by Dale George
The author had served for 14 years as an Elder in the Baptist Church. He was confronted one day by a Seventh-Day Adventist, who after discoursing with him for some two months, made him realize that there existed some weaknesses in his position of what "grace" is.
He had to concur that the "Law" must still be binding, as his Assembly did believe it was wrong to commit adultery. Therefore, he reasoned that this Adventist brother must be right in his assertion that the Law is eternal, that it was written in heaven and was there even before man was made. The Law did not originate on Mount Sinai as some claimed.
It was hard to beat this brother in his soul-searching question, "How in the world can your church teach that we are "cults" when you admit that they believe that stealing, lying, and adultery is wrong? It seems to me that if we are, "cults" and "lawkeepers" because we obey all ten of the commandments, that you people are equally cults and lawkeepers and fallen from grace, as you obey nine tenths of the law."
This shocking denunciation led him to see at least that the Law was still binding and that the Sabbath is a part of that Law. He even believed the concept that the Law was written in heaven before the foundation of the world and has no beginning or end. The Sabbath was supposed to be the crowning glory of the Law, I thought (as taught by Ellen G. White, founder of the Adventist church).
While this was never settled in the author's heart, it served as a perfect tool when it came to the truth of the Creator's name, which is also recorded in the Sabbath command. It was taught to him that the Sabbath must have three elements: name, title, and domain, and therefore he saw that the Adventists were not in line with their teachings.
This booklet is not written on behalf of any denomination. It did not get clearance from any headquarters. This represents the author's concrete findings after much study on the subject of law and grace. There are justifiable concerns on both sides of the issue.
The writer has read some of the most adverse criticism and humbly viewed the facts of the matter and let the immature and undoctrinal parts sit at Satan's throne, while humbly accepting the just criticisms of some of the best scholars, such as Dr. Alva McLain, Dr. E. Lockyer, and Dr. Walter Martin.
The writer's sincere hope is that at the conclusion of this presentation, which is 100 per cent exegesis and 0 per cent eisegesis (the former "taking out of," the latter "reading into"), that we may let Yahweh's Holy Spirit guide and put aside our prejudices and denominational defenses.
I cannot accept the fallacious concept of grace in its traditional sense, but submit to the proper meaning that includes that which causes a reflection in the life of a person by the gracious and unearned blessing given by another to whom he owes gratitude or appreciation. This is exemplified by our living for the Heavenly Father, Yahweh.
"Wait a minute," you say. "You are adding works." Every loving response given by those who are appreciative of His grace and seek to represent holy Yahweh in a holy way (for it is He who is working out His power in us, I Pet. 1:15-16, Eph. 2:10), strangely is met with this accusation of adding works to grace. But let the inspired Apostles say it and would you accuse them of adding grace plus works?
All the prophets understood grace, from righteous Noah who found grace, to Habbakuk who said "the just shall live by faith," to Lot, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Saul, Peter, and John Mark. You, too, can understand if you subject yourself to the true meaning of grace and stop following vain traditions and philosophies of men who,) have the Gamaliel-like scholarly education but are blind in determining the spiritual things that lead to eternal life (Rom. 2:7). Others are woefully deceived and genuinely ignorant.
Follow me as we read in full Titus 2:11-15, "For the grace of Yahweh [notice it is Yah's, but we must respond to it in rightful acts] that brings salvation has appeared to all men. [For what purposes] Teaching us [that's the purpose of grace!] that denying wickedness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and righteously, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Mighty One, our Savior Yahshua the Messiah; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak [what things? The power of what true grace does in reflecting itself in the life of the believer], and exhort, and rebuke [Who must be rebuked? Anyone who misrepresents His grace for licentiousness] with all authority. Let no man despise you."
Ask for guidance and meditate on the passage in Titus. Read it, dissect it, chew it ounces at a time, swallow slowly, let the digestive process take place. You will by the power of His Holy Spirit see that Strong's definition of grace includes (inherent in it, not additional to it) works of a "reflective" nature.
