ceased. It could not have part authority at the same time that Jesus had ALL authority.
The Law of Moses did not command people to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This command comes out of the authority of Jesus Christ.
Because Jesus had ALL authority, baptized believers were to observe all that Jesus commanded. Jesus could not rightly command new things, such as baptism in His name, while people were still obligated to the Law of Moses.
Since he (Don) admitted that Christians rightly “died to the Law of Moses” (Rom.7:4), and Paul said they could do so because the Law was nailed to the cross and abolished (Col.2:14f; Eph.2:14f), then Don is saying that Jews who became Christians escaped the obligation to the Law of Moses. But, all Jews were obligated to Jesus and never escaped that responsibility via Deut.18:15f and all other anticipations of the Messiah. Moses demanded that all Israel hear Jesus. God approved Jesus with miracles and signs (Acts 2:22) and thus obligated Israel to hear Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection was a declaration that He was the Son of God (Rom.1:3-4). The resurrection was the last sign Jesus was going to offer them (the sign of the prophet Jonah). Thus, God obligated all to hear Jesus over Moses and Elijah after the resurrection (Matthew 17:5, 9). All authority had been given to Jesus. Therefore, Don’s position requires that unbelieving Jews were obligated to Jesus and Moses at the same time. This is what he said could not be so in the millennium. His only other alternative is to say that some Jews remained obligated to Moses, but not obligated to believe and obey Jesus. This is not a very comfortable position for a gospel preacher to be in.
What did Don say?
He said that Jesus’ statement in Matthew 28:18 was “proleptic” because Jesus was not yet seated on His throne.
First, “all authority has been given” to Him. Did you notice that tense? Sitting on the throne does not give Him authority. It merely expresses His rightful authority to be on that throne. He sits on the throne because He HAS authority given Him to do so. Don chides me several times as if I ignore the present tense of certain verses. He ignores the fact that there is a past tense here and that on that past tense the inherent right to command His disciples to baptize all nations. He would have no right to command this new thing except Moses’ law has been “taken out of the way and nailed to the cross” (Col.2:14f; Eph.2:11-14). But, if God was obligating anyone to stay under the Law, He could not also be obligating them to recognize the all authority of Jesus and to be baptized in His name. With the authority of Moses out of the way, Jesus has now all authority to command the disciples to go to all nations and make disciples, baptizing them in His name.
Secondly, Jesus has all authority because principalities and powers had been disarmed by means of Jesus’ death on the cross (Col.2:14-17), the middle wall of division between Jew and Gentile broken down by means of Jesus death on the cross (Eph.2:11-15), the authority over death itself in His own hands (Rev.1:18), and thus giving Jesus full authority on the spot to command His disciples to go to all nations with the authoritative news and baptize with heavens’ full blessings in place. Please make note that if the disciples start to carry out these orders, it is because Jesus had full authority, not proleptic authority, to command. Now, when did the disciples begin to act on these orders? Hint: See Acts 2.
Thirdly, by having all authority given Him, and Moses having obligated all Jews to heed this greater Prophet (Deut.18:15f with Acts 3:17-26), Jesus then had authority to enjoin things that Moses had not enjoined. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper would now be practiced in Jesus’ authoritative name because there was no longer any authority residing in the Law of Moses to prevent this.
Fourthly, we must make note that before Jesus was given all authority, no man had a right to “die to the Law” (Rom.7:4). After Jesus was given “all authority” no man had a right to stay under the Law and thereby ignore Jesus’ authority.
Fifthly, Don repeatedly ignored the fact that if some Jews COULD AND SHOULD “die to the Law”, then all Jews were OBLIGATED to die to the Law. Were the Jews obligated at all to Jesus? If they were, then they were obligated to die to the Law of Moses and live unto God through Jesus. But, if all Jews were obligated to believe and obey Jesus, then they were not obligated to remain under the Law of Moses.
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ. All authority was given Jesus from that point.
What did Don Say this time?
He repeated that Jesus was not yet on his throne when He spoke Matthew 28:18. He added, “Jesus had not yet fulfilled the High Priestly function of entering the MHP.”
So, in essence, once Jesus is on the throne and enters the MHP, then “all authority” will be a reality and the law will have been changed and annulled, and all will be obligated to the “all authority” of Jesus. Don’s answer does not help him in the least, because both his seating on the throne and entering the MHP as our High Priest happened between His statement of the Great Commission and the first day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But, Jesus could sit on the throne as Priest and King because He was given all authority to do so, and that was still 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. I contend that “all authority” was given Jesus when He overcame death. Thus, with that authority He can take the throne as rightful KING and with that authority show Himself a “priest forever”(Psa.110) and take the rightful PRIESTLY action of entering the MHP. He does this because authority is already His to do so, given on grounds of His perfect obedience and submission to the Father’s will. As soon as the disciples carry out the commission to preach remission of sins in His name and baptize people under His authority, we have then the “abolishing of the law of commandments” (Eph.2:14f), the “annulling of the former will” (Heb.7:18), and a “change of the Law”(Heb.7:12) as accomplished facts that allows people the right to “die to the Law” right then and long before the destruction of Jerusalem. Once Jesus is established as High Priest of the unchangeable, forever kind, the Law will have been changed and abolished. Furthermore, the New Testament “was established”, and all of this happened 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Matt 28:18 says, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Adam Clarke made these observations:
[And Jesus came and spake unto them] It is supposed by some that the reason why any doubted was, that when they saw Jesus at first, he was at a distance; but when he came up, drew near to them, they were fully persuaded of the identity of his person.
[All power is given unto me] Or, All authority in heaven and upon earth is given unto me. One fruit of the sufferings and resurrection of Christ is represented to be, his having authority or right in heaven to send down the Holy Spirit-to raise up his followers thither-and to crown them in the kingdom of an endless glory: in earth, to convert sinners; to sanctify, protect, and perfect his church; to subdue all nations to himself; and, finally, to judge all mankind. If Jesus Christ were not equal with the Father, could he have claimed this equality of power, without being guilty of impiety and blasphemy? Surely not; and does he not, in the fullest manner, assert his Godhead, and his equality with the Father, by claiming and possessing all the authority in heaven and earth?-i.e. all the power and authority by which both empires are governed? –Unquote!
Because Jesus disarmed other “authorities” in His death (Col.2:15), including the authority of the Law of Moses to impose food, drink, festivals, new moons and Sabbaths” (Col.2:16), Jesus now has all authority to command His disciples to baptize ALL NATIONS in and under Jesus’ full authority. Because the law of commandments was “abolished in His flesh” (Eph.2:15), He now has all authority to bring Jew and Gentile into union in one body “through the cross”(Eph.2:16). Because Jesus has given His own blood, He has now disarmed the great dragon from authoritative accusations against the people of God (Rev.12:11). Thus, He has all authority in the heavenly realm and in the earthly realm. Based on that established authority, remission of sins could now be preached and enjoyed by means of the highest authority (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 2:33, 37-38; 3:19). Don has claimed that this could not be so till Jesus “came back out of the MHP in AD 70”. Amazingly, Don has also contended that Jesus cannot have all authority until every kind of promise made in the Old Testament is fully realized and fulfilled. Therefore, the Law of Moses still had authority to command Jews to keep supporting the Levitical priesthood and thereby neglect so great salvation offered under the better priesthood and covenant. Amazingly, he also contends that they did become obligated to Jesus alone after the destruction of Jerusalem. But, at neither time, after the cross nor after the destruction of Jerusalem have they done anything but ignore Jesus and keep their efforts under the Law of Moses.
Amazingly also, Don used Gen.49:10 to claim that the “scepter” of Judah was the Torah and Judah’s relationship with YHVH, and that this would remain until Shiloh came in the destruction of Jerusalem. However, this is extreme eisegesis on his part. The scepter is not the Torah, but the right of royalty symbolized by the king’s royal staff (scepter). Shiloh came and broke down the middle wall of division (Eph.2:11-16) and opened the door for the gathering of the people. All nations began to flow into the Lord’s house (Isa.2:1-4) and the people gathered to Him in “the general assembly” (Heb.12:23), and all of this happened long before the destruction of Jerusalem. 3,000 Jews began “gathering to him” on the day of Pentecost after “all authority” had been given to Him and “remission of sins started being preached in His name”. Thousands more began gathering to the mountain of the Lord’s house. Further, the Law of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem (Isa.2:1-4) with the full authority of the Lord behind it. It is easy to see that Don is so blinded by his AD 70 doctrine to the end that every verse has become tainted and reread with those colored glasses. Gen.49:10 does not connect with AD 70. Jesus is the last of the royal line. Shiloh came in Jesus, and people gathered to Him from all nations beginning on the Pentecost after His resurrection. (Isa.2; Acts 2ff; Heb.12:23).
THE PROPHET THAT ISRAEL MUST HEAR
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because the Prophet like Moses (Jesus) lived to fulfill the Law before taking it out of the way to establish the second (Law or covenant). The law of commandments was abolished at the cross (Eph.2:11-16), and He took away the first covenant that He might establish the second (Heb.10:8-10). Please make note again that the second covenant cannot be established without first taking away the first. Only by taking away the first can Jesus then have “ALL” authority. When He accomplished the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law requirements and took it out of the way, then His message and voice would be the authoritative voice, and Moses said that all Israel would be obligated to hear and obey that voice and that if they refused, they would be cut off. Thus, all who were required to obey the Law of Moses were required by that Law to get ready to heed Jesus when that Prophet took over the position of lawgiver typified by Moses. Moses said that the children of Israel would be obligated to hear and heed the Prophet. Peter said that the Jews were required to repent and be converted because that Prophet had arrived and Jesus is the one spoken of in all the prophets (Acts 3:17-26). If the Jews had ever been responsible to Moses, it is now that they must believe him in accepting the obligations that the greater prophet (Jesus) would have divine right to require of them.
What did Don Say?
He focused on whether anyone would be “cut off” in the same way unbelieving Jews were cut off.
I further pointed out that Jesus’ all authority was given over Moses after the cross and resurrection.
On the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt.17:1ff) God exalted Jesus above Moses and Elijah and it was told the disciples that after the resurrection it should be told that God said “Hear Him (Jesus)”. The Prophet must be heard, and all Israel was obligated to hear Him. None were allowed to refuse to hear him, and none would be allowed to prefer Moses over Him. Therefore, all Jews are required to repent and be converted to Him, and the cross ended obligation to the Law of Moses and ratified the new covenant and thereby obligated all to the new Lawgiver, Jesus Christ. Thus, Obligation to the Law Ended At The Cross because the Law obligated all to listen to Jesus at the proper time (Deut.18:15f; Acts 3:22f).
What did Don say?
Not a word about the significance of the “Hear Him” passages of Deut.18:15f and of Matthew 17 that placed obligation upon all people to listen to the authoritative voice of Jesus over Moses and Elijah after the cross and resurrection. That silence is very revealing.
The point totally missed by Don was that Moses obligated all Jews to hear and obey Jesus. Failure to do so is because they were unbelievers cut off from God (Rom.11) and later cut off from among God’s people in a physical way. Unbelievers do not believe Moses (in Deut.18:15f) and, as a result, would not believe and obey Jesus. As unbelievers, the Jews were meeting none of the “obligations” (remember both propositions) before God. God was not obligating them to Moses instead of Jesus. He was not obligating the Jews to continue rituals of the Law in spite of Jesus. God, through Moses, and through the divinely prophetic word of Deut.18:15f now made more sure, obligated all Jews to relinquish their hold on the Mosaic covenant and surrender to the Greater Prophet, Jesus Christ. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ, because then the old Law could be taken out of the way in order to allow the Greater Prophet to take the Law-giver position that Moses had typified and prophesied.
What did Don say THIS TIME?
Amazingly he began a long effort to combine the Transfiguration scene with 2 Peter 1:16 that talks about their eyewitness testimony to the first coming of the Lord (parousia in the flesh and on into that Mountain episode) and then he tried to make a second connection with the SECOND coming (parousia) mentioned in chapter 3. His logic chain was nothing short of amazing. The parousia (coming) that Peter describes in 2 Peter 1:16 is the one he SAW and was witness to. The parousia (coming) of the Lord described in 2 Peter 3 was one that was still ahead (“the day of the Lord WILL come” –v.10). So, Don was wearing his AD 70 glasses again and trying desperately to get the passing of the Law and Prophets into the second coming slot of 2 Peter 3. Jesus, on the other hand, connected the issue of the passing of the authoritative voice of Moses and the Prophets to “after the resurrection”(Matthew 17:9). Why? Because all authority would be His after He disarmed all other principalities and powers, and that would happen in His death and resurrection over the power of death (Col.2:14-17). Jesus knew He was going to “abolish in His flesh the law of commandments” at the cross (Eph.2:14f). To talk about “hearing only Jesus” (as depicted in the Transfiguration scene) before the law was nailed to the cross would put the disciples in a bind with one law telling them one thing and Jesus telling them another. So, when the death of Christ and His resurrection disarmed all other authorities, they could then tell what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. Thus, it agrees with my proposition and does not agree with Don at all.
In an attempt to make it appear that this disagrees with my earlier point that some prophecies can be fulfilled later, Don said that I said that only the Law of Moses could pass and that I said that the Prophets would or may never pass. The readers should know that this is not a truthful representation of what I said at all. In fact, what I said about the “commandments” (the binding and commanding voice of the Law and the Prophets, what they commanded and imposed upon the Jews) was that they are/were the obligations upon man. But, I said that some promises of God can be, were, and will be fulfilled later. Don knows that Christian Jews were free from the Law and Prophets (as to what they obligated Jews to do) before all the promises of God were all carried out. He has admitted that Christian Jews escaped and “died to the Law” (Rom.7). He admits that this happened right after the cross and beginning on the day of Pentecost of Acts 2. But, he also recognizes that it did not mean that every promise of God had been fulfilled or that Christians were “dead to promises” of God that might still be in the works. Thus, his argument is phony, misleading, and invalid. He knows what I said about the Law and the Prophets had to do with “obligations” that these imposed upon MAN, not promises that God would yet and will yet carry out. Moses and Elijah were representations of God’s authoritative and commanding voice for a passing system of command and obligation. The voice on the mount takes them out of the picture and says “This is My Son, HEAR HIM”. Jesus said to start telling this vision after HE WAS RAISED (Matt.17:9). Then His was the single authoritative voice.
Peter said that the Jews were obligated to repent and be converted to Jesus based on Deut.18:15f. No Jew was obligated to continue to ignore Jesus and to keep the Law of Moses instead (Acts 3:17-26). They were not obligated to the Law of Moses except to surrender it, die to it, and obey Jesus and live unto God through Him. What happened on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17), Jesus’ resurrection and being given “all authority” combine with the obligations of Deut.18:15 and Acts 3:17-26 to show that Moses and Elijah (representative of Moses and the Prophets or the Law and the Prophets) no longer had authority. It was all in Jesus. Thus, Don did not touch the argument, and it stands as originally stated.
He made a desperate run on the Mount of Transfiguration event and claimed that the WHEN of the passing of the Law and Prophets was not identified. However, the reader will remember that Jesus said that this could be told after the resurrection.
I have urged that the “law of commandments” was abolished because the Bible says so (Col.2:14F; Eph.2:14f). I have said that some promises (whether found in the Torah or Prophets) can be fulfilled whenever God has in mind to do those things and He can cancel man’s obligations to the Law of commandments at such time as He plans. Obligations were found in the Law, and the Prophets mainly upheld the Law and admonished the Jews to keep the commandments. Thus, the Law and the Prophets ceased to hold people to hear and obey at the same time. At whatever time people were to cease hearing and obeying MOSES (the Law), they were to cease hearing and OBEYING ELIJAH (the Prophets). At whatever time they were obligated to hear and obey JESUS ALONE (which was right after the RESURRECTION) then that is the time when the Law and the Prophets would cease to have authority for demanding obedient ears. The idea of the transfiguration episode is to point out the time when all ears and obedience must be to JESUS ALONE. Jesus said that program would start right after the RESURRECTION. Now, there are some promises that God will yet keep. But, the obedience of the people belongs to Jesus, and both Deaut.18:15f and the events of the Matthew 17 Transfiguration show that our part is to listen to and obey Jesus ALONE. The Law of commandments was taken out of the way. God will keep His promises regardless of when He releases people from one law and enjoins obligations to another.
Don did ask an important question that I wish to address now that we have had Deut.18:15f in the front of our attention. He asked:
If obedience and acceptance of Jesus as Messiah was obedience to the Law, how would this be possible if the Torah had already passed away? How can you obey a covenant or Law that has been abrogated?
First, the law was abolished at the cross (Eph.2:15). That is undeniable to those who accept the inspiration of Paul. Yet, still Christians were to do certain things out of that Law just because it was an expression of what is RIGHT. In Eph.6:1-4 children are instructed to “obey your parents in the Lord for this is RIGHT”. Then he quotes from the abolished LAW to show what is RIGHT. Would we say, “how can Christians obey an abolished law?” Does this pose the same problem?
I would say that the system of Law in-total carries principles that are always “right”, and “right” is not something that passes away even if the Law carries those principles for a while. There are also within a given Law things that are not matters of right or wrong, but matters of preference or matters of ritual or matters of special insight or knowledge. We are responsible to know and utilize available knowledge from God. Thus, the scriptures of the Old Testament continued to be a resource for faith-building, for instruction in righteousness, and for the rebuking of sin (2 Tim.3:15-17). In our own Land there are laws passed to honor veterans on a certain day, for example. A Day is set aside for that purpose. Within our law stealing is a violation. Do away with US Law now and enter another country. Is Veterans Day a law? No! But stealing is still a matter of right and wrong. So, abrogating a law does not release one from all principles of right and wrong. Christians were “dead to the Law”, yet obligated to right and wrong matters expressed in that Law such as honoring parents. The Law of Moses continues to give light on issues of right and wrong. Though the Law of commandments was abolished and Christians were “dead to the Law” (Rom.7) still Christians were very much aware of the righteousness of the Law and the need to fulfill it (Rom.8:3f; 13:8-10). At the same time, they knew not to let people bind circumcision or days, feasts, and Sabbaths of the Law (Col.2:14-17). So, abrogated Law can still serve useful purposes. See our earlier comments when we were dismantling Don’s argument on “The Strength of Sin” in 1 Corinthians 15.
Now, pre-information about the Messiah is knowledge responsibility and it does not cancel responsibility to that knowledge just because the Law that carried that knowledge has ceased to be the binding Law. If a special knowledge from God is available in an abrogated Law, we still hold responsibility to the knowledge and wisdom it provides. Thus, all are responsible for the knowledge that Deut.18:15f imparts about a greater Prophet to come. Special predictions do not abrogate with a temporary Law. Thus, all Jews were and still are responsible for the knowledge they had instilled in them from their Law. Further, if they do not recognize that their Law has been abrogated, they are still responsible for the light they have.
