Benton’s Second Affirmative
Resolved: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
Affirmed: Terry W. Benton
Denied: Signed–Don K. Preston
My best wishes to Don and all who read this debate. Let me make clear to the readers that it is not my job to continue another negative of the former proposition. That proposition had ample discussion and I am satisfied that it should stand or fall on its’ own merit. It appears that Don was not satisfied that his proposition stood up on the merits of his own arguments and therefore he felt a need to prop them up a little more with a big portion of his first negative of the present proposition. His job with the present proposition is to follow my affirmative with answers to the affirmative arguments that negate the validity of the argument used by the affirmative. When I offer my second affirmative, I then have opportunity to show that Don’s responses were either enough to invalidate the argument I used on certain points, or that his answers were insufficient to offset the truth of my arguments because of sidestepping the issue, or because of a misunderstanding of what I was saying, or because of a misuse of scripture from its context. As I review my original arguments and then try to summarize Don’s answer, it is obvious to me that he sidestepped several key arguments, totally ignored some very key arguments, and misused several contexts. I will here list the arguments I gave, and then show his counter arguments, and then my answer to his counter-arguments.
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 could do so because the Law was nailed to the cross, then he says 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). 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.
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). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
They were therefore obligated to hear and obey Jesus the Messiah about Whom they had spoken.
They were obligated to OBEY Jesus.
They were obligated to cease pretending to obey Moses.
They were obligated to cease pretending to believe Moses while not believing He of whom Moses spoke.
They were obligated to come out from under the curse of the Law by believing in Jesus.
Those who viewed themselves as under obligation to the Law of Moses were NOT led by the Spirit.
Therefore, obligation was to hear and obey Jesus or they were meeting none of their obligations before God.
What did Don say?
Not a word! He spent most of his time trying to prop up the former proposition. I’m hoping that Don will give his attention to being in the negative of THIS proposition and fulfill his obligations to answer each of the arguments I have now presented twice. This second time was to show the strength that remained from the first affirmative of this proposition and to show further the weaknesses of Don’s counter-arguments whenever he made some attempt to answer one of these arguments. The reader should keep coming back to these scriptures and see if Don really deals fairly and adequately with these things. If he does not, then you will know why. I do hope that Don will open his heart to the Lord’s will, that God will bless him, and that he can use his great mind and talents for the truth of the gospel, and that we can walk arm in arm into the battle of this life and cross that Jordan together into the Promised Land. God bless all readers to that end too.
Terry W. Benton