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Greek Dictionary, grace is defined as coming from charis, which is the equivalent of chen in the Old Testament. They are defined as "graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete: lit., fig. or spiritual; espec. the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, grace(ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thanks (worth)."
Even more amazing is the fact that while other words for exist, at no time in their usage are any used to separate Yahweh' from man's part. In fact, charis (No. 5485) is used when dealing with spiritual things 100 percent of the time whether unmerited of Yahweh or merited by man's response with good acts toward Him.
This fact alone exposes the fallacy of grace as only an unmerited act of Yahweh undeserved by man. The same concept prevails in the Hebrew chen, but our emphasis is on charis because there are those who say grace is supposed to have a different meaning under the so-called New Testament dispensation.
Later, we shall cite numerous examples that show that the same concept of grace portrayed to Noah in Genesis 6:8 is exactly the same echoed in the New Testament. In fact, we shall show that because of his greater personal manifestation of grace, our responsibility is even greater than under the law of Moses. If there were another Hebrew or Greek word used to separate man's gracefulness from Yahweh's gracefulness, I will have humbly concurred with the limited definition of grace in which I was brought up. But inspiration through the prophets chose to utilize the same Hebrew word when dealing with Yahweh's graciousness or man's gracious response.
He is the workmanship of our works (Eph. 2:10). Knowing ... that "He that has begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Yahshua the Messiah" (Phil. 1:6). All our works are merely inherent "services of faith" (Phil. 2:17). Isaiah 64:6 says, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" when done outside of His precious blood, but a sweet smelling savour (Eph. 5:2, Phil. 4:18, 1 Pet. 2:5) acceptable unto Yahweh when we have passed through His blood by His grace through faith. We become, as expressed aptly by the Apostle Peter in 2:9-12 and 16, "A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of Yahweh: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conduct honest among the heathen [the unconverted-grace does not continue to reflect the heathenistic way of living!] that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify Yahweh in the day of visitation. (Be) free, and not using your liberty [grace] for a cloak of maliciousness [atrocious acts], but as servants of Yahweh."
Did you get the impact of scriptural inspiration? In a nutshell it is this: Yahweh's grace does not demand dis-grace on our part, but a receptive attitude of the grace He gave you that you may become like Him and He may say, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
A Man Can Live Righteously
Some think that we cannot be like Yahshua and we can only thank Him for what He did on Calvary as we cannot imitate Him and that is why He paid it all for us. I must respectfully disagree in light of the authoritative words of the Apostle whom we are told will have his name implanted on the New Jerusalem. Through holy inspiration he gave us these solemn words as found in I Peter 2:21-24, "For even hereunto were you called; because the Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth ... Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes you were healed."
A warning to grace peddlers is in 1 Peter 3:10-13 (in context this is speaking to believers who are already in grace): "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil [to shun, keep away from doing], and do good [who says grace is absent from the command to do good?] Let him seek peace and pursue it. [why?] For the eyes of Yahweh are over the righteous and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of Yahweh is against them that do evil." [remember Ananias and Sapphira in the New Testament Assembly under grace?]
The concluding verse asks a question that I propose to ask of those who call lawkeepers legalists "fallen from grace" and a host of other falsities, apparently attempting to harm the cause for righteous living which is the manifestation of true grace. I leave the question found in verse 13 of I Peter 3 for such accusers, "And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good?"
Grace gives us the opportunity to live pure and holy for Him. Our living holy is through the power of His blood. It is not (and this is where many have erred) grace plus lawkeeping-perish the thought. When Yahweh initiated His undeserved grace, He at the same time expected a deserved response to His grace. That explains why inspiration used only one word for grace for either man's part or Yahweh's.
Yahweh is the One who quickens us, saves us, and lives out in us His holiness by His Spirit empowering us not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 6:17). Grace is not complete unless there is a gracious participant. Anything short of that is a "disgrace" shown to His wonderful grace in which someone had to do good works. That someone was His Son who lived righteously or He certainly could not be our sin bearer. He did good acts. He did not produce evil deeds or wrong imaginations. He is our perfect example of righteousness.