Secondly, if a man believes he is obligated to the Law of Moses, his conscience is to be protected till he learns better. In actuality, Saul is a case in point. He was wrong about Jesus and wrong about Jesus’ disciples, and he thought that he was obligated to do all that the Law required. His conscience was wrong because his information was wrong. He was obligated to the Lord Jesus and did not know it until that day on the road to Damascus. Further, he did not realize that he was actually in conflict with the Law of Moses in not letting it school him TO Christ (Gal.3:23f). He began letting it school him after that encounter on the road to Damascus. So, we must conclude that a man is responsible to what he thinks knows, and when he learns better, his responsibilities change.
Thirdly, obligations of right and wrong never pass. So, a person is always responsible to God to be honest with God and have a heart ready to learn from God. The Jews were always responsible to God to be honest and receptive to His words. Even if the Law had been abolished and they were ignorant of that fact, they were always obligated to the responsibility of seeking God. Seeking God is a matter found in the Law, but is not limited to the Law. When a Law containing admonitions to seek God is generally annulled, the requirement to seek God supersedes the Law. Although the Messiah was anticipated before the Law of Moses came to be, the Law of Moses may enhance that knowledge and expand responsibility to that coming Messiah. When the Messiah comes you are responsible to the Messiah and to ALL you knew about Him from your sources. So, Don’s question is good, but is filled with some assumptions that do not hold true. His rule is that when a law is abrogated, whether I know or acknowledge it or not, it can require nothing of me, and I bear no responsibility to the years of training and knowledge it imparted to me. The principle of Jesus is that “to whom much is given, much is required”. Saul converted and realized that his ignorance was no excuse and the knowledge he had of the Law was extremely useful, and even though he was free from the Law, he was not free from the instructions it gave or the hope it imparted. It was always useful. He was obligated to the Prophet it predicted in Deut.18:15f and the Servant predicted in Isa.53. Yet, he was free from the bondage of the Law and now realized it in Christ.
Fourthly, all post AD 70 Jews are responsible to seek God, to let the Law tutor them and bring them to Christ. Would Don say now, “How can you obey a covenant or Law that has been abrogated?” He thinks the Law was abrogated in AD 70. So, does that mean that Jews today have no responsibility to the prophetic word made more sure? Would he say that there is no obligation to do what Moses had enjoined in Deut.18:15f??? Why is this dilemma a perceived problem for me after the cross, but not for Don after AD 70?
THE TRUE TABERNACLE ESTABLISHED
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because Jesus built His House by means of His death. Jesus’ house is greater than Moses’ house. Jesus is greater than Moses and deserves to be heard over Moses. The greater house and TRUE tabernacle has been established (Hebrews 3:1-6; 9:11). No one has obligation to hold to the lesser house and lesser law-giver while rejecting the true and greater house and greater lawgiver. Therefore, as soon as the true house was established, and that was by means of his death, then that is when obligation to the Law of Moses ended and obligation to Jesus’ full authority began.
What did Don say?
He said the house was “being built” and that it was not “complete”
First, we need to ask Don a very relevant and powerful question that should expose the weakness of his negative here. Since the house was “being built”, does this mean that obligation was to Moses until Jesus quit building His house? Isn’t it still growing? Did it stop growing after the destruction of Jerusalem? If it continued to grow after the destruction of Jerusalem, then Don has no point.
Secondly, the passage clearly says that the house of Jesus Messiah had been “established”. Therefore, no one was allowed, much less “obligated” to continue to ignore it. It was “established” and will ever continue to build (thus is ever being built as souls continue to be added to it). Therefore, Don did not touch the argument. It too still stands.
What did Don say THIS TIME?
He says there is a textual variant in Hebrews 9:11 that allows the idea of “good things that are ABOUT TO COME”.
Of the good things to come toon mellontoon agathoon. But Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Bezae (D) read genomenoon (that are come). It is a nice question which is the true text. Both aspects are true, for Christ is High Priest of good things that have already come as well as of the glorious future of hope. Westcott prefers genomenoon, Moffatt mellontoon.
(from Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Robertson’s comments do not allow that the Law of Moses was still an obligation, because all the good things then and in the future were under the High Priesthood of Jesus already in operation providing those good things.
Another scholarly work does not agree with Don’s contention here:
But Christ has already come as the High Priest of the good things that are already here. The tent in which he serves is greater and more perfect; it is not a man-made tent, that is, it is not a part of this created world.
Since verse 8, the writer’s main interest has no longer been in the two compartments of the “sanctuary.” What matters in verses 11-12 is the comparison between (a) the high priest going through the curtain into the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, and (b) Christ, by his sacrifice of himself, passing into heaven to take up the highest and holiest “place” beside God.
But probably completes the contrast prepared in verse 2 (see comments). There may, however, be difficulty in introducing a conjunction such as But at the beginning of verse 11, since the clause which it introduces is not in direct conflict or opposition to the immediately preceding clause. It introduces a contrast with the entire paragraph which precedes. It may therefore be necessary to use a somewhat expanded expression such as “In contrast with all of this” or “On the other hand.”
Christ has already come: already is implicit. The phrase probably refers neither to his coming to earth nor to his arrival in heaven after his ascension, but to his “appearing” or “being shown” as High Priest (compare verse 26). If, however, one wishes to avoid indicating precisely the point to which Christ has come, it may be possible to translate Christ has already come as the High Priest as “Christ has already become the High Priest.”
Manuscript evidence is rather evenly balanced between “the good things that have come” (RSV text and UBS Greek New Testament text, TEV text, JB note, NEB text, TOB note) and “good things to come” (KJV, RSV note, Mft, JB text, TEV note, NEB note, Brc, TOB text). “Good things to come” fits in too easily with the context and with Heb 10:1, so the more difficult reading, “good things that have come,” is rather more likely to be the original text.
It may be difficult to relate the High Priest to the expression the good things that are already here. It may be possible to translate High Priest of the good things that are already here as “the High Priest who provides the good things that are already here” or “the High Priest who has caused to happen the good things that are already here.” It is important when rendering the good things to avoid an expression referring only to material things. The reference is to the good experiences which people have, and therefore the good things that are already here may be expressed as “the good experiences that we already have” or “the good which we have already experienced.”
(from the UBS Handbook Series).
However, Vincent gives a hint of the variant Don alludes to, but denying it is a valid variant. He says:
Of good things to come toon (NT:3588) genomenoon (NT:1096) agathoon (NT:18). According to this reading, the King James Version is wrong. It should be “of the good things realized,” or “that have come to pass.” The King James Version follows the reading mellontoon (NT:3195), “about to be.” So Tischendorf and T. Weiss with Westcott and Hort read genomenoon (NT:1096). Blessings not merely prophetic or objects of hope, but actually attained; free approach to God, the better covenant, personal communion with God, the purging of the conscience.
(from Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament)
Don is building his case on flimsy contextual scholarship that even if allowed would not argue that God was obligating the Jews to keep the Law of Moses instead of believing Jesus and enjoying the better things He was ALREADY PROVIDING and would yet provide.
Then, Don went into his specious argument about entrance into the MHP again. He keeps saying that I deny that people now have access into the MHP. That is ridiculous. It drives Don up the wall that I never walked into the trap he thinks others have walked into on his MHP argument. I said Paul went to be with Christ (Phil.1:23) and that was before the destruction of Jerusalem. He hasn’t liked what I said, so he has resorted to putting words and positions in my mouth that I have not taken. He keeps saying that I deny the blessing of the way into the MHP provided in Christ. It doesn’t help Don’s position at all because his position would mean that Paul could not be with Christ until the destruction of Jerusalem (if I may be allowed to use Don’s own tactic).
He said the church is not now growing and that the apostles had in mind a state of being, of fullness in Christ. Well, then they had that a long time before the destruction of Jerusalem. Paul told the church that you are “complete in Him” (Col.2:10). So, Don still loses the argument. It does not say that you WILL BE complete after the destruction of Jerusalem. He then said that the true tabernacle could not be established if it was still growing. The inspired writers say that it was BOTH established and growing. Don doesn’t like this because he knows that if it was established and people were already entering it before the destruction of Jerusalem, then it ruins his whole premise that obligation was to the entire system of Law until the destruction of Jerusalem when HE says that everything was fulfilled. He knows that if ONE Jew was obligated to enter this established true tabernacle before the destruction of Jerusalem, then all Jews were so obligated. The very fact that the true tabernacle WAS ESTABLISHED means that the copy and shadowy types have to be traded in for the better. He wants some Jews to remain obligated to the Law of MOSES, even though Moses obligated all Jews to hear the greater Prophet Jesus. Once he admits that all Jews were obligated to Jesus and the better tabernacle, then he surrenders his proposition that says that in spite of the greater Prophet and Messiah’s proven credentials and His mighty power over death itself, some Jews remained “obligated by God” to continue to keep the Law of Moses instead. In spite of the fact that Moses obligates them to Jesus, and Jesus obligates all to die to the Law and serve God in newness of spirit, still Don insists that Jews were obligated to two Laws at once or the Law of Moses only.
Amazingly, Don thinks that the temporary miraculous gifts are proof that some Jews remained obligated to the Law of Moses while the church was being aided and equipped in nurturing it in its infant state of growth. What the gifts did was further prove that God was with the church and thus obligating unbelieving Jews and all others all the more to surrender their mistaken loyalty to the Law of Moses and any other system when the better covenant and system was now in play. No, the fact that the church was assisted miraculously only serves to settle Christian convictions in the new system and further obligate the unbelieving world to listen to Christ and quit acting like God was still obligating them to Moses. They did not establish the New Testament and bring it slowly and gradually into effect, they assisted the church in planting themselves in it and stabilizing themselves within the framework of that established covenant. The foundation was laid but the people needed miraculous assistance in learning how to differentiate between true apostolic doctrine and every wind of doctrine that was blowing upon their own unstable faith. The gift of prophecy to one member at Corinth, for example, did not reveal things that contradicted what was already “taught from the beginning”. The essentials were already “delivered to you”(1 Cor.11:2,23;15:3). They were responsible to compare everything they heard to what they heard from the beginning.
1 John 2:24-27
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning . If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us — eternal life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. NKJV
Notice that what was taught at the beginning is the key to abiding in the Son and in the Father. Notice that the miraculous “anointing” (Holy Spirit with His gifts) helped remind them and give them stability when someone came along to try to deceive them. Everything was to be compared to what was taught at the beginning. It was all there from the start and the miraculous gifts did not phase it in, but assisted in keeping people focused on it, learning more from it, and stabilizing them upon that foundational teaching. There was the constant need to “keep in memory what I have preached to you”(1 Cor.15:2f). The point we are making is that the New Testament (written on hearts by means of oral teaching) was not gradually revealed and did not gradually come into effect (which is what Don is claiming). The New Covenant was established early and began to be preached from the very beginning. But, the preservation of that gospel needed divine assistance in stabilizing the church upon that foundation and helping them to grow more knowledgeable of it. But, let us not forget that the Hebrews writer is showing that Moses’ tabernacle was inferior to the house Jesus has built (3:1-6) and that Christ CAME as High Priest (thus changing the law -7:12) and He came WITH “the greater and more perfect tabernacle”(9:11) and thus OBLIGATED all to accept the better and “die to” the former and inferior. If the new and better tabernacle was established, then all were “obligated” (our propositions) to these greater things in Christ.
“When that which is perfect is come” refers to the stabilized state of maturity provided in the full resources of the written word in which full availability of knowledge fills the human heart with all that need be known about Him so that Christ is “formed in us” and instability is less of a threat. With the New Testament established and written only in hearts, it became easy for false teachers to create instability by causing members to forget what they heard or to blur the meaning and applications of what they heard. The design of the gifts and the accumulation of the written word was to provide a mature and stable resource for pushing out all false concepts and filling the heart with completeness in Christ. While the perfect revelation of Jesus was in development, the New Testament was fully in effect through the spoken gospel, and all had heard (Rom.10:16-21) and therefore all were responsible and obligated to Christ and the new covenant and new Priesthood. My admission that the fully written revelation of the New Testament is essentially a stabilizing and maturing resource for Christians, who already had the new covenant written in their hearts by means of the spoken word, is not an admission that the new covenant was not yet in effect or that the old covenant had not yet been changed, annulled, and abolished in His flesh. Nor, is this an admission that the new covenant was being phased in and the old phased out. Obligation was fully to the Messiah. However, greater understanding or knowledge fills us with Christ. First principles of the oracles of God write the new covenant on our hearts, and greater knowledge fills us with treasures of wisdom and knowledge, a resource for maturity and stability. What our perfect and complete written new testament does is preserve for us the first principles of the oracles of God (what was initially written on hearts in the gospel) AND the resources of greater wisdom, knowledge, or understanding that has the power and potential to stabilize us and let Christ be “formed in us”.
[Until Christ be formed in you] The name Christ is often used to denote his religion, or the principles of his gospel; see the note at Rom 13:14. Here it means, until Christ reigns wholly in your hearts; until you wholly and entirely embrace his doctrines; and until you become wholly imbued with his spirit; see Col 1:27.
(from Barnes’ Notes)
Christ be formed in you – that you may live only Christ, think only Christ (Gal 2:20; Eph 3:17), and glory only in Him. His death, resurrection, and righteousness (Phil 3:8-10; Col 1:27).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
The Galatians were “sons”(Gal.4:6), thus born into Christ, but Christ needed to be “formed in you (them)” so that they carried Christ in themselves as a protective mother would her forming child within her womb. It seems then that the imagery is that there was life seed of Christ originally planted in them but not “forming” the essence of Christ in them. They had “begun in the Spirit” but were seeking to be “perfected”(Gal.3:3) by the flesh, the law of circumcision. Paul’s thought here and in 1 Corinthians 13 and in Eph.4:11-16 is that greater knowledge of Christ is essential for stabilization and maturity in Christ. We are not perfected with just birth into the kingdom. Fuller knowledge and revelation is needed for growth, development, and stabilization. “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” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Spirit of the Lord was not leading some people to stay under the Law and others to allow Christ’s glory to grow within. Don tries to get this passage to work in his phase-in-phase-out theory. The only thing Paul is concerned about is allowing the full glory of Christ ALONE to bring ever-progressing stages of glory to His disciples or, rather, within the disciples. The formation of Christ within is a process even when the new covenant is fully in effect. So, the whole counsel of new testament obligations were delivered early in oral form (Acts 20:27; 1 Thess.1:6; 2:13; 4:1,2) and the accumulation of more wealth of knowledge in the form of written apostolic documents provided wisdom from above to help form Christ within from one degree of glory to another, until the resources for spiritual maturity and stabilization was obtained. So, “that which is perfect” is the full resource of wisdom and knowledge that enhances and encompasses the new covenant that was put into effect by means of Jesus’ death, and delivered orally into hearts. That fuller resource is now available in the collection of 27 New Testament books. What is now encapsulated within these collected books was already in effect, binding, and obligating all men to hear and obey. Wisdom, insight, understanding, and greater knowledge expands the form of the New Testament, but the essence of the New Testament was “first spoken by the Lord and confirmed unto us by those who heard Him”(Heb.2:3-4). It was already “established” and the spiritual tabernacle and spiritual priesthood was already “established”. Enhancing and expanding wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, provides maturity with regard to the New Testament, but it does not phase it in. It stabilizes the people already in it. The written version preserves the original teaching and enhances and expands the understanding of it, thus bringing us to Christ and forming Christ more fully in us.
THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST ESTABLISHED
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because Jesus is a Great High Priest over the Aaronic priesthood. His priesthood was established long before the destruction of Jerusalem and was activated in His death wherein He offered Himself without spot to God. His priesthood was in place long before AD 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem (Heb.8:1). His priestly work was far greater in that He “passed through the heavens” instead of through a mere copy of things like Aaron had done previously. (Heb.4:14; 8:1). Therefore, obligation could not remain upon the Jews to continue under the lesser system while the greater was in place.
What did Don say?
He said: “…the fact that Jesus had confirmed the New Covenant through His death does not mean that the Old Covenant had passed.”
First, catch the power of this! Don says that in spite of the fact that the greater priesthood and covenant had been confirmed, still some Jews remained obligated to carry on and support the lesser covenant and Levitical priesthood instead.
Secondly, if one Jew could be obligated to the Law of Moses instead of believing and obeying Jesus, then all Jews were obligated to the Law of Moses instead of Jesus. If one Jew was obligated to Jesus and to “die to the Law”, then all Jews were obligated to Jesus and to “die to the Law”.
Thirdly, please note again that Don’s admission that the priesthood had been established means OF NECESSITY that the law had to have “changed” in order for the new priesthood to be established (Heb.7:12). One cannot happen with out the other, and the new priesthood did not phase in. It was fully “established”. Thus, the law was “changed” long before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Fourthly, no Jew could be obligated to the type or shadow of the Law of Moses when the greater reality was fully in place and attested and confirmed by God. If one is “obligated to keep the Law of Moses” (our propositions) instead of having to obey Jesus, then those people are not obligated to the greater but to the lesser. Can you believe that this is what Don has been affirming?
Fifthly, if Jesus was High Priest before the destruction of Jerusalem, then salvation was available in a way that had not been offered before. Yet, Don is telling us that God was obligating some Jews to keep following the ministration of death and was thus obligating them to “neglect so great salvation”. Read Hebrews 1-2 and see if you think that God was obligating anyone to continue listening to Moses instead of Jesus.
What did Don Say THIS TIME?
He says again that Christ could become that priest by dying to the Torah in His own death and entering that realm where He could serve out from under the Law of Moses.
First, Jesus could not be a priest without changing the Law (Heb.7:12). His whole mission was to be a “forever priest” not a temporal earthly priest. Jesus could serve as priest because He fulfilled and abolished the Law of commandments (Eph.2:14f) and could thus change the Law. Serving in heaven itself is what was foreshadowed in the temporal earthly tabernacle. He could not be a priest on earth on two counts: 1) because the old law calls for LEVItical priests, and 2) because He was the priest that fulfills what the earthly copies could only copy in inferior typology. Thus, His mission was to fulfill the Law, then change the Law, and offer the heavenly realities of the good things typified in the temporal earthly copies. Don keeps saying that He couldn’t serve on earth because the Law was still binding on earth. No, Don, He couldn’t serve on earth because His mission was to be a “forever priest” operating in the MHP of heaven itself.
I want to keep reminding the readers that Don allows Jesus to change the law in the heavenly realm before and without it all first being “fulfilled” according to his argument on Matthew 5:17. He allows people to enter Jesus’ death in their minds and be free from obligation to the Law of Moses even before it was all “fulfilled”. He claims that all people were not “obligated” to enter Jesus’ death and die to the Law of Moses, but that they could if they wanted to.
