Imposed Until the Time of the Reformation – The Passing of the Law of Moses #2
Be sure to read the first installment of this series here.
What we have in Hebrews is a powerful demonstration of the “already-but-not-yet” transition period, the time when the Old Covenant and system was growing old, growing obsolete, and was nigh (engus) unto vanishing away. This transitional period is how and why the NT writers could speak of the eschatological tenets as already present, but then, turn around and say they were coming. They were living in the time of fulfillment.
Jesus said that until every jot and every tittle of the Law was fulfilled (until every “shadow” became a reality) the Law would remain valid – it would remain “imposed.” (“Imposed” is epikeimai, ἐπικείμενα , Strong’s #1945).
Hebrews and Colossians tell us that the cultus, the feast days, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances were still present, still unfulfilled when they were written.
Therefore, until the typological, shadow form of the feast days, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances was fulfilled, they would not and could not pass away. They were “imposed until the time of reformation.”
(This fact is devastating to the Sabbatarian paradigm, that claims that those “ceremonial” praxis ceased at the cross – which they (along with other futurists) identify as the time of reformation. But, as we will show, the time of reformation is in fact the time of Christ’s second appearing! If this is true, the Sabbatarian paradigm of delineating between the “ceremonial law” which they insist ended at the Cross, and the “moral law” which they say never ends, is falsified. If the cultus, with its sacrifices would be “imposed” until the time of reformation, and if the time of reformation is the time of Christ’s second coming, then the entire cultus would remain imposed, valid and binding, until Christ’s second appearing!)
The text says that as long as Torah, and its cultic praxis, stood valid / imposed, there was no forgiveness of sin – those things could never make the worshiper clean in regard to the conscience. As long as there was no forgiveness of sin, there could be no entrance into the Most Holy Place. This is what was “wrong” with the Law of Moses. Something had to change that and provide for forgiveness and entrance into the MHP.
Thus, those cultic actions were only “imposed until the time of reformation” meaning that when the “time of reformation” (correction, reform, putting right) arrived, there would be forgiveness, and with forgiveness would come entrance into the MHP! The time of reformation therefore, is the time when things would change. It would be when there would be forgiveness. And with forgiveness would come entrance into the MHP! The time of reformation is the time of salvation.
The entire point of his discussion is the weakness and inability of Torah to bring forgiveness and salvation, and thus, to restore man to the Presence of God. Torah would remain “standing,” would still have standing / validity and would still be “imposed” (epikeimai) until the time of reformation.
So, as long as the Law of Moses was “imposed” there was no forgiveness.
As long as the Law of Moses was imposed the worshipers never found cleansing of conscience.
As long as the Law of Moses was imposed (having standing) there was no entrance into the MHP.
As long as the Law of Moses was imposed (having standing) there was no salvation.
But, when the time of reformation came:
There would be forgiveness.
There would be the cleansing of conscience.
There would be entrance into the MHP.
There would be salvation.
The time of reformation would provide everything that could not be obtained or given through Torah. This is what “reformation” (diorthosis) meant. It was setting right what was broken, what needed to be corrected.
I should note that many times the discussion of Hebrews 9:6f centers around the word “standing” (Greek stasin, στάσιν , Strong’s #4714). Some have mistakenly argued that what the writer was saying is that as long as the temple stood physically that there was no forgiveness. But that once it was destroyed, that would bring redemption. But, that is not what the text is saying. See my book, The Passing of the Law of Moses: From Torah To Telos, for a full discussion of “standing.” Numerous scholars have recognized that the word “stasin” refers to legal standing, continuing validity.
Forgiveness, and more specifically, the abiding validity of Torah, was not dependent on the physical presence of the temple. After all, the temple was destroyed in BC 586, in the Babylonian destruction, but, that did not mean that Torah had passed away, and it did not mean that forgiveness had come!
The word stasin is being used as virtually synonymous with “imposed” (epikeimai / epikeimena, present participle in Hebrews 9:10). As long as Torah was imposed, valid and binding, i.e. having standing, there was no forgiveness for those under the Law.
So, in reality, there can be no serious doubt that Hebrews was stating in the clearest terms that as long as the Law of Moses remained imposed and having standing, there could be no forgiveness. If and since there could be no forgiveness, there could be no entrance into the Most Holy Place, the Presence of the Lord. There was no salvation.
Since the time of reformation is the time when Torah would no longer have standing, no longer be imposed, and thus, forgiveness and salvation would be a reality, this leaves but one thing to be determined, what was, or is, “the time of reformation”? We will investigate that in the next installment, so stay tuned.