Maybe the hardest challenge to meet and refute is the claim that it is "impossible" to be 100 percent perfect like the Messiah. . Equally challenging and impossible to refute is the fact that the Bible commands us to imitate Yahshua's righteous acts that He did through love for His Father. It is totally correct that there will not be a boastful believer in the Kingdom for all will be there by Yahweh's grace.
However, it is also 100 percent correct that there will not be anyone who has done "despite [insult through unholy living] unto the Spirit of grace" and think he can boastfully (barefacedly) enter there by his acts of disgrace (2 Cor. 5:17, Titus 2:12, James 2:20-24, 2 Tim. 3:10, Jude 4).
Why Popular Concepts of Grace Are Wrong
Two men were arguing about the meaning of grace:
One said: "Because of His grace, I need not do anything of my own."
The other replied: "Because of His grace, I need do everything for His throne."
The first countered: "For me grace is plus nothing - no works I must do."
The other said: "For me grace is plus something - walking worthy of His blood."
Obviously the first person's notion of grace is the traditional concept with which I was brought up. It was considered "holy horror" to add anything to Yahweh's grace (Rom. 4:16, Rom. 11:6). The fallacy in this was previously explained. But for those who need to see the many points of a multifaceted issue, consider this: Do you know that if I ever were to be a grace peddler as I was (according to the wrong concept) I will never utilize Romans 11:6, etc., as I did in the past?
Space will not permit a full exegesis, but this short point will suffice: In verse 1 Paul is pointing out that Yahweh has not cast away His people whom He foreknew, whom He called by grace. Yet we have a dilemma here because he mentions in verse 3 the many Israelites who had killed His prophets and broken down His altars. Many who were called by His grace into His covenant rebelled and followed the worship of Baal and his system (Luke 11:47-48; Acts 6:43 and 52).
Continuing in verse 4 he notes that despite the many people of Israel who were disobedient to his express grace (that is, they were ungrateful to his kindness by doing works of Satan), yet He said, "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal." That's what true grace manifests.
He then adds in verse 5, "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Just like in the past, there were those who stood up for Yahweh and served Yahweh. In our age today there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Did you understand that? The Apostle Paul is saying it was GRACE that made the difference between those who stood for Yahweh and those who stood for Baal. They did not overcome in the energy of the flesh. They did not do it by the energy of the law, because the law has no power to help one to overcome sin - it only points sin out (Rom. 3:19-20) - but by the righteousness and power of His grace (verse 21).
Continuing in Chapter 1 1, verse 6, the Apostle Paul states very candidly and unmistakably that all good works and rejection of the Satanic-Baalish system were not done by lawkeeping or by any kind of act, except the responsive act of grace. The system of Baal is not of the Spirit but of the flesh, Romans 6:12, Galatians 5:25.
The common definition of grace just cannot fit here. To further compound the problem, in verse 6 he states (this is the verse grace peddlers use out of context when in actuality this verse teaches that grace does indeed include righteous deeds), "And if by grace, then it is no more (of) works: otherwise grace is no more grace: but if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
If you will only grasp the sound exegesis of the Apostle Paul here and throw aside the eisegesis, you will never have to wonder again how to define grace. You will be confident in knowing you have all the prophets and apostles on your side in the definition of grace as they taught it, indeed as your Savior and mine delivered it to them.
What Works Are and Are Not
Verse 6 tells the whole story. The grace peddlers are right in this much: verse 6 is literally saying as they state that grace cannot be mixed with works - this fact is readily and heartily admitted. Where they err is what they understand to be "works" here.
They see works as including the Ten Commandments, baptism, feast days, and tithing. But this presents an insurmountable and everlasting impasse if this were the correct interpretation of verse 6 of Romans 11. Let us reason together.
Scripture says the "Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica, that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so." Let us therefore look at the Scriptures.