THE PRIESTHOOD AND LAW CHANGED
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. KJV
In regard to this verse, we have several observations that demonstrate the validity of my proposition. First, the priesthood “changed” and when it did, there was, of necessity, a change of the law. The law commanded a Levitical priesthood. If Jesus is priest, and disciples were obligated to His priesthood AND the Levitical priesthood at the same time, then the early disciples were obligated to accept Jesus’ offering and continue the animal sacrifices for 40 years at the same time. The priesthood changed at the cross when Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice.
What did Don say?
He said the change was just “initiated” but not “FULL REALITIES”. He said that the law “was BEING CHANGED” and that the priests at Jerusalem were still serving “according to the Law” and Jesus could not be “priest on earth” while that Law was still in process of being changed.
Answer #1 on “the Law was BEING CHANGED”
First we must make note that the priesthood was “being changed” by virtue of the prophecy of Psalm 110:4 and the plan of God from eternity. Don totally misses the point. Hebrews 7:12 is analyzing the Levitical priesthood and what further need to have the Psalm 110 prediction of a new order (Melchizedek order) if the Levitical priesthood were sufficient. The prediction meant that the priesthood was “being changed” by God’s intent. When the priesthood was put in place is when the Law will have already been “changed”. Since Don has admitted that the priesthood has been put in place, then the Law changed “of necessity”. The Hebrews writer is not arguing that the priesthood is now in the process of being changed and will be a full reality in AD 70. He is arguing that from the standpoint of God’s intentions and prophecy and declaration in Psalm 110 it was purposely “being changed” and will have required a change of the Law too when that new priesthood was put in place. When Jesus finally can be said to “have an unchangeable priesthood” (7:24), then at that moment we have that priesthood in place, the Law will have been changed.
Answer #2 on the priests at Jerusalem were still serving “according to the Law”.
First, many Jews still, to this day, practice circumcision “according to the Law”, but that does not prove that GOD is still holding them under “obligation” to that Law.
Secondly, to say that GOD was “obligating” Jews to remain Levitical priests and other Jews to continue to support that priesthood would mean that those people were “obligated” to reject the new and better things of Christ. Who can believe that? To say that Jews continue to have things they do “according to the Law” does not prove that God was and still is “obligating” them to continue those things instead of obeying Jesus.
Answer #3 on Christ not being allowed by still binding Law to be “priest on earth”
First, the Hebrews writer is arguing that the priests on earth were serving the copy and shadow of the HEAVENLY things. If Jesus was going to be the “heavenly” thing foreshadowed by the earthly things, then He could not be a “priest on earth”. He could not be a priest on earth because the earthly priests were serving the copy and shadow role. Jesus could not do THAT because He is the heavenly and real thing of which earthly priests were only “copies”. The Law called for the earthly, Levitical priests. Jesus could not be a priest of that kind on two accounts: 1) He is from the tribe of Judah (unauthorized for priesthood under the Law), and 2) He is the real substance of heavenly things depicted by the earthly copies and shadows. The Hebrews writer is not arguing that Jesus could not be a priest on earth because there was still binding Law still going on down here, but because the planned role for Jesus was “heavenly” and not earthly (Heb.8:5; 7:16,24,28; 8:1). He “HAS OBTAINED” a more excellent ministry (notice the past tense, Don). This is also because a “forever priest” (Psalm 110 and Heb.7:15-18) has to be heavenly not earthly. Thus, we cannot but make note that Don has perverted the whole reason why Jesus could not be priest on earth. Shame on you, Don.
Secondly, has the priesthood changed? Yes! Then the law that demanded the Levitical priesthood has changed. The priesthood being changed long before AD 70 means that the law was changed long before AD 70. Don can keep blowing smoke by misuse of scripture, but the Law has changed because Jesus has become priest and king according to prophecy (Psalm 110; Zech.6:12, 13). Our appeal to Hebrews 7:12 as evidence that obligation to the Law has ceased as of the moment that Jesus became priest is still standing rock solid and has not been moved by Don’s textual maneuvers.
In order for Don to disprove the validity of my proposition, he will have to prove that there was no change of priesthood before AD 70.
The priesthood was changed and put in place in the death of Jesus on the cross, and therefore, the change of the Law was in place for that to take place. The priesthood was changed in Jesus’ offering of Himself in His death (Heb.7:27). Therefore, obligation changed from obligation to the Levitical priesthood to obligation to the greater priesthood of Jesus Christ.
What did Don say THIS Time?
He said that he affirms that Jesus did indeed receive the Melchizedecan priesthood, but that he did so by entering another realm where the law could not apply.
First, this is a total dodge of what Heb.7:12 is saying. It is saying that a change of priesthood necessitates a change of the LAW. Don is saying that if Jesus goes into the other realm and becomes a priest there, then no change of the Law is necessary, for the Law is for people in this earthly realm. But, if that is what the Hebrews writer had in mind, he could and should have said so. Instead the Hebrews writer is arguing that the Psalm 110 prediction anticipates a new priesthood and therefore a CHANGE OF THE LAW. Not a change of where people could hide from the Law, or where people could claim immunity from the LAW, but a CHANGE OF THE LAW itself.
Secondly, Don then made another ridiculous claim that “Terry wants us to believe that Christ could not serve in earth because the Jerusalem priests were just a bunch of bullies that would not let him in the Temple!” That is beyond laughable to one of the most incredible claims I have ever heard, especially coming from a gospel preacher. It is like Don is not even reading what I say, but just inventing things to make me appear woefully ignorant so that he can appear to be holding the stronger arguments. There is no statement from me that comes even close to inferring what Don says here. You can tell from this and the fact that he does not attempt to take up my arguments on each passage and show the fallacy of my use or misuse of the passage, that he is struggling. He just floats around making more affirmative arguments, throws in a few straw-man arguments that he made up, and then maybe will attempt an answer to a few of my arguments, but usually with more phony arguments. This one takes the cake.
Thirdly, the admission on his part that Jesus DID indeed receive the Melchizedecan Priesthood long before the destruction of Jerusalem is a nail in his coffin, for He has a High Priest who cannot give remission of sins for forty more years when He then ends the old covenant and fully installs the second covenant by coming back out of the MHP. We only THOUGHT the Jews had remission of sins in ACTS 2:38-40. In his first negative he said: When the New Covenant fully arrived, Israel’s sin would be forgiven- (“their sins and iniquities will I remember no more”)—something that could never happen while the Old Covenant stood valid (remember Hebrews 9:9-10!). And again he said: “Both passages anticipated the forgiveness of sin with the full arrival of that New Covenant” (and he argued that full arrival took place in AD 70). That means that Jesus was High Priest for forty years but could not give forgiveness to anyone for that entire period. The fact of the matter is that Israel was receiving remission of sins immediately after the cross, which proves that the Law had changed and the Priesthood of Christ could fully operate. This is why I have cautioned the reader to be very careful with swallowing some of his earliest assumptions, for it will color and taint every passage he connects to those earliest of assumptions. Now, we are to conclude that the Law did NOT CHANGE when Jesus received the Melchizedecan Priesthood, AND we are to believe that remission of sins hinged entirely on when Jesus “came back out of the MHP”, and that was forty years after He received the priesthood. But, when you let Don string those scriptures together along with his assumptions attached to them, he can sound fairly convincing. When you step back and notice that he started with assumptions he did not and could not really prove, then his string of arguments unravel and fall into a pitiful heap.
Better Mediator and Covenant Established
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. NKJV
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because a better covenant has been established by a better Mediator. Obligation could not continue to the lesser Mediator and lesser, inferior covenant when the better covenant was established. This better covenant was established by Jesus’ death.
15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. NKJV
The better Mediator and better covenant could not be rightly turned down under pretense of being loyal to God. God held all accountable to hear and obey His Son (John 12:48). None could remain under obligation to Moses instead. All are obligated to come “to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel”. (Heb.12:24).
WHAT DID Don say?
He said the New Covenant was not “signed, sealed, and delivered” when Hebrews was written. The Better Mediator and covenant was “initiated” but not “fully delivered”.
First, it is amazing that Don makes this argument. He kept chiding me about not believing the present tense on certain passages. Yet, these verses show that the New Covenant “WAS ESTABISHED” and was in force after Jesus died. Who is really the one who avoids dealing with the tenses?
Secondly, when the greater covenant, prophesied in Jer.31:31f, was mediated and established, then it was “signed, sealed, and delivered”. It was prophesied to be unlike the Sinai covenant that was fully delivered on Sinai and ratified by blood of animals, but would be written in hearts. Because it was “written in hearts” Paul could say early on that he had “declared the WHOLE COUNSEL of God” (Acts 20:27). When any new doctrine came along the apostles told brethren to compare it to what they “heard from the beginning” (Acts 15:24; 1 Cor.15:1, 2; Gal. 1:8). Thus, the New Testament was written on hearts, fully delivered, and ratified (signed and sealed) by the blood of Christ long before AD 70.
Thirdly, the new covenant was signed by the blood of Christ in hearts, sealed by the miraculous confirmation of the Holy Spirit in hearts, and delivered by Jesus’ spoken word at the first and confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Heb.2:1-4; Mk.16:20; Hebrews 9:14-18). It was also “delivered” in oral form so that what was preached “at the beginning” became the measure to use to test all new ideas. Written in hearts instead of on tablets of stone, it passed from faith to faith (Rom.1:16-17; 10:18). The prophet Isaiah said “who has believed our report?” Peter said these things that had been prophesied “have now been announced unto you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven” (1 Peter 1:12). Isaiah obligated the Jews to believe the report. No one was allowed to ignore the report and pretend that we can ignore it until it is signed, sealed and delivered in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Fourthly, the fact that the New Testament had not yet been written out on paper to preserve and extend that message to future generations does not mean that the material had not already been written in hearts and “signed, sealed, and delivered”. The written message helps us to have it written on our hearts. But, it was “confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Heb.2:3). The new covenant was written in hearts, sealed by miraculous confirmation, and “established” by Jesus death. Don’s argument that it was merely “initiated” but not fully delivered is false. It may not have been fully preserved in “written-on-paper form, but it was “delivered” and “confirmed” in oral form and with Holy Spirit confirmation so as to confirm its “establishment”, and this was long before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Fifthly, Don’s argument that Jesus’ death did indeed “confirm the covenant” but that it was only an “initial” confirmation until the old got through being “ready to vanish away” at the destruction of Jerusalem is built on faulty premises. Jeremiah 31 refers back to the Sinai covenant that was fully heard, declared, and ratified by blood. 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” (Ex.24:3). Additionally, “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” (Ex.24:4). He took “the Book of the Covenant” and read it. The people agreed to do all the Lord said (Ex.24:7). Blood was then sprinkled on the people and Moses said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words” (Ex.24:8). Jeremiah is referring back to THAT fully declared covenant. He said a “NEW” covenant was coming that would be unlike that fully declared covenant at Sinai. The Hebrews writer then comments that when Jeremiah spoke of a “new” covenant, it was a declaration that the first covenant was then getting old and ready to vanish away. Don comes along and argues several errors: 1) that Jeremiah could not be saying the old covenant was getting old because it was not all written yet. But, the truth is that Jeremiah is not at all concerned about later appendages. He is speaking of the fully delivered covenant that God made with Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. 2) that the word “new” could not be an admission that the first was then growing old and nigh unto vanishing away because “nigh” means very soon, not hundreds of years later. But the Hebrews writer says that saying “A new covenant” is itself a statement about the oldness of the Sinai covenant, and oldness implies readiness to vanish away (Heb.8:13). Don argues that it was not growing old at all when Jeremiah mentioned a “new” covenant coming. In fact, his argument is that it was not even fully born until Malachi wrote his final word. Then it was still new. Jeremiah is not taking about the old covenant with all the appendages accumulated until Malachi, but the covenant given at Sinai (that fully given one). By the time Jeremiah wrote and said a “new covenant” was coming that would be unlike that Sinai covenant, the Sinai covenant was then growing old and ready to vanish away. Regardless of what Don wants to make of the term “nigh”, we know exactly when the first covenant was “abolished” (Eph.2:14f). Thus, it had been old and “ready” to vanish away ever since there was a new covenant announced as coming. Now, regardless of what Don wants to make of “ready to vanish away”, he has already admitted that Jesus confirmed the New Covenant in His death. He further said that Israel’s sins could not be forgiven until the New Covenant was fully arrived and the old covenant had been removed. So, if Israel could be forgiven under the New Covenant (fully arrived or not), it would mean then that the old had vanished away. All we have to do is look and see when “remission of sins” was preached, and we will know when the old had vanished away and when the new was fully in place. Starting on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 Jews received “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38-40). That means, according to Don’s own argument, that the old covenant had vanished away. Remember he said remission of sins is “something that could never happen while the Old Covenant stood valid”. Thus, if Jews got “remission of sins” in Acts 2 and forward, then the old covenant was indeed removed and the new covenant established. So, Don helped to prove my case. Remission of sins began at Jerusalem starting on that first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit confirmed the word of the apostles, and remission of sins was actually experienced and fully enjoyed.
Sixthly, he argues from Rom.11 that the Jews would not receive remission of sins until the old covenant was removed at the destruction of Jerusalem. However, the context is not speaking of anything but the way the true Israel would be saved. It does not say they will be saved when the new covenant is fully revealed in AD 70. It is saying that all Israel will be saved in the same manner as the early remnant of Jews were saved from Pentecost forward and in the same way that Gentiles were saved by faith in the gospel of Christ. Jesus was the Deliverer come out of Zion and He would turn ungodliness from Jacob. Any who would yet be saved would be saved in the same manner as others already had been. Don takes this out of context and makes a different application than the context allows. Remission of sins was already offered and the new covenant that made that possible was already established, and because God has always wanted the Jews to turn from their sins to Christ and be forgiven, the point in Romans 11 is that that door would be open when any Jew was willing to be saved in like manner.
Additional Notes on Romans 11:25-27
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. NKJV
What does this passage say and mean? Paul asks in Romans 11:1 if God had cast off “his people” whom He had foreknown. Paul said “God forbid!”. The real Jew never was cast off. He was the physical kin of Abraham but he was a believer. Earlier, Paul said the real Jew is one inwardly (2:28f). Thus, to the unbelieving Jews Jesus said that they were of their father, the devil (Jno.8) and that if Abraham were their father, they would do the works of Abraham. So, God has never cast off real Jews, and Paul is a case in point. The believing Jew was never rejected and all of them would be saved. However, some would be late in coming around. Some never would, but those would be ones who were not true Israelites (children of believing Abraham). God does not acknowledge Jews in the flesh who do not carry the faith of Abraham. God had been pleading with the whole group of physical descendants through the gospel, stretching out His hands to a disobedient people. Paul’s prayer and concern for them is evident in his prayer that they might be saved (10:1,16-21). Foy Wallace asked, “If salvation will be offered to Israel before, at, or after the return of Christ, independent of the gospel which Paul preached to them—why such anxiety in Paul’s heart for them? If Paul knew that they all ultimately were to be saved and restored, regardless of the gospel…..how could he have felt such despairing anxiety for Israel’s salvation?”(God’s Prophetic Word, pg.149). Paul was afraid that many Jews were not just “hardened in part” but hardened to the point of no appeal and no turn of events being able to reach them. However, he seems to hold out hope that some that he could consider “Israel” were still reachable because they were only “hardened in part”.
Paul is saying that just as Gentiles, once unbelievers, were saved by the gospel, so too the part of unbelieving Jews that were only partially hardened could still be reached. Those partially hardened Jews are still considered Israel until they are fully hardened. They are the “all Israel” that would yet be saved. Thus, Gentiles were at one time disobedient but mercy still extended to them, so the mercy of God will also be held out for any Israelite in the flesh who wants to come into His mercy by the gospel after the Gentile “fullness” had time to make them jealous and come back in to faith. The reason God’s mercy will always be opened to them and all is because that is the nature of His mercy, and such mercy had long been expressed in the promise to send Jesus to turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Isa.59:20) and in His promise to “take away their sins” (Jer.31:31f). Both of those things came true in Jesus’ ministry, death, resurrection, and offer of the gospel (good news) of these things. On Pentecost, Jesus turned away ungodliness from 3,000 and growing, and all of them had their sins taken away (Acts 2:38-47). Some Jews “hardened in part”, but their hardness resulted in Gentile opportunity and salvation. Gentile “fullness” (so many enjoying the benefits of salvation in Jesus the Messiah) would work toward more exposure of the gospel to other Jews who had only hardened “in part”. These who were only hardened in part would/could yet be saved . As the “remnant” had been saved, so the partially hardened Israelite will come around when the fullness of the Gentile conversion experience softens that partial hardness to the point of their believing the gospel too.
Thus, I conclude that “Israel” does not include hardened unbelievers of physical descent from Abraham. They are not the “all Israel” that will be saved. Israel includes the “remnant” of the Jews who already accepted the gospel and had remission of sins, and the partially hardened Jews who would yet be softened and become jealously affected by so many Gentiles obeying the gospel. All Israel (true believers now and in the future) will be saved. All Israel (the remnant now and the partially hardened Jews that will yet turn) will be saved. They will be saved in this manner. They will be saved because God promised “the Deliverer”(Jesus) would “turn away ungodliness” from Jacob. That prophecy came true on Pentecost (Acts 2 ). They will be saved because God promised a covenant to “take away their sins”. That prophecy came true on Pentecost (Acts 2:38,40). Believing Jews were the true Israel from Pentecost onward. Hardened and partially hardened Jews were turned from, and this opened the door for believing Gentiles to be grafted in, and this move would build to a point that jealousy causes the partially hardened Jew to reconsider the gospel and “so all Israel (true Israelites in faith) will be saved in this manner.
I was baffled by Don’s arguments on this passage. He misused it to say that all Israel would be saved at the destruction of Jerusalem when Isa.59 and Jer.31:31f would be fulfilled. I could see no connection between Don’s arguments on the passage and the passage itself. He kept saying the quotation from the Old Testament in Isa.59 and Jer.31 using the future tense was proof that when Paul quoted it in Rom.11 it means it was still in the future, along with Paul’s statement that “all Israel WILL be saved”. Thus, he concludes that this passage supports his case that “obligation to keep the Law of Moses ended at the destruction of Jerusalem”, and the new covenant would then come into full force.
First, the passage does not argue that the Deliverer would come in the future (from Paul’s time, but was future from Isaiah and Jeremiah’s time) and turn away ungodliness from Jacob or Israel. This happened in Jesus’ first parousia.
26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” (almost a quote of Isa.59). Notice that the turning of Jacob from ungodliness was the mission of Jesus in the first coming. To this Paul agrees in his letter to Titus:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. NKJV Notice that Paul includes himself and his own race in what the grace that HAS APPEARED accomplished. This was the reason Jesus came into the world to start with.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” NKJV
Secondly, Jesus did mediate and establish the covenant of Jeremiah 31:31f and granted forgiveness of sins to Jews starting on the day of Pentecost. Remission of sins was preached in His name, and remission of sins was fully enjoyed. (Heb.9:15; 12:24; 8:6; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 10:43). Notice this next verse:
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” NKJV
Therefore, beyond all doubt, this blessing was enjoyed after the cross and long before the destruction of Jerusalem. The apostles witness to it and the Holy Spirit witnesses to it. Who is Don to deny that it was a present reality?
Since the gospel gives what the promised Jeremiad covenant was to give, we conclude that the gospel of Christ is the promised Jeremiad covenant. Further, since the gospel can never be removed or replaced, we conclude that there cannot be another covenant, in any proposed millennium, that will supercede or replace the gospel of Christ.
God kept His word. The New Covenant has been established by Christ through his death. –Unquote!
Now, when was the gospel (the Jeremiah 31:31 covenant) preached? In Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. Therefore, according to Don’s own words, the Jeremiad covenant came into force on the day of Pentecost and was established through Jesus’ death. Therefore, Paul is not promising that it WILL be established in another parousia. The point Paul was making is that these promises from Isaiah 59 and Jeremiah 31 do not close the door on sinful Israel but keeps the door open for such sinners being forgiven. So, while hardness was only in part in some Israelites, they would yet be saved, grafted back in, and be a part of the true Israel of God. ALL true Israelites will be saved. God’s covenant was about establishing a relationship with sinners for whom He would “take away their sins”.
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ because remission of sins was offered and experienced by Jews in Jesus’ name from Pentecost forward. All Jews could be saved “in this manner”.
Thus, my argument stands that obligation to the lesser mediator and covenant could not continue while obligation to the greater Mediator and Covenant was “established” and in place.
What did Don say THIS time?
He said, “That New Covenant began to be delivered (probated) on Pentecost….and fully revealed through the miraculous ministry”.
First, notice that Don says that the covenant began to be certified as valid (probated) so that he can say it went through forty years from merely “beginning to be probated” to actually being fully probated and ready to be carried out. Ladies and Gentlemen, if the blood of Christ did not probate the will or covenant, then we should find the early church waiting till it was fully probated to start carrying out any new covenant activities. The Lord’s supper, for example, should not have been observed until the covenant was fully probated. Don says that it took forty years to get it all probated so that it could then be executed. Believe it if you can!
Secondly, let us suppose that Don is right that it was probated piece-meal, a little at the time, and the part that was probated on the day of Pentecost was then in effect. How many of the Jews there assembled that day were “OBLIGATED” to that now probated portion of the new covenant? How many Jews were obligated to believe on the Lord? How many Jews were obligated to repent? How many Jews were obligated to stay with the law of Moses? How many Jews on the day of Pentecost were obligated to listen to the confirmed word of the apostles (“those who heard Him”-Heb.2:1-4)? How many Jews COULD AND SHOULD have received remission of sins THAT DAY? Check back and see if Don answers this.
THE OLD COVENANT ANNULLED
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. KJV
[For there is verily a disannulling] There is a total abrogation, proagousees entolees, of the former law, relative to the Levitical priesthood.
(From Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
A setting aside. The Law which existed before in regard to the priesthood becomes now abrogated in consequence of the change which has been made in the priesthood; see the note at Heb 7:12.
(from Barnes’ Notes)
Disannulling – a repealing.
Of the commandment – ordaining the Levitical priesthood. And, as the Levitical priesthood and the law are inseparable, a repealing of the law also (note, Heb 7:11).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
When did this annulling of the old commandment take place? It took place when Jesus became a priest after the order of Melchizedek and offered Himself as a sacrifice. As soon as the new priesthood took over, the Law of Moses was changed and annulled. This did not wait till AD 70. It happened at the cross of Jesus Christ. Therefore, once again I have proven the validity of my proposition. And, without controversy, while proving my own proposition to be true, we have also further demonstrated that Don’s proposition cannot be true.
But, there are many other critical passages that also add to the validity of my proposition.
What did Don say?
He said this annulling was in process as the new covenant was in process of being revealed.
First, the Hebrews writer is arguing that “there is an annulling” of the Levitical system already anticipated by God’s testimony of Psalm 110 regarding having a “priest forever” with the power of an “endless life” (Heb.7:16-18). There is an annulling of the old system anticipated by the prophecy of Psalm 110. When that priesthood is established, then the old Levitical Law will have been annulled. But, the priesthood and new covenant “was established”. Therefore, the old system and commandment was annulled. The priest “has come” (7:16). The process of annulling had finally come. Don has some serious problems with these points.
Secondly, the New Testament and “forever priesthood” were established. Therefore, all were obligated to “die to the Law” and God was obligating no one to stay under the old, annulled covenant.
Therefore, Don did not answer this argument either. If the new priesthood, predicted in Psalm 110, was “established” (notice that past tense Don) and “confirmed” (notice that past tense again Don), then the old covenant has been annulled and “abolished” (Eph.2:14f) and “taken out of the way and nailed to the cross” (Col.2:14f). No one was obligated to continue the annulled Law and priesthood. All were obligated to hear and obey the new mediator, prophet, priest, and king. Don’s argument that this covenant and priesthood was not yet “perfected and complete” is false. The whole argument of Hebrews is that the whole old system was imperfect and that the new system provided in Christ was “established” (8:6), “unchangeable” (7:25), written on hearts and fully confirmed (2:1-4), and established by Jesus’ blood as perfect. It had been fully established and ratified by the precious blood of Christ. It was “once for all” delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The fact that it had not been written on paper for preservation does not mean that the covenant was not complete already.
When Don argues that the new covenant was not complete until it was all written on paper, just remember that the prophecy of Jeremiah was that it would be written on hearts. Remember that Paul said that the “whole counsel” of God had been declared. Remember that it was first “spoken by the Lord” and “confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Heb.2:1-4). The Law was “abolished” in Jesus’ flesh and nailed to the cross (Eph.2:14f; Col.2:14f) and “annulled” when the new “forever priesthood” was installed and established. Brethren were “complete” in Christ (Heb.13:20, 21; Col.1:28; 2:10). The annulling of that inferior system was anticipated in the prophetic word, and made more sure by the establishment of the new mediator and priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Thus, once again, this scripture and evidence of my proposition remains untouched. It still stands rock-solid in support of my proposition. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the establishment of the new priesthood of Christ “annulled” the old command for the Levitical priesthood.
What did Don say THIS time?
Don made no response. His only response has been that in essence the old covenant was going through a 40 year annulling process while the new covenant was going through a 40 year probating process.
Remember that Psalm 110 predicted a priest after the order of Melchizedek, which implies that there would be an annulling of the former command to install Levitical priests. Don admits that Jesus became priest which made all Jews obligated to Him. But, if Jesus was installed as priest, then the former command for the Levitical priesthood was “annulled”. There was no longer any OBLIGATION to install, recognize, or support the inferior priesthood when the greater priesthood was installed. Hebrews 7:18 is devastating to Don’s position, and that is why he has avoided it like the plague. He may say something now that I will have no chance to reply, but the reader will remember that I presented each of these arguments in all three of my affirmatives. If he answers now, it will be because he knows I have no chance to respond. He did try to make it a present tense matter from the perspective of the Hebrews writer, but you just look at it closely and realize that the Hebrews writer is arguing from the standpoint of the Psalm 110 prediction. The prediction of a new priesthood was put into play because of the weakness of the Levitical system, and the prediction anticipated that there is an annulling of the former commandment (the command associated with the Levitical priesthood). The installment of the new priesthood annuls the former and “establishes” the new. Be very careful to watch for the way Don handles these passages.
THE BETTER TESTAMENT ESTABLISHED
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. KJV
This testament came into effect when Jesus died (Hebrews 9:15-17). So, when the better testament came into effect, obligation to the older, weaker, and annulled testament with its Levitical priesthood, ceased to hold people under obligation to it. When the better testament came into effect at Jesus’ death, obligation to the New Testament began, and obligation to the Old Testament ceased. Thus, we have further demonstrated the validity of the proposition. In order for Don to answer this, he will have to show that the better testament was not in effect until AD 70.
What did Don say?
He said again that it was “initiated” but not completely established.
The Hebrews writer, based on Jeremiah’s prophecy, was saying that all that was necessary was that this covenant be “written on their hearts” and that it was “established” and was ratified by His blood. Don’s argument is that it cannot be established or ratified until it is completely written on paper. There is no scriptural basis for that argument. The Hebrews writer says it “was established”. Don says it will be established only after it is all written on paper by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. We do not deny the need to preserve the new covenant in written form for future generations in order to also have it written on their hearts, but the point is that it was fully “established” and written where God promised to write it long before it was preserved on paper and long before the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, once again, Don has not even touched the argument based on this scripture. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the Law of Moses could not continue when the new and BETTER covenant WAS ESTABLISHED.
What did Don say THIS time?
He said that it was not his position that it had to be put on paper and that I had misrepresented him on that.
The written material is the only thing that progressed during that 40 year period. However, the word spoken by the Lord and confirmed to us by those who heard Him was early in operation, “was established”(Heb.8:6; 9:15f), and was written on hearts as Jeremiah predicted early on. What was heard “at the beginning” became the measure of all teaching as to whether to believe it or reject it. The written version accumulated over time to preserve and enhance and defend the already established new covenant. Don is now admitting that it did not have to be written on paper to be established and confirmed. If the new covenant was established by Jesus’ blood then the old was annulled when the new was established.
Surety of a Better Covenant
Surety, [enguos] – ensuring in His own person the certainty of the covenant to us, by becoming responsible for our guilt, by sealing the covenant with His blood, and by being openly acknowledged as our triumphant Saviour by the Father, who raised Him from the dead. Thus he is at once God’s surety for man and man’s surety for God: so Mediator between God and man (Heb 8:6).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
Jesus is surety, because He is eternal, not temporal and earthly, was promised with an oath of God to be a forever priest. Fully backed by God’s oath, we have a permanent High Priest. This gives surety that this New Covenant that came into effect by His death is a much better covenant to be under. Thus, when He came, lived His perfect life, died, and arose again, he became the guarantee that this New Covenant would be much better than the old. He is also the surety that it is safe to “die to the Law”. It is a misuse of this verse to say that He is a surety that the New Testament WILL BE BETTER in AD 70. Jesus was the surety that the covenant He established was far greater than the one annulled.
THE UNCHANGEABLE PRIESTHOOD ESTABLISHED
24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. KJV
If the priesthood of Jesus began at any time before AD 70, and the above statement shows that He “HAS” an unchangeable priesthood, then the law and its obligations ceased at whatever time the new priesthood of Christ became effectively honored by God and man as a valid priesthood.
What did Don say?
NOT A WORD!
The Hebrews writer acknowledges the priesthood of Jesus as superior and that it “has” (get that tense again Don) been established. He (Jesus) HAS an UNCHANGEABLE priesthood because it is the “forever” kind prophesied in Psalm 110. But, we could not have that priesthood in place without first changing the Law. To have the new priesthood in place means that the Law has been changed. One could not happen without the other. The change and annulling of the old was anticipated by prophecy. It was changed and annulled when we have an unchangeable, forever kind of priesthood in place. Jesus was not in process of being established as unchangeable priest. He HAS an unchangeable priesthood and new covenant fully “established”. It would not be established when it was all written out on paper, or when the temple was destroyed. It was established by means of Jesus’ death. It was already established and bringing benefits of salvation long before the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, my proposition stands untouched. Don is going to have to do better than he did on that first negative. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because Jesus HAS an unchangeable priesthood in place at that point.
What did Don say THIS time?
His only response has been that Jesus could not be priest on earth, so He entered another realm where the Law could not apply to Him. In that heavenly realm He could be priest of another order while the Levitical priesthood continued its earthly obligations before God.
The Hebrews writer is arguing that the new Melchizedek priesthood necessitates a CHANGE OF THE LAW, not a change of jurisdiction of the Law. Not a change of where people could hide from the Law, or where people could claim immunity from the LAW, but a CHANGE OF THE LAW itself. The fact that Jesus’ unchanging priesthood was established and in operation means that all obligation belongs to Him.
THE GREATER MINISTER OF THE GREATER SANCTUARY ESTABLISHED
8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. KJV
This verse shows that the new High Priest, Jesus, is now operating in the true tabernacle. When He set Himself on the right hand of the throne, He was King and Priest. Obligation to the Law of Moses ceased, and obligation to the new King and Priest, Jesus Christ began. This began long before AD 70. Therefore, the evidence shows that my proposition is correct and Don’s proposition is incorrect or false.
What did Don say?
He said the “New Temple was being built” (Eph.2:19 – 4:16; 1 Pet.2:5).
Please make note of the tenses above that we HAVE (not will have) such a High Priest. He IS SET (not will be set), and that His tabernacle has been PITCHED (not will be pitched).
First, the Hebrews writer is arguing that the “true tabernacle” has been “erected” (past tense) via Hebrews 8:1-2. Thus, since the minister and true tabernacle are in place, then the old has been changed and annulled. No one is obligated to the old. All are obligated to the new and better.
Secondly, Don implies that the true tabernacle would be erected or pitched after the destruction of Jerusalem. We “have” (present tense) a High Priest in Jesus. He was a minister of an already “pitched” tabernacle long before AD 70. Therefore my point still stands, and Don still has not touched it.
Thirdly, as long as souls are being “added” to the church, it will be a church that is “being built” with new souls added all the time. But, there was nothing in AD 70 that made it “pitched” or “established”. This all happened long before AD 70. In order for Don’s argument to have any merit at all, he will have to contend that souls were not being added to the church after AD 70. Watch and see if he will touch this issue.
Fourthly, since this new tabernacle has been erected, all men are required to “die to the Law” that condemns and to enter Jesus’ new and living way. None are obligated to keep the inferior system and thereby “neglect so great salvation”. None are led by the Spirit of God to remain under the Law. Therefore, all who kept themselves under the Law were NOT doing what the SPIRIT was leading and obligating them to do. Remember the propositions.
Fifthly, Don’s argument means that in AD 70 the temple can cease “being built” and the old covenant can THEN be fully annulled and the new covenant fully established. Can anyone not see the serious flaws in Don’s reasoning? Since his argument is that the old was not fully annulled until the destruction of Jerusalem, then his argument here has to be that the tabernacle of Jesus was then “fully built, complete, and established” and no more additions can take place because that would put it back in the “being built” mode, and that would then put the old covenant back into play. When we think through the consequences of Don’s arguments it becomes increasingly clear that his string of scripture arguments are a string of misconstrued and contextually misapplied scriptures.
My argument that Jesus was already a minister of the true tabernacle that was already erected is based on very clear scriptures. The reader can see the difference between the clarity of the scriptures I have used, and the vagueness of the scriptures Don has used. You have to decide if the new covenant was in place and the new tabernacle pitched before the destruction of Jerusalem. If it was, then at that point there was no one who was obligated to the shadows and copies of the earthly services when the heavenly realities were in place and calling for all men to “die to the Law”. Don is saying, without any proof, that God was still obligating some people to keep the shadows. This is unbelievable and very unfortunate.
What did Don say THIS time?
He said that the tabernacle of Christ was not fully built and as long as it was in development, the old covenant was still binding.
Again, how many Jews could and should have entered Jesus’ spiritual temple on the day of Pentecost? No matter how much revelation and building would go on, how many Jews on the day of Pentecost remained obligated to the Law of Moses instead of Jesus Christ? How many were obligated to hear and heed the apostles? Was the spiritual tabernacle pitched on that day? If it was, then who was obligated by Moses in Deut.18:15, the miracles and empty tomb of Jesus and the miraculous confirmation of the apostle’s doctrine to enter that greater spiritual tabernacle? The answer is every one was obligated to Jesus, and none were obligated to continue with the annulled priesthood or covenant.
THE BETTER COVENANT ESTABLISHED
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. KJV
This passage shows that the new and better covenant WAS established, and that before AD 70. The old and inferior covenant, the Law of Moses, was changed, annulled, and replaced with the better covenant. This new covenant was in effect after Jesus died on the cross (9:15-17). Obligation to the old covenant ceased at the cross, and obligation to the new law and new lawgiver began at the cross. Thus, we have added further evidence that my proposition is true, and the proposition of my retractor is incorrect or false.
What did Don say?
Again, all he said was it was merely “initiated” but not fully delivered.
First, you cannot “establish” a covenant that has not been fully delivered. This better covenant “was established”. Therefore, it was fully delivered. It is called elsewhere “the faith once for all delivered” (Jude 3). It is described as “the gospel…delivered” (1 Cor.15:1-2). It is described as “first spoken by the Lord” and “confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Heb.2:1-4). It is described as “written on the heart” (Jer.31; Heb.8). Thus, once it was written on the heart, confirmed, and sealed by Jesus’ blood, then it was fully established, ratified, and fully binding upon all.
Secondly, the better covenant WAS ESTABLISHED (not “will be “ established at the destruction of Jerusalem). Next time Don chides me on TENSES, just remember that he is acting very hypocritical. He misuses the context of those verses he tries to hammer me with while totally ignoring the many tenses that clearly and contextually obliterate his own proposition. Just remember, the New Covenant WAS ESTABLISHED and was written on hearts and ratified by Jesus’ blood long before the destruction of Jerusalem. My first affirmative still stands untouched by Don’s first negative. He cannot pervert the word and get people to put “initiated” in the place of “established”, except for those who may have already swallowed his earlier misuse of scriptures. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the new covenant “was established” by means of the cross.
What did Don say THIS time?
Not a word!
THE TIME OF REFORMATION ESTABLISHED
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. KJV
The imposition of the law that obligated people to certain meats and drinks, and divers washings and carnal ordinances was changed at the time of reformation. At the time of reformation people would no longer be imposed upon by those obligations. But, the time of reformation was when we got a new King and Priest in Jesus Christ. But, Jesus became a King and Priest in His death, resurrection and ascension to the throne. This was long before AD 70. Therefore, the law and all its’ impositions ended when Jesus brought in the time of reformation, and that was when He became King and Priest, 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thus, once again, we have demonstrated the biblical soundness of the proposition, and we have proven that Don Preston signed a proposition that is not sustainable.
What did Don say?
He went back to his argument about men entering the MHP (most holy place). He argued that the time of reformation would not take place till “the wrath of God, contained in the seven bowls was completed.” He based this argument on Revelation 15.
First, Revelation says nothing about man entering the MHP after the wrath of God is complete. It merely indicates that there was no entrance into the temple (holy place or most holy place) for the duration of these plagues. However, people were entering the spiritual temple spoken of here from Pentecost (Acts 2) onward with the exception of this pause. We can see this even in the book of Revelation itself. (See 7:15; 11:1). Don would switch “temple” for “Most Holy Place” and make us think that here is the time that people could enter the MHP. I’m amazed at how far Don is willing to go to try to make his theory appear to work.