First of all, "works" in verse 6 is speaking not of commandments of any sort - be it adultery, lying, murder, Sabbath keeping, Feast Days or baptism. The Apostle is rather making sure that it is understood that for the prophets in the past and we at present, when we overcome sin it is not by our works - that is, the energy of the flesh, our own toil or any effort on our part in the deed performed.
This fact is attested and verified by the meaning of the Greek word ergon (No. 2041, Strong,s Concordance Greek Dictionary) from which the word in question-work-is translated. The word ergon (work) is not concerned with what is being kept but rather denotes simply "effort, toil of an act or deed or labor of a person or persons."
What the Apostle is saying in a nutshell is this: Elijah (EliYah) along with all the prophets and faithful people who refrained from committing all these atrocious sins of Baal against Yahweh did not do so by works. The faithful did not murder the prophets, worship other elohim, offer up children to Moloch, or commit wantonness such as killing of Abel because he kept the Passover, Hebrews 11:4. These believed Yahweh and relied upon His word.
The whole of Hebrews verifies that all the good acts of all the prophets were through faith, for the just shall live by faith (Heb. 10:38, chapter 11). Their righteousness included baptism as He commanded, not hating their brother in their heart as Yahshua commanded, and loving Him purely, and not being wolves in sheep clothing.
In other words, I, Paul, want you to fully understand that all that I just said in verses 1-5 of how the Prophet EliYah did not bow to Baal, etc., that it is not to be misconstrued in the least iota to mean that any of these men did it by their works, toil or energy.
All this was done, as you also are presently doing, by grace-plus nothing, minus nothing-no human work involved. That means not by the strength of the flesh, but by Him who has created them as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17); by Him who has begun a good work in them and carries out the work by his own power. Remember that it is Yahweh Who has begun a good work (grace) in you, (and) will perform it until the day of Yahshua the Messiah. Therefore, "Examine the things that are excellent: that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of the Messiah, being filled with the fruits of righteousness that are by Yahshua [note this, fruits are by Yahshua the Messiah unto the glory and praise of Yahweh" (Phil. 1:6, 10, 11).
Further, Paul writes, "For it is Yahweh who works in you [not your own works that are filthy, but the works of grace being reflected in your life] both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). Paul effectively told the Romans, "I want you to understand that what EliYah did, you can do, too. But you must understand that this cannot be done by any strength of your own, it is all of grace. The prophets overcame sin and were obedient by grace, for without Him they could do nothing, for He is their strength [John 15:5, Phil. 4:13].
"Listen, you Romans, in a nutshell it goes like this: Yahshua is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He 'quickens' you to see His grace and He empowers you to walk worthy of it, HalleluYah! [Eph.2:1, 2] and not to trample and despise it" [Eph. 5:28-32, Heb. 10:29].
Grace Includes Our Responsibility
Let no one deceive you. There is nothing more dangerous than a white lie or half truth. Let us teach the whole counsel of Yahweh and reveal His true way-the way that was first lost through Adam and Eve. He has come by His grace shown, for we were worthy of death and He was merciful unto us. Let us not trifle with His grace.
Certain doctrines are vital to our eternal welfare, and the true doctrine of grace is one. The Apostle Paul said that while Yahweh has given us the power to overcome, it is up to us to utilize this power and "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12).
Obviously, the Apostle knows that there is an appreciative responsibility of grace to be acted out on our part, by utilizing the power enacted at Calvary. Will you utilize that power by the indwelling Holy Spirit and overcome sin, realizing that we who are under grace should not live under the dominion of sin any longer? (Rom. 6:2)
Note in a moment a solemn warning from a passage on grace, conclusively showing that even more penalty is in store for us if we do not utilize the power of grace offered and available to us and live even better and do even more righteous acts than those who were under the "Law of Moses."
For you see, the painful death of His Son was theoretical in the Old Testament, but manifested in the New. Therefore, Yahweh demands more appreciation for His dearly beloved Son's sacrifice.