Secondly, I have not said, as Don continuously accuses me, that there is not a sense in which the dead in CHRIST go to be with Christ in the MHP. All of his misrepresentations of me are just fabrications to make it appear that he is answering me and exposing severe holes in my arguments. When Don says such things as “Terry says that man still is not today in the Presence of God, and does not enter the MHP when he dies!,” just go back and check up on Don. Find where Terry says what Don says I said. Keep checking up on Don. He will sound legitimate as long as you do not check behind him on what he says I said or say, or as long as you do not check behind him to see if he is assuming some things into a text of scripture.
Thirdly, the time of reformation is when the law is changed so that the “forever priest” of Psalm 110 can be put in place and the carnal, earthly copies of heavenly things can be replaced with the heavenly things.
HIGH PRIEST OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME – Heb.9:11
Don takes this expression as proof of his phase-in theory (the Priesthood being phased in and then installed completely after the destruction of Jerusalem).
However, the context is looking at things from the standpoint of time when the tabernacle was still standing. From that vantage point the tabernacle structure, furnishings, and carnal ordinances were imposed with a view to representing on earth the heavenly, better things to come. Psalm 110 and Zechariah 6, along with the typology of the earthly tabernacle, were promising better things to come (better than those carnal things themselves could offer). Jesus came as High Priest of the good things to come. That is, He came to give us those things foreshadowed by the earthly tabernacle and ministry. What were some “good things to come” that were foreshadowed by the earthly tabernacle? “The greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands” is among “the good things to come” and symbolized by the imposed earthly services in the tabernacle made by hands. Christ coming as High Priest was one of the main “good things to come” symbolized by the old system of the Aaronic High Priesthood. His own blood entering the real Most Holy Place was the “good thing to come” symbolized by the animal blood and earthly priest entering the earthly tabernacle. This is the CONTEXTUAL point of this passage. It is in no way saying or implying that Christians of those first several decades had to wait for good things to come when Jesus’ priesthood is finally phased in (per Don’s argument). Eternal redemption was already “obtained” (9:12) for us long before the destruction of Jerusalem. That was obtained by our Great High Priest who was long anticipated by the old system as a then “good thing to come”.
Since we have now obtained the Great High Priest, eternal redemption, a better conscience-purging system (9:14), a better Mediator, a greater and more perfect tabernacle, and a better covenant prophesied by Jeremiah, then we have moved from the imposed symbolism of the “good things” anticipated, to the good things realized. We have therefore entered the “time of reformation” when the shadows would no longer be needed, serve any further useful purpose, or be any further ‘imposed”. Why impose the inferior when the better has arrived? We have now, long before the destruction of Jerusalem, a new priest, new tabernacle, new covenant, new and living way. All of these were anticipated by the former types, shadows and prophecies of the old “imposed” system. But, after the faith has come, “we are no longer under the tutor, the Law”. All of these things including “great salvation” were in place long before AD 70. These began at the cross and were in place 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, the evidence clearly supports my proposition.
THE LAW, HAVING A SHADOW OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME – Heb.10:1
Don also used this verse out of context as part of his phase-in theory. However, it is not saying that the “good things to come” are future to the writing of Hebrews, but were “good things to come” from the standpoint of what “shadows” of the Law anticipate by virtue of being a “shadow” rather than the substance (the good thing to come).
We have demonstrated again that Don’s theory is supported by misused present tense expressions, and that he has labored to support his theory by ignoring the context, by ignoring other tenses in the context that devastate his theory, and by avoiding answering points in the context. This is not a good approach if one would establish credibility. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ –because the time of reformation began when a new covenant and new priesthood WAS ESTABLISHED.
What did Don say THIS time?
He argued again that Revelation 15 shows that no one ever entered the MHP until after the seven bowls of wrath were poured out.
First, Don hopes we will swallow his assertion that “temple” (naos-greek) was the MHP because John saw the ark of the covenant in the naos (temple). Well naos is the general term for the holy and most holy place. Don argued that there is a naos versus heiron distinction that validates his contention that “temple” in Revelation 15 is the MHP. His naos argument is faulty because it (naos) does not refer exclusively to the MHP.
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple (naos) , and departed, and went and hanged himself. Matt 27:5 KJV. Did Judas throw the money down in the MHP?
According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple (naos) of the Lord. Luke 1:9 KJV Did Zachariah burn incense in the MHP? He was not a High Priest. Did he go into the MHP? The point is that these verses use the word “naos”. Don knows it does not exclusively refer to the MHP, but he has built a doctrine around entering the MHP when we die and it serves his interests to make Revelation 15 a proof text that no one could enter the MHP until the destruction of Jerusalem. In Revelation 11:1 there were those who worshiped God at the naos. The church is metaphorically called the naos.
d) in apostolic teaching, metaphorically, (1) of the church, the mystical body of Christ, Eph 2:21; (2) of a local church, 1 Cor 3:16,17; 2 Cor 6:16; (3) of the present body of the individual believer, 1 Cor 6:19; (4) of the “Temple” seen in visions in the Apocalypse, 3:12; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15,17; 15:5,6,8; 16:1,17; (5) of the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb, as the “Temple” of the new and heavenly Jerusalem, Rev 21:22.
(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
The point is that if the church is the naos, and Don’s argument is that the naos is the MHP, then it follows that the church had been part of the MHP long before the seven bowls of wrath in Rev.15, and the vision would only show a PAUSE of entrance into the naos that would allow entrance AGAIN after the seven bowls of wrath were complete. If there was entrance going on before the bowls of wrath, then it destroys Don’s whole line of argument. He has built his whole doctrine around the premise that entrance into the MHP was not opened until the destruction of Jerusalem. Now, by arguing that the word naos in Rev.15 proves his case about when entrance was first granted into the MHP, he has backed himself into a corner. Naos refers to the temple and the church is the naos, with God in us and we in God. Eph 2:21-22- in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple (naos) in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. NKJV – Therefore, entrance into the naos started back on Pentecost (Acts 2). The Hebrews writer said now “we have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus”. The way in is a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh and because we have Jesus as our High Priest over the house of God, lest “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”(Heb.10:19-22). This is devastating to Don’s whole argument because it shows that people could boldly enter the Holiest long before the destruction of Jerusalem, and it shows that they could enter even while they lived and because they had Jesus as High Priest over the house they were in and we are in.
[Boldness to enter] Parreesian eis teen eisodon. Liberty, full access to the entrance of the holy place, toon hagioon. “This is an allusion to the case of the high priest going into the holy of holies. He went with fear and trembling, because, if he had neglected the smallest item prescribed by the law, he could expect nothing but death. Genuine believers can come even to the throne of God with confidence, as they carry into the divine presence the infinitely meritorious blood of the great atonement; and, being justified through that blood, they have a right to all the blessings of the eternal kingdom.
(from Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
[Boldness to enter into the holiest] Margin, “liberty.” The word rendered “boldness” – parreesian – properly means “boldness of speech,” or freedom where one speaks all that he thinks (notes, Acts 4:13); and then it means boldness in general, license, authority, pardon. Here the idea is, that before Christ died and entered into heaven, there was no such access to the throne of grace as man needed. Man had no offering which he could bring that would make him acceptable to God. But now the way was open. Access was free for all, and all might come with the utmost freedom. The word “holiest” here is taken from the holy of holies in the temple (notes on Heb 9:3), and is there applied to heaven, of which that was the emblem. The entrance into the most holy place was forbidden to all but the high priest; but now access to the real “holy of holies” was granted to all in the name of the great High Priest of the Christian profession.
[By the blood of Jesus] The blood of Jesus is the means by which this access to heaven is procured. The Jewish high priest entered the holy of holies with the blood of bullocks and of rams (notes Heb 9:7); but the Saviour offered his own blood, and that became the means by which we may have access to God.
(from Barnes’ Notes)
Just remember that when Don asks if we go directly to the MHP (heaven) when we die, we avoid his eschatological surmising by simply saying that we go there now while we are alive in Christ. In fact, we can now come boldly to the throne of grace (Heb.4:16) and now enter and draw near (Heb.10:19-22). People have been doing this ever since the day of Pentecost, and none had to wait till the destruction of Jerusalem. Don’s theories are based on one assumption attached to a misused verse after another.
THE NEW TESTAMENT ESTABLISHED
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. KJV
The writer of Hebrews pinpoints the time of the New Testament. It was in effect after Jesus died. It was in effect forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thus, my proposition is in agreement with this passage too. How can any man say that God was holding people obligated to the old covenant and not the new covenant for the 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem? Yet, Don K. Preston is affirming that God was obligating people to obey Moses even though the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah was established in Jesus’ death. He is also denying my proposition that says that obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross. Thus, he is taking the position that God was obligating some Jews to both Jesus and Moses at the same time. Remember that he tells the millenialists that this cannot happen, yet he says it did happen for 40 years.
What did Don say?
Again, all he said was that it was merely “initiated” but not fully delivered when Hebrews was written.
First, as we have seen numerous times before, the new covenant WAS “first spoke by the Lord and confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (2:1-4), and it “was established” and it was “written on hearts” early enough for all to look back to the beginning when the “whole counsel” was fully delivered and it was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). All that was written on paper later was merely written expressions of the truth already written in hearts and delivered orally. Thus, our point stands. The New Testament was established and all Jews were obligated to not “neglect so great salvation”. No Jew was allowed to neglect or ignore it. No Jew was obligated to the old, annulled covenant instead. No Jew was “led by the Spirit” to stay under the Law. All Jews were obligated to believe and obey Jesus, the Messiah and “die to the Law” and to recognize that it was “abolished in His flesh” and “nailed to the cross”. All Jews who rejected the new covenant were “resisting the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51-53) and were worthy of worse punishment than those who had rejected Moses’ Law (Heb.10:28-29).
The order for the old covenant “establishment” was this:
First, Moses had spoken every precept to all the people – Heb.9:19
Secondly, the covenant was sprinkled with blood and ratified.
Please make note that Jeremiah referred back to that fully revealed and fully ratified covenant given at Sinai. Therefore, Don’s argument that more old testament was still being written when Jeremiah wrote, is not a valid argument. Jeremiah predicted a better covenant that would not be like the fully delivered SINAI covenant. The Hebrews writer comments that God made that Sinai covenant old and ready to vanish away whenever He used the word “new” in reference to a needed and better covenant ahead. Regardless of later appendages to that Sinai covenant, that Sinai covenant was fully revealed at Sinai and was fully blood-ratified by animal blood. The nature of that covenant was temporal and sustained by temporal means, with temporal props.
Now, the second, better covenant “was established” and ratified by the precious blood of Christ. Its nature was that it would be “written on the heart” and not on tables of stone. Therefore, it was NOT waiting to be fully delivered in AD 70. The written-on-paper version would accumulate to give us a preserved form of the spoken new covenant, but the new covenant was spoken by the Lord and confirmed long before AD 70. Thus, again, the careful reader can see that Don propped his own argument up with a faulty argument, and therefore did not answer the fact that the greater covenant was fully established long before AD 70. My argument still stands, and my proposition is still sustained.
Secondly, it seems that Don thinks the expression “seal up vision and prophecy” in Daniel 9 just counters all of these clear expressions found in Hebrews and positively proved that the old covenant could only end at the destruction of Jerusalem. But, again the context of the expression pertains to all that Jesus the Messiah was going to accomplish. All the blessings visualized, dreamed about, and anticipated, including especially the blessing of Gen.12:1-4 for all nations will have come to fruition in Jesus, and those visions and prophecies will have reached their conclusion in the Messiah. Sealing up vision and prophecy does not argue that the Old Testament would remain in effect until Jerusalem was destroyed. The context does not demand or allow the phase-in theory of Don, nor the phasing out of the old. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because a testament is of force after men are dead, and Jesus DIED to establish the New Testament.
THE BETTER SACRIFICE ESTABLISHED
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now (not later –TWB) to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. NKJV
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because a better sacrifice made in Jesus requires obligation and indebtedness to Jesus. The copies that Moses, the old covenant, and the old priesthood and sacrifices employed, cannot be “obligations” when the TRUE and BETTER has come to replace the copies with SUBSTANCE. To say that the copies remained as “obligations” even while the TRUE and SUBSTANCE was in place is to say that which no verse says or implies, and AGAINST all evidence. It calls upon us to believe that either: 1) obligation was to Moses instead of Jesus, or 2) obligation was to both Jesus and Moses at the same time, or 3) obligation was to Jesus the Greater and possessor of “all authority”. The copies of the heavenly things were annulled when Jesus changed the law and priesthood and went into HEAVEN ITSELF. The copies were replaced by the real thing by Christ.
What did Don say?
He said it was not “consummated” until AD 70.
Amazingly, Don has argued that Jesus “has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”(Heb.9:26), but did not actually accomplish giving us “remission of sins” until He could come back out of the MHP and thereby “consummate” or finish what He intended. So, people were waiting for 40 years after the death and resurrection for the remission of sins to be preached as a reality. Can you believe that Don is affirming this position? Is this the position espoused by GOSPEL preachers of the first century? Don is not in a good position. He is telling us that no one had “eternal redemption” (9:12), a “purged conscience” (9:14), “sins actually put away” (9:26), been “perfected forever” or “sanctified” (10:14), “hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (10:22), or had the experience of “the blood of the covenant by which he WAS sanctified” (10:29), until AD 70. He is saying that none of these things could really be experienced and enjoyed until AD 70 when Jesus supposedly “consummated” the offering by “coming back out of the Most Holy Place”. This is critical, and I am amazed that a gospel preacher is being supported to preach such a thing. He has been drinking too long at denominational fountains. If you, dear reader, are convinced that the Bible teaches that the blood of the covenant DID in fact sanctify and sprinkle from an evil conscience and provide actual remission of sins immediately after His death on the cross, then you KNOW that Don’s position cannot be right. He says, in essence, that the better sacrifice of Jesus was not able to do any of these things until He supposedly “came back out of the MHP” in AD 70. If you think Don answered my affirmative and my appeal to the established sacrifice of Jesus via Heb.9:23-27, with this argument on “consummation” and “coming back out of the MHP”, then I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona that I will be willing to sell you real cheap. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ –because a BETTER SACRIFICE had been established then.
What did Don say THIS time?
Not a word, and who can blame him when his whole position undermines the validity of the blood of Jesus Christ for forty years? His whole doctrine is built around a “consummation” theory of Jesus having to “come back out of the MHP” before His sacrifice can benefit us. Thus, you have seen what blindness comes with this AD 70 doctrine. It is a position that turns the first forty years after Jesus’ death upside-down. It turns the teaching of the New Testament on end and changes every verse it touches. Nothing is clear any more. There is a fitting description that would still apply to doctrines like this. It is like a cancer. It consumes until it destroys every major doctrine of the New Testament.
2 Tim 2:17-18
And their message will spread like cancer . Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. NKJV
THE BETTER MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION ESTABLISHED
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified (not will be-TWB) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. KJV
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross when Jesus came to do God’s will and thereby take away the first will or covenant that he may establish the second. We make note here that taking away the first was essential to establishing the second. The offering of the body of Jesus took place forty years before AD 70. That offering of the body presented the New Testament period of reformation and ended that first covenant, the Law of Moses. It was taken away, and in the words of Paul to the Romans, “we have become dead to the Law”. We are (presently and before AD 70) sanctified, the writer says. The offering of Jesus’ body provided a new and living way. When this means of sanctification became available, then the old means of sanctification according to the Law of Moses ceased to hold us to any obligation of said law. When sanctification through Jesus’ offering became available, then we became obligated to Jesus, and no longer obligated to Moses. The passage before us affirms that the sacrifices and offerings were not adequate and that God had planned to take those away that He may establish the body by which the adequate offering could be performed. The first system was “taken away” so that the second system of sanctification through the offering of the body of Jesus could be established. That second way was established by Jesus’ offering, and that was long before the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, we have proven by the scriptures that my proposition is true and Don’s previous proposition is further proven to be false.
What did Don say?
He said it was “initiated” but not fully delivered and established. He says the text says, “He is (present tense) taking away the first that he might (subjunctive) establish the second.”
First, Don is very careless with the context of these present tenses again. I encourage the reader to look carefully at the context of the present tense here. Is the writer arguing that Jesus is in the process of taking away the first means of sanctification under the old covenant, so that He can establish the second means of sanctification in AD 70 when the new covenant can fully come into effect? Absolutely not! Again, the Hebrews writer is arguing from the standpoint of the Old Testament scripture that admitted that God was not satisfied with the sacrifices and offerings under the Law, and so He was going to prepare a body in which His will would be carried out. From that moment that David wrote Psalm 40, the implication THEN was that “He is taking away the first that He might establish the second”. But catch this, after the body was prepared and offered, we can NOW (long before AD 70) say, “By THAT will we HAVE BEEN (not “will be) sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb.10:10). Thus, from David’s standpoint, the first will for sanctification through burnt offerings and sin offerings according to the Law of Moses was something he could say then that God “is taking away”, and now that Jesus DID God’s will in the body prepared for Him, the Hebrews writer can then follow up that predicted theme to say that what was once only in purpose and plan is now the accomplished will by which will “we have been sanctified”. Don needs to pay attention to that PAST TENSE, and to also be more careful with the CONTEXT of the present tenses.
The first way of sanctification was something God had been purposing to take away. When David wrote Psalm 40, he could say God “is taking away” this means so that He may establish the second. Therefore, the first, the Mosaical way, was taken away. We “have been” sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, and thus the second will for sanctification purposes was fully established. People did not have to wait till AD 70 to become sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus. The second was established. Therefore the first had been taken away in order to establish the second. Don is seriously mistaken. We hope he will repent and acknowledge this serious mistake. But, if he does not, then the reader will see the contextual misuse he made of this present tense and will know that he did not answer this evidence for this proposition. They will know that my proposition was adequately sustained by the evidence. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the second will for sanctification was established.
What did Don say THIS time?
Not a word. Now, because he made no response and I have no more opportunity to cross-examine his response, he will probably come back in his final negative to talk about some of these things. Please come back to this material and see if he sidestepped the issues again.
THE HANDWRITING OF REQUIREMENTS TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. NKJV
The handwriting of requirements is a reference to that Law of Moses that imposed food and drink laws, festivals, new moons and Sabbaths. That law could not be used as a basis for judging others at the time Paul wrote Colossians. This was several years before AD 70. Paul said that law was “nailed to the cross”. Now we know beyond all shadow of doubt that “obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross”. Thus, I have proven the validity of my proposition, and have shown that Don’s proposition cannot be right.
What did Don Say?
He admitted it was taken out of the way for Christians at the cross, but that it was not taken out of the way until AD 70 for unbelieving Jews. Thus, his contention is that the Law began to undergo a process of phasing out. He thinks Col.2:17 confirms this.
First, let us observe the TENSES again that Don ignores. A) “He HAS TAKEN IT (the handwriting of requirements) OUT OF THE WAY”. What tense is that Don? B) HAVING NAILED it to the cross (Col.2:14). What tense is that Don?
Secondly, let us look at the present tense of Col.2:17 for a moment. Don has argued that Paul said the food, drink, festivals, new moons and Sabbaths ARE (present tense) a shadow of things to come, that this present tense proves that God was still “obligating” the Jews to keep those shadows. This is a mistaken use of the context, again. The shadow anticipated “things to come” which was a “substance” that cast the shadow. The substance is the “good things to come” anticipated by the shadows. Unbelieving Jews were still ignorantly practicing the shadows in ignorant anticipation of “things to come”, not knowing that the substance had come in the person and work of Christ. There is another crucial present tense that follows: “The substance IS (present tense) of Christ”. The people judging Christians in regard to the Law were simply ignorant that the substance had arrived to take priority over the shadows, to make people “complete in Him” (Col.2:10), and to “take away the first that He may establish the second”. The first is “taken out of the way” and nailed to the cross”. No one is obligated to the first that was composed of shadows of good things to come, when the good thing anticipated had arrived in substance. All are obligated to the substance. Unbelief is not excusable, and keeping the shadows was not an obligation. Believing in Jesus, the substance is the obligation of all. Ignoring Jesus and keeping the Law is NOT the obligation of God upon the Jews.
Thirdly, W. E. Vine comments on this text as follows:
2:17 which are a shadow of the things to come;—the “which” refers to the five details just mentioned. They are typical, giving a certain representation, but, as a shadow they have no independent existence; in themselves they are futile to accomplish what the mind of God purposed by them. They are useful in indicating something represented by them. The things to come are not things future to the present period; they are regarded as future from the time when they were appointed, future from the standpoint of the Law.
but the body is Christ’s.—the word sōma, body, here signifies the substance, the reality. The shadow was appointed through Moses, and, so to speak, belonged to him. The substance has to do with Christ, centers in Him, and thus belongs to Him. He is the great object of all that the types and shadows set forth. As to meat and drink Christ said, “I am the living bread,” and “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.”
As to the feasts, the Passover typified Christ’s expiatory sacrifice; the feast of unleavened bread pointed to the purity and sincerity which the believer experiences by reason of His relation to, and fellowship with, Christ: the feast of the ingathering of the firstfruits typified Christ as “the Firstfruits of them that have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). His resurrection is the guarantee of theirs. THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF W.E.VINE – Unquote!
Another scholarly work comments:
Paul characterizes these rules and the beliefs which they are based on as a mere shadow of things in the future, that is, they are unreal, they are not valid. What is meant by “what is to come” (RSV)? JB NEB TNT NIV translate “what was to come” (see Beare, Moule) which may better represent the idea, since the reality has already come in Christ. So the translation may be “They are only a shadow of things to come ” or “They are only a shadow of what was to come.” For a similar distinction between Jewish Law and the Gospel see Heb 8:5; 10:1.
The phrase all such things must often be translated as “such rules,” or “such observances,” or even “obeying such rules.”
The concept of a shadow of things in the future may be extremely difficult to comprehend in some languages, for it may be difficult to imagine the future casting a shadow. In certain instances, however, one may speak of “a reflection” or even of “a mirror reflection.” Therefore a shadow of things in the future may be expressed as “a mirror reflection of what will happen in the future.” If, however, one assumes that the reference is to the past as something which has already occurred in the incarnation, then one may speak of “a reflection of what was to happen,” and if necessary, as “a reflection of what was to happen and which did happen.” Otherwise, the expression might be interpreted to mean that the purpose implied in such rules was actually voided.
The reality is Christ translates the Greek “but the body (is) of Christ.” The word “body” is used occasionally in the sense of substance or reality, that is, what is real, true, as opposed to delusion or illusion (commentators cite passages in Philo and Josephus). Some commentators suggest that “body” here refers also and specifically to “the body of Christ,” the Church, in which the real, as opposed to the unreal, has been made manifest. No translation, however, attempts to make this thought explicit (but see NAB “the reality is the body of Christ”).
The reality is Christ may be expressed as “what is real is Christ” or “what exists is Christ.”
(from the UBS Handbook Series)
Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges, The Epistles To The Colossians and to Philemon, p.105 says:
Tov mellonton,”of the things to come”, i.e. from the point of time when the five things were enjoined. The things that were “future from the standpoint of the Law.” So also in Rom.5:14; Heb.10:1; 6:5; cf. also Heb.9:8, 9. – Unquote!
The Expositor’s Greek Testament, vol.3, p.531 comments: It is future from the point of view of Judaism.
Thus, the false teachers missed the substance and completeness in Christ and argued for their present and future practice as if the substance (soma – body) had not yet arrived. Specifically we know that Christ is our Passover (1 Cor.5:7). Thus, He is also our food, drink, and Sabbath (rest – see Matthew 11:28f). He is the “body” of all that the shadows anticipated. He is “the good things to come” from the standpoint of the Law. Although Don would like us to see Hebrews 4 as a future Sabbath rest, his own arguments would demand that that Sabbath rest was fully entered in AD 70. Since Christ gives rest from sin and condemnation, we can see Sabbath in His death on the cross and our entrance into that rest. There remains the rest of the Promised Land to the faithful in Christ, but that poses no more problem for my position than for Don’s.
Now, let us look from the standpoint of unbelieving Jews. Is the passage saying that if Jews would prefer the shadows, that God is still holding that Law in place until some more “good things to come” arrive for them? No! Unbelieving Jews were just wrong all the way around. They were not obligated to continue the shadows in hopes of other good things to come. They were obligated to repent and obey the gospel and trade the shadows for the substance in Christ. The words of Jesus would judge them (John 12:48). They were obligated to “believe the report” (Isa.53:1ff; Rom.10:16-21). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom.10:17). They were not listening. Therefore, they were not doing what they were “obligated” to do (remember the propositions).
Don did not prove that the Jews had more “good things to come” by keeping obligation to the shadows. Thus, he is wrong about this passage. He did not prove that God was holding unbelieving Jews obligated to the Law of Moses and obligated to continue the priesthood of Levi. He NEVER told us how the Jews could be both obligated to believe and obey Jesus AND continue the shadows of the Law. He never really wiggled his way out from under the embarrassment of his two-law theory. Thus, we cannot accept that he really answered the fact that the handwriting of requirements was taken out of the way at the cross. This passage still stands to verify my proposition. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the handwriting of requirements was then taken out of the way and nailed to the cross.
What did Don say THIS time?
He repeated his contention that because Hebrews 4 speaks of a remaining Sabbath rest for the people of God, that this shows that the Law was still binding. He insisted again that “things to come” means that new moons and Sabbaths were still binding and looking to future fulfillment.
The future rest is for obedient believers in Christ. The typology is likely from God’s Sabbath rest at the beginning and before the Law of Moses. But, the promise of Psalm 95 extends the idea that God had a “rest” in mind that His obedient people could share with Him some day. Thus, this rest reaches back even before the Law of Moses into the minds of men from the beginning, especially after the fall and loss of Eden’s Paradise to coming into a promised rest with God. While the rest is typified from God’s rest after His creation, it does not seem to necessarily carry the Mosaic covenant Sabbaths as an unaccomplished type and antitype fulfillment. Thus, I conclude that the Sabbaths of the Law of Moses typified rest in Christ (Matthew 11:28). Thus, we have rest or Sabbath from our sins and times of refreshing in Him. That is why the Sabbaths of Col.2:16 could not be bound. Those Sabbaths were shadows fulfilled and replaced with the substance in Christ. The Sabbath rest that reaches back before the Law of Moses into the hope of all mankind from the beginning is the hope of rest with God where no tension exists because of sin, and all labor and toil and struggle can be relaxed in eternal bliss with God. Those pre-Law of Moses hopes were still alive and remained. Even Abraham was desiring a better heavenly city and God was preparing a city for them (Heb.11:16). The reminder in Psalm 95 that there was still a rest that God wanted to share with people was still alive and had been carried by hearts of men before the Law and during the Law. So, I cannot grant Don the validity of even this argument. The law of commandments was nailed to the cross. The shadows were replaced with the reality and substance in Christ. Therefore, since that Mosaic Law was no more authoritative, no man was to judge us in regard to new moons or Sabbaths. The substance they depicted is found in Christ where we are complete. In summary, the “rest” (Sabbath) spoken of in Hebrews 4 is based on the rest God entered after his creation (Gen.2) and is not based on the typology of the Sabbaths imposed by the Law of Moses. Therefore, we do not grant Don his argument that the Jewish Sabbaths had not yet been fulfilled in the substance in Christ.
Word Biblical Commentary on Colossians says:
The expression “things to come” (ta mellonta) does not refer to what lies in the future from the standpoint of the writer (as Meyer, 387, argued), so pointing, for example, to the time of the Second Coming, for then the skia (“shadow”) would not have been superceded and the ordinances referred to would retain their importance. Rather, the expression is to be interpreted from the period when the legal restrictions of verse 16 were enjoined; it is future from the standpoint of the OT (cf.Williams, 105, Lahnemann, Kolosserbrief, 136, and Schweizer, 120). Christ has arrived. The substance has already come. The regulations belonged to a transitory order, and have lost all binding force. Hence the RSV translation “a shadow of the things to come” is ambiguous, if not misleading; better is the NIV rendering “a shadow of the things that were to come”. (Colossians, p.140).-Unquote!
Don needed a verse that showed beyond all shadow of doubt that the Law was not nailed to the cross or abolished and that it was still being carried out under obligation to God. This verse is definitely not proof of that contention. Like all of his other proof-texts, it is not clearly a verse that proves his contention.
THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS ABOLISHED
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
The law of commandments was abolished in His flesh. The Law of Moses was no longer an obligation when Jesus abolished it in His flesh. All one has to do to determine when the law of commandments was abolished is to determine when Jesus was “in His flesh” and on “the cross”. When did Jesus put to death the source of enmity between Jew and Gentile? He did this when He abolished it in His flesh. When did He make possible the unification of Jew and Gentile in one body? He did this “through the cross”. The cross became the means of abolishing the law contained in ordinances. Therefore, we have shown conclusively again, that my proposition is true: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
But, there is so much more.
What did Don say?
NOT A WORD! But given his position, who can blame him for ignoring verses that directly deny and contradict his proposition? Should we say anything further about the PAST TENSES that he also ignores in this passage? “He HAS made both one” and “He HAS broken down the middle wall of division between us” and “having abolished in His flesh the law of commandments”. Don says that Jesus didn’t really do it in His flesh. He says that Jesus merely “initiated” it then, but would really abolish it in AD 70.
Now catch the power of this next argument! Don has argued that the law was abolished in Christ for believers even before it was all fulfilled (thus cancelling any validity to his Matthew 5:17 argument), and even before Jesus “consummated” the new covenant by “coming back out of the MHP” (thus cancelling an validity to his argument that consummating the covenant in this way was necessary). He has Christians not being obligated to a still binding Law of Moses but bound to an initialized but not consummated new covenant for forty years. He has unbelieving Jews still bound to the Levitical priesthood even though the greater, prophesied and fully established priesthood of their Messiah was already in place. In this case, ALL were obligated to believe and enter Jesus’ death, while none were obligated to remain under the Law of Moses, but at the same time NONE could actually be out from under the Law of Moses until it was ALL fulfilled, and NONE could actually be under obligation to an “unconsummated” covenant until it is consummated. He has Christians meeting their obligation to “die to the Law”, but leaving them under an unconsummated covenant. He has unbelieving Jews obligated to believe in Jesus but also obligated to keep the Law of Moses and the Levitical priesthood at the same time, while also being free to leave the obligations to the Law of Moses and entering with Christians an unconsummated new covenant. Now see if you can untangle the mess Don has made of the scriptures. I must confess that I get lost in the endless entangling weaves of his argumentation.
“Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ”. All were obligated to believe and enter Jesus’ death. None were obligated to remain under the Law of Moses. My proposition is nearly a quote of Eph.2:14f. But, Don’s proposition was not even a quote or a necessary inference from any passage he offered. He says that Jews were both obligated to Jesus (John 12:48) and the Law of Moses at the same time. What an amazing “obligation” they were under! The passage that Don did not even make an attempt to discuss says specifically that Jesus abolished the law of commandments. It tells us in no uncertain terms WHEN He did so. The reader can decide if this passage sustains my proposition or if it sustains Don’s. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the Law of Commandments were “abolished in His flesh” by way of the cross.
What did Don say THIS time?
Not a word again! Now how can we even listen to his last negative when both of his first two negatives of this proposition clearly avoided answering my key arguments? If he says something now, I will have no chance to respond. This is why we switch propositions. The negative is supposed to follow the affirmative and answer each of his major arguments, not offer more affirmative material and ignore the rules of debate. If he had answered my first affirmative instead of ignoring it, it would have given me two more chances to cross-examine his answers. Now, if he decides to answer, it will be obvious to the reader that he chose the debater’s tactic of waiting till his own argument on the passage can go without cross-examination.
Caldwell comments on the passage with these insightful observations:
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances. All this was effected by Christ when he abolished (katargesas) the source of the enmity, the Law itself To “abolish is to make null and void, to render inoperative and no longer mandatory, to make useless, to cancel, or to abrogate. The Law of Moses was the source of enmity (echthran) between the two people. Their animosity, feuding, and alienation resulted from national application of the ordinances and promises of the Law to only one side in the dispute.
Christ nailed the Law to his cross (Col1:20-22; 2:14; Heb.10:1-10). The separating influence, the Law, had divided the nations because it was a national law, designed for Israel only. The Law, in which they had taken so much pride, had been the very source of their separation. Christ took away the entire Mosaic legal system contained in ordinances and left the Jew with no reason for special pride (Col.2:14;Rom.7:1-4; Gal5:2-4; 2 Cor.3:14). –Unquote! (Truth Commentaries, Ephesians, p.96-97).
Don’s only comment throughout the debate on this passage was that “Christ destroyed the commandments IN THE BODY OF HIS DEATH” ,and he makes of that that it was not really abolished, but his death merely removed him out from under it. So, in essence, Don is contending that the Law was not abolished as the passage says, but that when any man dies he is removed from obligation to the Law. Then, he contends that men can mentally enter Jesus’ death and thereby removed themselves out from under the unabolished and binding Law. Paul says that Jesus “abolished the Law”. Don says that Jesus “abolished some people’s obligation to the Law”. Which is correct? Well, Paul is obviously correct. He is inspired of God and his words reflect the mind of God. Don’s words contradict the word of God. He strings together some unclear verses and endows them with assumptions, while ignoring and altering the very clear passages. Here is a passage that tells us exactly when the Law of commandments was abolished. Here is a verse that tells us WHAT was abolished, namely, the LAW. Don denies WHAT was abolished and WHEN it was abolished. He says it was not abolished at the cross, even though this text clearly says it was. Additionally, we must remember that God tore out of the temple when Jesus died to indicate He was no longer to be associated with that earthly temple. The tearing of the veil is intimately connected with Jesus’ death on the cross and the abolishing of the Law. Consider the following observations from others:
The Veil Was Rent
That the veil is called the “hem of God’s garment” is fascinating because, when Jesus died and the veil tore in two, God tore his garment at the temple, signifying the rending of the Levitical priesthood. Yes, God tore his garment, just as Caiaphas tore his robe rending the Aaronic priesthood. God was declaring that the Levitical priesthood was forever fulfilled by the death of his Son, the perfect high priest:
Heb 7:26 For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Heb 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
The veil represented the flesh of Jesus Christ, and as his body was torn and beaten for us, so the veil was torn away. This symbolized that, as children of God, we are NO LONGER separated from our Creator God and the Holy of Holies, and Jesus Christ was the forerunner into that holy place:
Heb 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
You may wonder how the writers of the gospels knew that the veil of the temple was torn. During certain feast days, the door of the temple was left open and one was able to see inside the temple. When the veil was torn, the Aaronic priesthood was officially severed from existence, and a new covenant through the blood of our new high priest, Jesus Christ, was established.
The final words of Jesus Christ on the cross included, “It is finished”:
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
If you were to study Hebrew customs, you would discover that these same words were said by the high priest when offering a sacrifice at certain feast days, including Passover. The high priest would stretch out his arms and say “Naghid”, which in Hebrew means “It is done”. Jesus also had his arms stretched out, and as the perfect final sacrifice, he cried “It is finished”. Yet more evidence of the transfer of the priesthood to Jesus Christ.
The veil of the Temple torn from top to bottom.
A. Here was a sign to be observed first by the Jews, particularly by the priestly establishment that had demanded Jesus’ death by the Romans. Josephus says that the Temple veil separating the Most Holy Place from the outer room was 60 feet tall, 30 feet across, and as thick as a man’s hand. For it to tear was a mighty sign, probably a noisy one, and certain to attract horrified attention.
B. This was a sign that the Jewish dispensation, by the act of God Himself, was at an end. The privileges of law, priesthood and national covenant had separated Jew from Gentile for over 1,000 years. Now God was removing the barriers, creating in His Son a new covenant of grace, offered to “every creature” (Ephesians 2:14,15; Mark 16:15,16).
C. Here was notice that now, by Christ’s death, God was making known in public view the revelation of the mystery which had been hidden from past ages. In the cross of Jesus, the “curtain” was torn away from the secret purpose of grace, exposing to historical vision God’s wrath against sin, His love for sinners, and His way of satisfying both in divine justice. As the gospel of Christ is proclaimed, angels see what neither they nor the prophets could know before – that the new Christian community is the concrete demonstration of the eternal plan of redemption; in His Son, and in Him alone, God reconciled, redeemed, justified, sanctified and glorified all those who would be united with Him by living faith (Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Peter 1:9-12).
D. This was a sign that the way into the heavenly Holy Place was now opened for human travel, cleared and paved by the atoning work of God’s Son our Forerunner and Scout (Hebrews 6:19,20; 10:19, 20).
The Cross Abolished Animal Sacrifice
The idea that God continued the first covenant and its animal sacrifices in order to establish the second covenant and the sacrifice of Christ, is not the Hebrew writer’s position. He says that Jesus “takes away the first that he might establish the second” (Heb 10:4-10). Who will you believe? Those who say that God continued to recognize animal offerings, or the inspired writer who says God had abolished them?
Some will reply that there is no question of whether Christ abolished animal sacrifice. Of course he did. The question is when. They will say not at the cross, but in AD70 at the destruction of Jerusalem. But the Hebrew writer says it was when Jesus came to do God’s will in offering his body once for all.
In the following verses he makes it perfectly clear that the sacrifices still being offered in the temple were “no longer any offering for sin” because Christ had offered “one sacrifice for sins for all time” (Heb 10:11-22).
Who will you believe? Those who say animal sacrifices still made atonement, or the inspired writer who says they were no longer any offering for sin?