Will you obey the force of the following scriptural injunction? Leave the energy of your human works and trust in the power of His grace, which enables you to overcome, and you need not worry about the following verses.
When you have done all you can in humbling to the power of His Spirit (He will not force you-you must do it as He prompts) you can say like the Apostle Paul, "I have kept the faith, I have fought a good fight, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness and not only me, but unto all them that love His appearing." Do you love His appearing? Then be not guilty of the following warning concerning His grace.
I also humbly submit this to grace peddlers as to what true grace is. Hebrews says: "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, (for He is faithful that promised,) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works [grace must manifest itself in fruitful living]. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is [grace will make you do the good deed of attending services]; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy ... of how much sorer punishment, suppose you shall be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of Yahweh, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith [You] were sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite [insult] unto the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:22-29.
A contextual aspect of grace is shown in the chart below, showing Yahweh's part and man's part as equally called grace in Scripture. This may be a surprise to grace peddlers. For those who are sincerely ignorant, may their eyes be opened like Saul and see that grace initiates, works out and completes the life of the believer.
Below is a chart showing how the Apostles use charis , grace. You will note it is used in regard to man's producing good works. At the same time charis is used of Yahweh in producing a good work that we could not produce-that being the sacrifice of His Son, an act favorable to our benefit.
Grace includes the demand that we merit His grace by showing a favorable response to (from a thankful, life-reflective viewpoint) His favor shown us. He did not have to show merit to us as we had fallen short and were not receiving of another chance when Adam and Eve failed.
Those Who Lived Pure Lives in Scripture
Here is a million dollar question, as some call it. Can we be righteous 100 percent before Yahweh? Let us call five witnesses to the stand. You read their testimony and you be the judge.
[Note: We are supposed to be the children of Abraham by faith. Killing was a deed that faithful Abraham did not practice. Our Savior calls it a work of Satan. See Hebrews 11 for Abraham's faithful life].
We are told that revelation is the closing saga in the canon of Scripture. It is only fitting, therefore, that Yahshua will be the book's Author. It is the revelation of Him to John. Read His words to the Philadelphia Assembly. It cannot be denied He is talking of the works of grace, especially when you compare the other assemblies that are practicing Jezebel's system, a system of evils like fornication and witchcraft. (Rev. 2:20, Thyatira Assembly)
Yahshua (through John): "I know your works: Behold I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name" (Rev. 3:8; see also Rev. 3:9-1 1).
It should be noted that Yahshua told the Sardis Assembly, "I have not found your works perfect before Yahweh" (Rev. 3:2). Bear in mind they are already in grace, but were erring in not reflecting good acts, but going in the way of Jezebel (wicked acts of dis-grace).
Now I must turn to those who feel that the grace peddlers are wrong and the law must stand, that we are under grace but we must keep the law, etc. The end of the booklet addresses the wrong teachings, albeit good intentions (and I believe that many grace peddlers are of good intent also, but some are Satan's agents), of those who add law and grace upon the believer. I want to make an uncompromising statement: Law is the enemy of grace-not its companion-without the shed blood of Yahshua.
Treading the Law-Grace Line
The questions for this section are:
It would be remiss in this booklet to only have rebuked the grace peddlers, which are not grace people at all, but rather licentious peddlers turning the grace of Yahweh into licentiousness, Jude 4, Romans 6:1 and 15. Licentious means, "to be free to act how one feels, to have license to do or say as one sees fit, absent of moral restraint; authority to do any act."
I know what follows will not sit well with many who are strong adherents of the idea of "eternal" Ten Commandments, called the law, which are said to have been "written in heaven before the foundation of the world."
Even more astounding is the fact that almost all Sabbath-keeping Assemblies' position and those of Arminianist persuasion who worship on Sunday base their teachings on these erroneous claims.
After the final conflict, when sin will be no more, we shall sing and shout that glorious Name when we say as recorded in Holy Writ, "HalleluYah" (meaning literally "praise you Yah"). Who says that the Name is not in the New Testament even though it is not in the extant copies, yet we have the Name there in the word halleluyah, which shows the Sacred Name was in the originals (Rev. 19:1, 4 and 6).
Many have erred in believing that the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17 applies only to the Moral Law, a teaching not exegetical nor contextual. The fact is, the Sermon on the Mount speaks of all elements of the law and is really speaking of the whole law found in the law of Moses, and not exclusively the Ten Commandments.
This error has been made by Sabbath keepers and others in numerous places. Their reasoning is obvious. They want to do away with all ceremonial laws, health laws, etc., and just maintain the moral law, which just cannot be done. The Apostle Paul, when defending a paid ministry, echoed the following: "Say I these things as a man or says not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, You shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn" (I Cor. 9:8-9). In Matthew 5:17, when our Savior said, "Think not that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets," He was referring to the Law or Book of Moses. The context and enumeration that follow prove this point.
Yahshua the Messiah Upholds Mosaic Law
Where truth lies, we must humble ourselves. However, this should not bar us from seeing straight truth when sound exegesis is done. Many notions regarding what Scripture means when referring to law are far off base in limiting it to only the Moral Law.
From page 12 of McClain's book, I quote: "The Sermon on the Mount is an interpretation, in part of the same Mosaic Law, with special reference to its original meaning. This is clear from our [Master's] words in Matthew 5:17-19: "Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so. . . ." It is the Mosaic law referred to in verses 17 and 18 that asserts that not "one jost or one tittle" of it can pass away.
"In his Sermon on the Mount our [Savior] is not abolishing the Mosaic law and putting in its place another law of his own, as some superficially suggested. On the contrary, He is reaffirming in the strongest kind of language the unity and inviolability of the Mosaic law. Furthermore, if we examine the Sermon on the Mount carefully, it becomes clear that all three elements of the Mosaic law are present.
"That the moral element is present needs no special argument, for the greater part of the sermon is devoted to this element. It is not so generally recognized that the ceremonial element of the Mosaic law is also present. Verses 23 and 24 of Matthew 5 speak of the 'altar' and also the 'gift' brought by the worshipper to the altar. This is the language of sacrifice, made clearer by the American Standard Version, 'If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar (v. 23).' H.A.W. Meyer translates as follows, 'If you, then are about to present your sacrifice . . .' And Alford declares that 'the whole language is Jewish, and can only be understood by Jewish rites.
"It is also very clear that the Sermon on the Mount contains references to the Civil Element of the Mosaic law. In Matthew 5:21 our [Savior] speaks of certain offenders being 'in danger of the judgment.' The judgment referred to is 'that of the local courts of Deuteronomy 16:18' and the phrase 'in danger' means 'legally liable to.' In the next verse our [Master] says that certain other offenders would be 'in danger of the council.' The 'council' here is without question the great court of the Sanhedrin. The local Jewish courts had the power of capital punishment, but the special penalty of stoning was reserved for the Sanhedrin.
"We are thus in the realm of Jewish Civil jurisprudence as outlined in the Mosaic law. See Numbers 11:16 for the probable origin of the Sanhedrin, composed of 70 members. Furthermore, we find in Matthew 5:35 a reference to Jerusalem as the 'city of the great King,' indicating the central seat of civil authority in the theocratic kingdom which that city was historically and will be once again in the future re-establishment of the kingdom according to the Old Testament Prophets. Not only are the three elements of the Mosaic law present in the Sermon on the Mount, but the penalties of that law also appear. Our [Savior] obeyed the Mosaic law. He came not to destroy this law but to 'fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). Whatever else may be included in this pregnant statement, it certainly includes obedience.
"When He went to Jordan for baptism, He silenced the protests of John the Baptist by saying, 'Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness' (Matt. 3: 1 5). The 'righteousness' here is that which is required by law. The baptism of John was based on the bath 'in water' required by the law for those defiled (Num. 19:19). Our [Master's] submission to the ritual bath signified not His own need of cleansing but rather His identification with His sinful people. As He reminded John, 'It becometh us,' not Himself alone. After all, His submission to John's baptism is not any more startling than His participation in the Jewish Passover. Both should speak to us of His identification with His people, certainly not to any taint of uncleanness in Him.