This rending of the veil was emblematical, and pointed out that the separation between Jews and Gentiles was now abolished, and that the privilege of the high priest was now communicated to all mankind: ALL might henceforth have access to the throne of grace, through the one great atonement and mediator, the Lord Jesus. See this beautifully illustrated in Heb 10:19-22.(from Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
But now, the one atoning Sacrifice being provided in the precious blood of Christ, access to this holy God could no longer be denied; and so the moment the Victim expired on the altar, that thick veil which for so many ages had been the dread symbol of separation between God and guilty men was, without a hand touching it, mysteriously “rent in twain from top to bottom:” – “the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was NOW made manifest!” How emphatic the statement, “from top to bottom;” as if to say, Come boldly now to the Throne of Grace; the veil is clean gone; the Mercyseat stands open to the gaze of sinners, and the way to it is sprinkled with the blood of Him – “who through the eternal Spirit hath offered Himself without spot to God”! Before, it was death to go in, now it is death to stay out. See more on this glorious subject at Heb 10:19-22.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
These points are devastating to Don’s position. That is why he avoided answering my argument and chose to keep offering more affirmative material and demanding that I answer him some more. No, readers, I followed Don’s arguments when I was in the negative, and it was his turn to follow my arguments. He chose not to do so unless or until he would be in position not to be cross-examined. Readers, I encourage you to make careful note of what Don says about this passage.
THE LAW SERVED ITS PURPOSE IN BRINGING US TO CHRIST
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. NKJV
Paul said that “we are no longer under a tutor” which he has identified as “the law”. He wrote Galatians early in his ministry, long before AD 70. My proposition says that “obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross”. Don’s proposition says that obligation to the Law of Moses continued until AD 70. Who do we believe? The inspired message from Paul is that long before AD 70, he could safely say, “we are no longer under the law”. When did faith come? It came long before AD 70. Well, whenever faith came, we were no longer under obligation to the Law of Moses. The first system was taken away so that He could establish the second. In Galatians 4 Paul says that the second covenant was in place. The first was taken away and the second was established. ALL were obligated to the second, and only condemned unbelievers kept themselves attached to the tutor and failed to believe the tutor who was trying to get them ready to graduate to faith in Jesus Christ.
What did Don say?
Not a word! It’s as if he was not satisfied with the job he did with his proposition and spent most of his time back on the former proposition trying desperately to prop it back up, and spent very little in answer to the affirmative of THIS proposition we are supposed to be discussing now. Again, look closely! It is amazing how closely Paul’s inspired words come to stating my proposition: “After faith HAS COME, we are NO LONGER under the tutor (the Law of Moses).” Readers, please keep coming back to the proposition. People were “no longer under the Law” because the Law brings one to Christ. Otherwise, all one has is a MISUSED Law, and how could GOD be obligating anyone to a MISUSED Law that DOES NOT “bring one to Jesus”? But, if the Law “brings one to Christ”, how could one remain obligated to the Law of Moses to continue to keep its shadows? If the Law does NOT bring one to Christ, then it is only a misused Law and not the Law of Moses at all. But also keep in mind that people could lawfully be out from under the Law of Moses when faith came (faith in Jesus) and that long before the destruction of Jerusalem. But, the fact that people COULD and WERE out from under the Law indicates that Don’s argument on Matthew 5:17 was faulty. People could be out from under the Law before and without it all first being fulfilled down to every kind of prophecy. Galatians 3:24-25 remains untouched and still testifies to the truth of my proposition. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the faith came so that we would no longer need the tutor or Law (it having accomplished its mission of bringing us to Christ).
What did Don say THIS time?
Not a word! But, we can probably expect him to say something when he cannot be cross-examined.
THE ALL OR NONE PRINCIPLE
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
In this passage, Paul tells us clearly that the law that bound circumcision is not a law to which we are obligated. But, he argues that if one were inclined to bind one aspect of the law, namely circumcision, then the logic of such a move would be to feel indebted to keep the WHOLE law. It is all or none. You either take all of the Law of Moses, or you take Christ at His word that He has ALL AUTHORITY. If Jesus has ALL authority, then Moses and the law has no longer ANY authority. Paul does not give us room to think that people were obligated to the Law of Moses and to Christ for even those first forty years. For the time between Jesus death on the cross in AD 30 and all the way past AD 70 to the present, we have obligation to the full authority of Jesus Christ alone.
What did Don say?
He said I totally ignored “audience relevance” and that I do not, myself, believe that the New Covenant had been “fully delivered”.
Actually, Deut.18:15f and Acts 3 showed the “audience relevance”. The Jews were totally responsible to the “all authority” given to Jesus. From then on, it was to Jesus only that they owed faith, submission, obligation, and obedience of faith. Otherwise, they were meeting NONE of their obligations. By rejecting Jesus, they could give no obedience to Moses, for he sends all to Christ. By rejecting Jesus, they could give no allegiance to God, for He gave Christ to save all from sin and condemnation. There was no ground in-between. Furthermore, I do believe the New Covenant was fully delivered. It was not on paper or stone, but it was fully delivered and ratified by the blood of Christ. See earlier notes on this. Thus, my proposition stands firmly supported by the All or None principle of Gal.5:3-6. That principle works in reverse just as well as in forward gear. Think about it! If the Jews were obligated to ANY of the Law of Moses, they were obligated to ALL of it including the obligation it enjoined to HEED the greater Prophet like Moses (Deut.18:15f). But, if they are obligated to THAT PROPHET, then that Prophet obligates them to recognize His “all authority” whereby they would be obligated to “no longer” be under Moses, but Jesus. Thus, again, my proposition stands untouched. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ –because from then on it is ALL or NONE of the Law of Moses, and the ALL principle always send one to Christ and the NONE principle is because Christ has ALL the authority.
What did Don say THIS time?
He says that Paul was not addressing Non-Christian Jews and therefore the application is not relevant.
It is true that Paul is not directly addressing non-Christian Jews. However, the point is that the truth he stated is very relevant. All people were obligated by Moses to get ready to listen to the greater Prophet who was to come (Deut.18:15f). They knew they were obligated to all the words God would put in His mouth and that he “shall speak to them ALL that I command Him” (v.18). Thus, the obligation placed upon them was to Hear Him (the Prophet, who was JESUS). Peter reminded the unbelieving Jews of their obligation by Moses to hear that greater prophet “in ALL THINGS, WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU” (Acts 3:22f). Thus, non-Christian Jews were under the obligation to HEAR that Prophet in all things or be destroyed. The implication becomes obvious. They too (those unbelieving Jews) were under obligation to ALL the Messiah-Prophet said, or NONE of Moses. Why? Because Moses does not provide the option of doing only a few of the things he (Moses) said. But, one thing he said was that all Israel would have to listen to Jesus. It would then be ALL of Jesus or NONE of MOSES. There was no middle ground for any Jew. If ALL of Moses, then Moses passes them on to Christ. When a Jew fulfills his obligations to Moses, he is tutored to accept Jesus Christ (Gal.3:24f). If he is not schooled by Moses to come to Christ, then he has a misused version of Moses. People were “no longer under the Law” because the Law brings one to Christ. Otherwise, all one has is a MISUSED Law, and how could GOD be obligating anyone to a MISUSED Law that DOES NOT “bring one to Jesus”? But, if the Law “brings one to Christ”, how could one remain obligated to the Law of Moses to continue to keep its shadows? If the Law does NOT bring one to Christ, then it is only a misused Law and not the Law of Moses at all. But also keep in mind that people could lawfully be out from under the Law of Moses when faith came (faith in Jesus) and that long before the destruction of Jerusalem. What Paul says to Christian Jews in Galatia is that they were under obligation to Jesus totally as they had been tutored by Moses to do. This means also that non-Christian Jews were obligated by the Tutor (the Law) to graduate to Jesus. If they did not, then they were failing God and the Law. They were meeting NONE of their obligations before God. Don may not like the relevance of this, but it is still very relevant.
THE SPIRIT LEADS ALL OUT FROM UNDER THE LAW
Furthermore, we could add that obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because the Spirit leads all to Christ and no longer leads ANY to stay under the bondage of the Law. (Gal.5:18). Therefore, whoever was led by the Spirit was not under the Law, and whoever chose to remain under the Law was not led by the Spirit. The Spirit obligated no one to continue under the Law, and obligated ALL to come into Christ. Therefore, the Spirit could not be obeyed while rejecting Jesus and continuing as if obligated to the Law of Moses. Thus, again, my proposition is proven to be true.
What did Don say?
Not a word! Who can blame him? It is totally devastating to his position. Catch the power of this! Don says that GOD was obligating some people to keep the Law of Moses on up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Paul, on the other hand, says that NO ONE could be “led by the Spirit” and also “be under the Law”. So, how could God (the Spirit) be “obligating” the Jews to keep the Law of Moses? Is He not leading all men to Christ so that “we are no longer under the Law” (3:24f)? Now, get this! If unbelieving Jews are “led by the SPIRIT” then they are not under the Law. But, if they are “under the Law”, then they are NOT led by the Spirit. But, if they are under the Law and at the same time “not led by the Spirit”, then how can GOD be the one “obligating” them to keep the Law of Moses? If they are “keeping the Law of Moses” because GOD is obligating them to, then they ARE led by the Spirit to do so. The power of this verse is that it does not provide any wiggle-room for Don. It traps his position and exposes it as false. No one can be fulfilling obligations to God and be obligated to keep the Law of Moses after faith in Jesus has come. Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ – because the Spirit leads ALL to Christ and leads NONE to stay under the Law of Moses.
What did Don say THIS time?
He said that this ignores the transition period and ignores the fact that they could only come into Christ when the gospel was preached to them.
First, the gospel HAD been preached to them. How many Jews heard on the day of Pentecost alone? How many were obligated then? ALL were obligated to Jesus then. Paul said they heard but were a disobedient and contrary people (Rom.10:17-21). To the Colossians he spoke of the gospel “which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven”(Col.1:23). Of this verse one commentary says, “Not merely ‘is being preached,’ but has been actually preached. Pliny, not many years subsequently, in his famous letter to the emperor Trajan (B. X., Ep. 9:7 ), writes, ‘Many of every age, rank, and sex are being brought to trial; for the contagion of that superstition (Christianity) has spread over not only cities, but villages and the country.’
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
The fact remains that instead of it being a “specious” argument, it is factual that though Saul thought he was doing the right thing in persecuting the church, he was not led by the Spirit. As Stephen said to him and all, “you always RESIST the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51f). Saul later came to realize that what Stephen had said was true. He became Paul the servant of Jesus Christ, and repeated the sentiment of Stephen, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Gal.5:18). Don says that people were under obligation of the Spirit of God to continue to keep the Law of Moses until AD 70. He is just wrong. The law was abolished at the cross. The Spirit had plentifully prepared honest hearts to graduate to Jesus at the proper time to where they could no longer be under the Law. Those who are led by the Spirit of God know beyond doubt and regardless of the spin Don puts on various scriptures that the law of commandments were “abolished in His flesh” and annulled when He became High Priest. Those who listen to the Spirit of God know beyond doubt that no one was to remain under the Law and all were obligated to come into Christ. “We are no longer under the Law” was the Spirit truth taught long before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Don’s logic chain was flawed from the start, and every link in his chain was full of assumptions, therefore his conclusion is wrong. He has not established:
That the Torah was the power of the holy people referred to,
That the Law was still binding up to the destruction of Jerusalem, **
That Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15 are talking about the same identical thing that happens at the same identical time or that both passages are talking about the same kind of resurrection.
Therefore, Don’s arguments have all been assumptions built on top of further assumptions, and each assumption is full of holes. Thus, his argument on Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15 did not stand.
Don ignored my counter-points on this passage. So, I offer them here again.
First, as Paul wrote, the second covenant was in place, and he was himself converted over from being associated with Hagar and Mount Sinai. He argues that Hagar and Mount Sinai correspond to “Jerusalem which now is”. Paul is claiming that he was no longer associated with that Jerusalem. Paul is arguing that we are not obligated to the first covenant but the second covenant. If anyone remained associated with the Old Covenant, it was by BLIND CHOICE, not by obligation of God. From God’s perspective, all are obligated to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant. Those who rejected this Mediator and Covenant would be cast out at the destruction of Jerusalem. In this text, they are cast out because they rejected the New Covenant and all that the Old had promised. “Casting out” the Old Covenant in the destruction of Jerusalem does not mean that God was holding people “obligated” to live by that covenant.
Secondly, He is casting out the covenant and the children of that covenant because they preferred the bondage of that system over the liberty of the New Covenant. Waiting a while to visibly cast them out, is not the same as keeping people under “obligation” to that covenant. When were they “broken off” the tree of God? Paul says it was when they did not “believe”(Rom.11:15-21) when “the faith had come”(Gal.3:23-25). So, the covenant was cancelled at the cross (Eph.2:14; Col.2:14f), the unbelievers were “broken off”(Rom.11) and all that was left was to “gather them and throw them into the fire”(Jno.15:6). This is the phase called “casting out” in Gal.4:30.
Thirdly, Paul was not under two covenants at once. No one had a “right” or “obligation” to prefer the first covenant over the second. This is why I asked Don, and he did not answer, if all Jews were “obligated” to Jesus. If all Jews were obligated to Jesus, and they were (Jno.12:48), then they were obligated to His priesthood, sacrifice, and New Covenant. If they were obligated to Jesus in all these ways, then they could NOT also be obligated to the Old Covenant with priesthood and sacrifices at the same time.
The only thing that we really got out of Don here was that on the matter of Romans 11 where Paul said the unbelieving Jews were “broken off” , he said there was “an already-but-not-yet reality at work”. How convenient! My point was that they were already broken off but not yet cast into the fire. That fits the facts of the case, and it also shows that obligation to keep the law of Moses was not in place. Condemnation for not believing Jesus was in place, and this persecuting child will be visibly cast out and burned in the fires of destruction.
Please make note that the second covenant was already established and was like freewoman Sarah giving birth to her promised child. Paul says she IS free (right then and long before AD 70) and she IS the mother of us all (thus already in effect long before the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, no man was obligated to stay under bondage to the first covenant when they had opportunity to be free under the new covenant. If that second covenant was already in place as a mother giving birth to free children, then my proposition is supported by this passage. Don’s contention has been that Christ could not really make men free until he comes back out of the MHP and consummates the covenant in AD 70. Paul, a Jew, had already experienced freedom under the second covenant long before the destruction of Jerusalem. How could such blessings be enjoyed under an unconsummated covenant? Watch Don on this too!
Don’s Progression of Assumptions
His view of eschatology distorts every thing it touches. Notice the progression of errors:
Every promise has to be fulfilled in order for the law to be abolished (error based on eisegesis of Matthew 5:17).
The days of vengeance (destruction of Jerusalem) is when “all things which are written may be fulfilled”(Luke 21:22).
Therefore, even the promise of Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 quoted in 1 Cor.15:54-55 had to be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in order for the “all things which are written”(Luke 21:22) to be fulfilled.
Therefore, the resurrection of Daniel 12 and 1 Cor.15 are the same, and therefore the conclusion that the resurrection is past, and the conclusion that death has been swallowed up, the mortal changed to immortal, all in AD 70.
When we refuse to allow Don the assumptions he attaches to each verse, then his theory does not work. So, let us analyze each point individually again.
Error #1 is when he assumes that Matt.5:17 means the law cannot be abolished until every promise in the OT is fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled whatever was included under “the least of these COMMANDMENTS” and “took them out of the way nailing them to His cross” and “abolished in His flesh the law of commandments (Matt.5:19; Eph.2:14f; Col.2:14f). Also inherent within Don’s error #1 is the error that allows Jesus to abolish the law for SOME without every promise first being fulfilled. So, his first error is full of assumptions that we cannot grant to him and the text does not demand or allow, and the above inherent errors falsify his usage of Matt.5:17 and his proposition.
Error #2 is when he expands Luke 21:22 to include more than the context demands. Granted that “all things that are written” sounds all-inclusive, but a little thought would show that it is all things within a certain category. For example, the days of vengeance would not fulfill the things written about the birth of the Messiah, His death and resurrection. Those days would not fulfill the “law of commandments contained in ordinances”. Don wants this passage to mean only “the rest of what’s left that wasn’t fulfilled in Jesus”, but it says, “all things that are written”. So, what does it mean? Take a look at each context and you will find that “all things” is all things within a certain category. See Luke 2:39; 11:41. In Luke 18:31 “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished” on that trip to Jerusalem. But, there were things written by the prophets that concerned the Son of Man that were NOT “all” accomplished on that trip to Jerusalem. In Jesus’ final moments on the cross John comments that “after this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst”. But, the resurrection had not been accomplished, so “all things” means “all things” within a certain category. Further, while “all things” were put under man’s feet (Psa.8:6), the Hebrew writer admits that “we do not YET see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). Thus, there are contextual limitations to “all things” in a given context. “All things that are written” in the context of Luke 21:22,32 have to do with all things that pertained to the end of the Jewish Temple system, but not all things about the Messiah, His kingdom, final judgment, or the fulfillment of the righteous requirements of the Law, or the final putting down of death and Hades, or the final end of sin. If we allow Don too much eisegesis with Luke 21:22,32, he will make it appear that he has a valid point. If we carefully watch each context, we find that his theory is out of harmony with too many plain passages of scripture. Error #2 therefore cannot stand.
Error #3 is built on the first two errors. If you grant the first two errors and treat them as true exegesis of the text and context of Matt.5:17 and Luke 21:22, then you are prepared to swallow his theory that Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 had to have been fulfilled by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and therefore, you are ready to accept that the resurrection described in 1 Corinthians 15 that promises that “when this mortal shall have put on immortality then will be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘O death where is your sting”- was fulfilled in the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Paul quotes Isa.25:8 and Hosea 13:14 and says those OT scriptures would be fulfilled in the resurrection. So, if you would accept Don’s first two errors, then you are ready to accept his third error that the resurrection had to have occurred when “all things” had to be fulfilled in the days of vengeance. Thus, you are ready to swallow the theory that the resurrection DID occur in AD 70. You then have to believe that death was swallowed up in victory. We cannot grant the assumptions applied each step of the way. The assumption that “promises” beyond the scope of the covenant cannot even be mentioned in a covenant, and in this case the old covenant, is a false assumption. A covenant can mention things that will exist beyond the scope of its own life or time limitations. To say it cannot is ludicrous. Where did we get that rule? Who made it up, and upon what basis? The Sinai covenant looked to an earlier time before its own existence, back to the beginning, and it can and does mention things beyond its own scope of life to a new covenant, a new king that will not continue the covenant that mentions this fact, a new priesthood, a new kingdom age, and to a future time when death will end and man will be fully restored back to God. Those things do not have to come to pass before the covenant that mentions it is replaced. The laws contained in ordinances were abolished at the cross. The promises of better things, or of a time when death would finally be swallowed up in victory, did not keep people under obligation to keep the Law of Moses until every promise was fulfilled or that the destruction of Jerusalem become a magical moment when obligation suddenly ended. We cannot grant that Don has proven that Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 fit within the contextual scope of the “all things” mentioned in Luke 21:22,32. Therefore, he has not proven his proposition or the arguments he used to build his case.
Error #4 was in combining Da.12 with 1 Cor.15 and asserting that both texts are speaking of the same kind of resurrection AND assuming that both kinds happened at the same time or were the same resurrection in AD 70. But, a spiritual resurrection is the focus of Dan.12 and is of the sort mentioned in John 5:24 and Rom.11:15, while the resurrection of 1 Cor.15 is of the same nature as Jesus’ literal resurrection from physical death, and the whole argument of 1 Cor.15 is based on that resurrection being the “firstfruits” of all that will follow later. Thus, we could not grant Don the assumptions he made on both passages.
I understand why he wanted to make his eschatological theories so vitally important to proving his proposition. But, we cannot grant him such liberty of assumptions. Too many clear passages show that obligation shifted from Moses and the Prophets to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. Unbelieving Jews were not obligated to keep the Law of Moses while ignoring the new law and Prophet like Moses (Jesus, the Messiah). All were obligated to die to the Law of Moses and all were obligated to give up their hold on that abolished system. All were obligated to hear that Prophet (Deut.18:15f; Acts 3:19,22-26). All will be judged by the words of Jesus (John 12:48). All were obligated to the Law of the Lord that went forth from Jerusalem (Acts 2ff with Isaiah 2:1-4). No one remained obligated to keep the Law of Moses instead. It is not all right to reject Jesus, His kingship, kingdom, priesthood and sacrifice, and continue as if obligated to the Law of Moses. That Law was abolished in His flesh. The wrath of God was upon those who continued to reject Jesus and who therefore pretended to be keeping obligations under Moses. Moses sends people to Christ where are all authority resides. All the world was obligated to “hear ye Him” (Matt.17), allowing Moses and the Prophets to have fulfilled their mission.
2 Corinthians 3 Does Not Show a Phasing In Of The New Testament and a Phasing Out of the Old Still In Progress
2 Cor 3:11
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
[For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.] Here is another striking difference between the law and the Gospel. The former is termed to katargoumenon, that which is counter worked and abolished; the latter to menon, that which continues, which is not for a particular time, place, and people, as the law was; but for ALL times, all places, and all people. As a great, universal, and permanent GOOD vastly excels a good that is small, partial, and transitory; so does the Gospel dispensation, that of the law. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary).
The Law was still glorious to the Jew who had a veil still on their heart as they read the Old Testament (2 Cor.3:15). The veil is taken away in Christ. That is, in Christ one can see the end of the fading glory of the old covenant depicted in Moses’ face. Turning to the Lord takes away the veil and brings one into present liberty. Notice that Jews were keeping it only because a veil was over their heart (that is not good, and certainly not an “obligation” of God to handle the Old Testament the way they were handling it). Notice also that “turning to the Lord” would remove the veil so they could see their need to come into Christ for liberty (they were obligated to turn to the Lord, and they were not obligated to stay under the Old Covenant with a veil over their hearts). Notice also that people who could not see the value and truth of the gospel were then “perishing” (thus not fulfilling their “obligations” to handle the word of God correctly so the veil on their heart could be removed (4:2,3).
The versions that say “is passing away” are not without question. The same word appears in other passages to say:
Rom 7:6 – But now we are delivered (not “will be delivered” or “are being delivered”) from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. KJV
2 Cor 3:13 – And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished (not “is being abolished”) :
2 Cor 3:14 – But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. KJV
Eph 2:15 – Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; KJV
The weight of the evidence (though not 100% conclusive) is that “is done away” is most consistent with the context and with the other clearer passages such as Eph.2:15. This passage has no doubt or question-marks attached. We must conclude that Don is trying to build his case on questionable renderings. He combines questionable renderings with other passages that he takes out of context. Then, with his string of proof-texts, none of which clearly prove his proposition, he ignores clearer passages and declares that he has proven his proposition.
Additionally, there are other valid explanations that would allow for the present tense and still not be saying that God was holding people “obligated” to continue under the Law of Moses. For example, it is plausible to view that the law of commandments was “abolished”, just as Paul said in Eph.2:15, while also recognizing that unbelieving Jews are not convinced of it now but soon will be when the external evidence mounts up to the destruction of their temple. In the context Paul speaks of those “who glory in appearance and not in heart” (5:12). It could be that Paul is referring to the Jews who still had the veil over their hearts in reading the Old Testament as the ones glorying in appearance. That is, they thought that the presence of the temple and the ongoing work of the priests at that temple was evidence that the Law had not been “abolished” (even though the temple veil was torn from top to bottom, they could replace it and claim that God was still there). On the other hand, those with the light of the gospel and the word of God handled correctly knew that “old things have passed away” and “behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor.5:17). So, those who had light knew that the law of commandments had been abolished, but those who were blind and gloried in “appearance” would see the system externally pass away if they would not be persuaded by the events surrounding the cross, the torn temple veil, and the resurrection of Jesus. So, Paul could be speaking perceptionally of those who had a veil over their hearts and were blinded by the god of this world that the old covenant “is passing away” (if we could grant that present tense beyond all shadow of doubt). So, with doubt about the tense, the law “is done away”, and with regard to those who glory in appearance it “is passing away”. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is (present tense) already ‘liberty” from that old killing system. Where the Spirit of the Lord is not found, in the blinded who read the old testament with a veil over their hearts and who glory in “appearance” (external things), the old testament “is passing away”. There is no Lord and no Spirit attached to that system and therefore no ‘obligation” by God for them to continue neglecting so great salvation in the Lord. Their only obligation was to take that veil off of their hearts and “turn to the Lord”(2 Cor.3:16; same word as when Peter obligated the Jews to “turn” and be converted –Acts 3:19). Thus, there was no “obligation” upon the Jews except to “turn” to the Lord. The passage does not affirm an ongoing “obligation” (our propositions) to keep the Law of Moses.
Alternative Explanation of Zechariah 11
Don made his argument on this passage only in his second negative. I will not have a chance to respond to his counter-arguments because he introduced it late in the debate. I offer here my thoughts on the passage, and acknowledge that some sentences given in bold italics (though the transmission may not show this) are comments I found helpful and true from Fred Miller’s “Commentary on Zechariah”.
Zec. 11:7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.
Jesus started out feeding Israel in general, compassionately seeing them as “sheep without a shepherd” but eventually seeing only the poor (perhaps lowly in spirit) as the ones who would actually feed under His shepherding. Paul claimed that Jesus’ followers were as sheep lead to the slaughter, yet, “more than conquerors through Him who loved us”(Rom.8:36-37). Miller: The innocent among God’s people are here called “the flock of slaughter” because they are treated like sheep whose shepherds seek only their own profit and care not for the flock. This describes the nation’s religious leaders at the time of Messiah’s visit. God still has a plan for the remnant, here called the flock of slaughter, which is at once revolutionary, and violent, marking the end of his covenant.
Zec. 11:8- Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 11:9 Then said I, I will not feed you; that that dies, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.
“The three shepherds.” If they are not pictures of the rulers of the High Priests, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, then they are leaders, at the time indicated, of like stature. That is, they are the major recognized shepherds of the people. Of these shepherds Jesus of Nazareth leveled the most scathing rebukes and reserved epithets for them that no one calls any other man unless they are the most despicable enemies (Matt.23). “My soul loathed them.” Of them Jesus said, “Let them alone, they are blind leaders, themselves heading for and leading others into the pit.”-Unquote! So, Jesus let them alone. As far as He was concerned they could eat each other’s flesh while Jesus’ disciples would eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God (John 6). Jesus would have loved and provided care and protection to the leaders “but you were not willing”. Thus, they were left to their own demise which eventually would lead to them eating each other’s flesh.
Zec. 11:10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. 11:11 And it was broken in that day; and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
Verse 10 all the people: Hebrew “kal ha’ammiym,” , means “all peoples” and may mean different states. The breaking of the covenant with all the people must refer to the change of covenants at the cross. “All the people” may mean all the tribes of Israel who, although not existing as separate bodies politic at the time this prophecy was uttered, did so exist when the covenant was made on Mt. Sinai. Thus it is the covenant that “I had made with all the peoples,” not only with the house of Judah. It is that covenant which was broken when the betrayal and wounding of the Messiah took place, for that covenant was taken out of our way and was nailed to the cross. Both the wounding of the cross and the betrayal that led to it are foretold and are in the context and are dependant on the figure in this passage. Inquote! -Jesus temporarily allowed His Beauty to be broken in two in His humiliated and broken body on the cross so that He could end the covenant made with all Israel at Sinai. Paul agrees and says that He “abolished in His flesh…the law of commandments”(Eph.2:15). The disciples, the poor among the flock, waited upon Jesus, and knew that “it was the word of the Lord”. They related it to passages like Isaiah 53 and perhaps this one too.
Zec. 11:12 And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 11:13 And the LORD said to me, Cast it to the potter; a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
This is one of those amazing prophecies that cannot be explained away and which caused the apostle Paul to say that his beloved Jewish nation still wears a veil on their heart in the reading of the Old Testament. Judas contracted to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver which he afterward regretted. He threw down the money in the Temple. The priests determined that it could not be put in the Temple treasury since Jesus had been put to death and it was the price of blood. In the meantime Judas hanged himself in a clay pit belonging to a potter. This abandoned pit was purchased with the 30 pieces of silver and the location was made a community burial ground for indigent people. Judas had hanged long enough that his body disintegrated and he was buried where he fell. The money which had been used for Jesus’ price ended up in the hand of the potter. It was the same 30 pieces of silver when Judas received them, cast them down, the priests bought the field with them, and the potter put them in his purse. Unquote. These are scenes surrounding the great event of the cross of Jesus Christ, His death in an ugly (not beautiful) moment in which betrayal was involved, and the breaking of the old covenant with Israel was to establish the second way of sanctification. He takes away the first in a not-so-beautiful moment “that He may establish the second (Heb.10:9).
Zec. 11:14 Then I cut asunder my other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
We must make note here that by breaking His staff called “Beauty”, he engaged something that looked ugly that accomplished his plan to abolish the covenant made with Israel at Sinai. During this time there was the betrayal and deal made for thirty pieces of silver. Thus, the timing of breaking the covenant fits better at the time of the cross rather that at the destruction of Jerusalem. This agrees with the clear declaration of Paul that the law of commandments was abolished at the cross (Col.2:14f; Eph.2:14f). Now, another thing accomplished at the cross was breaking the bonds of brotherhood between Judah and Israel. Jesus said that He did not come to give peace but a sword and a man’s foes would be those of his own household (Matt.10:34-39). The events of the cross and resurrection, and the preaching of the gospel, set Jews into decision time and many families were divided in their convictions (Acts 2ff). Now, those who sided with the truth of Jesus Christ were united and found brotherhood even among Gentiles (Eph.2). But, the brotherhood between Judah and Israel was never the same after the death, and resurrection of Jesus.
My conclusion is that language of Zechariah does not fit Don’s position as well as it fits mine. The New Testament lays out the breaking of the covenant as an event around the cross (Heb.7:12; Eph.2:14f) at which time Jesus’ staff of Beauty was broken in His humiliation. The leaders of Israel had already been told that their house would be left desolate and at the death of Jesus, God tore out of their house (ripping the veil from top to bottom), no longer claiming it as His house. Their house was left empty of God. Also found in this text is the poor among the flock being able to see that this was the word of the Lord (from Pentecost onward the poor-in-heart disciples showed clearly that Jesus’ death was associated with the word of the Lord (using Isaiah 53 and other passages to demonstrate this). Meanwhile, during these same events Zechariah mentions the deal for thirty pieces of silver. Again, the New Testament associates this with events around the cross and not at the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt.27:3-10). Also, after those events we can see how “Bonds” were broken in the decisions that families had to make from Pentecost onward. While Don tries to bring the “eating of each other’s flesh” into the very moment of the “breaking of the covenant”, I would see the eating of each other’s flesh as the eventual consequence of Jesus “letting them alone” because they were blind leaders of the blind and both would eventually fall into the ditch (Matt.15:14). They abhorred Jesus and He loathed them, calling them a “brood of vipers” and “whitewashed walls”. The eventual consequence was that they would wind up eating each others flesh.
Zechariah 11 has some complicated ways of wording, but the New Testament clears up the moment of the breaking of Beauty and Bonds and the breaking of the covenant as something that happened at the cross (Eph.2:11ff). It is also clear that the eating of each other’s flesh was a consequence of not being willing to let Jesus be their shepherd and feed them with His very life-blood. The passage does not force the conclusion that the covenant ends when the eating of each other’s flesh began.
Don Admits Two Laws At Same Time
While he argues that this is workable because God had two laws at same time for different people (Jews had Old Testament and Gentiles had other moral law), the problem he fails to address is that Jews were obligated to Jesus, the Messiah and Mediator of the New Testament (via Deut.18:15f; Acts 3:19f; Jno.12:48) at the same time that Don says that the Old Covenant was also still binding. So, this puts the same people obligated to two laws at once. He says the believers were released from obligation to the old, but that still puts unbelievers under obligation to Jesus and Moses at the same time. Remember his argument to the millenialists.
Let me clear something up right here before proceeding. Terry says: “Since he (Don) admitted that Christians rightly “died to the Law of Moses” (Rom.7:4), and could do so because the Law was nailed to the cross…”
Now, once again, Terry totally misrepresents what I have said. He claims that I have admitted that the Law was nailed to the Cross. TERRY, YOU KNOW I HAVE SAID NO SUCH THING! This is a BLATANT MISREPRESENTATION of my view. –Unquote!
That is correct! As I look back, that was not what Don said. So, I apologize to you Don. You did not say the law was nailed to the cross. You did say that Christians “died to the Law” and implied that it was right for them to do so. Paul is the one that said it was “abolished in His flesh”(Eph.2:14f) and said the “handwriting of requirements” was “nailed to the cross” (Col.2:14f). Now, if it was right for some Jews to “die to the Law”, and in fact were under obligation of Deut.18:15f to do so when the greater Prophet was raised from the dead (Matt.17; Acts 3:22f), then ALL Jews were obligated to die to the Law (Rom.7). Paul said that the cross disarmed all other principalities and powers and released Christians from obligation to new moons, feasts, and Sabbaths (Col.2:14-17). But, all are obligated to become Christians. Now, since all were obligated to hear Jesus, they were obligated to die to the Law that had been abolished and nailed to the cross.
Don Repeats His False Claim:
This claim is akin to your “Romans 7” argument, where you claimed that you made such a powerful argument that Preston had to concede! In fact, you had not even mentioned Romans 7! (emphasis mine –TB). I am confident that when I pointed this false claim out, that Terry frantically did a search to find where he had used Romans 7, and where I had capitulated. Of course, he could not find anything, and his total silence on it proves that he did misrepresent the facts! _Unquote!
Don had said earlier that he could not find any reference to Romans 7 in my first negative when he used his “search” tool. Therefore, he concluded falsely that I had said nothing about it. I thought then that it would have been better if Don would just read my negatives instead of using a search tool. I let the issue go before because it was not all that important to me and I had thought that Don would eventually go back and read it again and find that he was the one mistaken. But since he brings it up again (a second time indicates it was very important to him), it is time to show him that I did refer to this passage in my first negative. Here it is:
If Don is right, then when Paul wrote that “you have become dead to the law through the body of Christ”(Rom.7:4), this means that you became dead to every promise ever made in the Old Testament, and cannot expect that God will fulfill any more promises. If “the Law” is as comprehensive in every passage as Don says, then it was wrong for anyone who knew the law to become dead to it until the destruction of Jerusalem. Since Don argues that every aspect of the Old Testament system had to remain bound upon every Jew until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, then it was wrong for any Jew to become “dead to the law” or feel free to feel “delivered from the Law”(Rom.7:6), until that future time came. There is something suspicious about what Don is mixing in his pot. (Benton First Negative, pg.4)
Now, I’ll be expecting an apology from Don for MISREPRESENTING ME.
We set out to look at the evidence that pertains to the proposition: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
Were Jewish Unbelievers “Obligated to the Law of Moses After The Cross”?
They were obligated to BELIEVE Moses and the Prophets. (Don admits)
They were therefore obligated to hear and obey Jesus the Messiah about Whom they had spoken. (Don admits)
They were obligated to OBEY Jesus. (Don admits)
They were obligated to cease pretending to obey Moses. (Don admits)
They were obligated to cease pretending to believe Moses while not believing He of whom Moses spoke.(Don admits)
They were obligated to come out from under the curse of the Law by believing in Jesus.(Don admits)
Those who viewed themselves as under obligation to the Law of Moses were NOT led by the Spirit. (Don couldn’t admit this).
Therefore, obligation was to hear and obey Jesus or they were meeting none of their obligations before God.
Don said it was a faulty argument. But He admitted 6 of the 7 points. Even without that 7th point the conclusion is still the same. So, it still devastates Don’s proposition and supports mine. But the 7th point is still valid also. Any Jew who rejected Jesus was “resisting the Holy Spirit”(Acts 7) in the tutoring the Law engaged to bring them to Christ. They get a failed grade from the Holy Spirit because they were not meeting any of their “obligations” before God.
The Proposition: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
Look at it closely! Can you read the New Testament and conclude that Jews had an option to reject Jesus the Messiah and keep the Law of Moses? If they did not have an option to continue under the Law of Moses, then they were fully obligated to Jesus to listen to him and obey Him. It does not matter that some promises of God were yet in the works, their obligations to God was to listen to the Messiah, Jesus, and obey His all authority.
Look carefully at each scripture reference I have used in these three affirmatives. See if they support the proposition. See if Don cross-examined each one and showed clearly how they do not support the proposition. Be sure he used each scripture accurately. If I have misused every text or context, then don’t believe what I have affirmed. If I did not misuse the scriptures, then you are obligated to GOD to believe those scriptures. Please come back after Don’s final negative and see if Don took up each verse and answered what I said. If I am right, then Don is wrong, and a lot of his eschatology is built on flawed arguments built on misused scriptures. If I am wrong, then I need to humble myself under God to believe and teach His truth. I will need to reconsider everything I thought I believed. At this point, Don and I are fully convinced that we each have the truth and the other does not. You, the reader, will have to sift through everything to see who, if either, is representing the truth of God. God bless all in your search for truth. And, again, I hope the best things for Don. So, Don, let me say to you that I appreciate your efforts to defend what you believe, and I hope the Lord will grant you wisdom to see and know the truth, and I hope we both can see each other in heaven. God bless you and all!
Terry W. Benton