"Finally, as He approached the hour of His death, He commanded His disciples to 'prepare us the Passover' (Luke 22:8) in accordance with the requirements of strict Mosaic law. Every detail of that coming Feast had to be fulfilled. If 'sin' is the transgression of the law, we also are reminded in the same context that 'in Him is no sin' (I John 3:4-5).
"[Yahshua] commanded others to obey the Mosaic law. Here the classic reference is Matthew 5:17-19 where He commands the obedience to that law down to the 'least' of its commandments. The required obedience included, first submission to the moral element as indicated in our [Master's] demand of the rich young ruler to 'keep the commandments' referring to the second table of the law (Matt. 19:17-19). That He also required obedience to the ceremonial element is clear from His command to the cleansed leper, 'Shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded' (Matt. 8:4). And in Matthew 26 we have not only an example of our [Master's] own submission to the civil authorities, but also His command to Peter not to resist them (w. 47-52). All this was in full harmony with the injunctions of the Mosaic law which demanded respect to be shown the 'the ruler of thy people' (Ex. 22:28)."
The quotation above is totally correct.
Revelation 14:12 is another passage falsely taught. It is my hope that we may refine ourselves and realize that we must "search the Word daily to see whether these things are so." There is nothing wrong in being off-base. The Apostles themselves were at times, believing that salvation was exclusive for the Jews, particularly the Holy Spirit, in addition to believing that Gentiles were dogs, etc. (Acts 10:28).
The commandments in Revelation 14:12 include all the decrees given by the Apostles (Acts 16:4) from the simplest one found in Hebrews 10:25 (attendance at the Assembly) to the command to be baptized (Acts 2:38); from the Feast days and Sabbath day observed (I Cor. 5:7-8, Acts 12:3) to all the ordinances Paul said the Assembly should keep (1 Cor. 11:1, 2, 4); from a wife being in subjection to her husband and a husband loving his wife in order that their prayers be a acceptable and reach heaven (1 Peter 3:7) to the injunction to preach the Good News (I Cor. 9:16); from tithing and helping the poor (I Cor. 9 and 10) to avoiding living a lustful life (1 Cor. 10:6), lying, murder, rendering His Holy name void (Acts 4:12, Rev. 15:2), and any other command found in Scripture is included in Revelation 14:12. (Note very carefully that moral, civil, ceremonial rituals and health, to name a few, are manifested here.)
Concerning 2 Corinthians 3:6, McClain emphatically and with confidence declares, "No one can read 2 Corinthians 3 with an unprejudiced attitude and not see that the writer is discussing the very center of the law of [Yahweh] with its 'tables of stone' (v. 3). All this, so far as the [true] believer is concerned, has been 'done away' (v. 11); it has been 'abolished' (v. 13)."
This writer's mind is not "prejudiced." He does not feel threatened by the statement. In fact, he agrees wholeheartedly with it as expressed by Dr. McClain as far as "law as law" is concerned, a term frequently employed by McClain. However, I wish to appeal and issue a similar statement and do hope that the following will be accepted by those who readily and somewhat egotistically lift up the above statement: To those of McClain's persuasion (and there are many), note him further,
"No one can read 2 Corinthians 3 with an unprejudiced attitude and not see that the writer is discussing the very center of the law of Yahweh, formerly written on tables of stone (v.3) and with 'ink' (presumably book of Moses) and not see that while its obedience as law [which does not guarantee circumcision of the heart or spirit] as law which is not of faith [done from the inner being] is now done away with from that system [temporary until the Messiah should come]; that the same principles are now written in our heart 'with the spirit of the living Elohim' [v. 3] which is not of the letter but of the spirit [grace, v. 6]."
A crucial point here also is that the best of us are fallible. Dr. McClain fails to notice the Greek word used by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, notably verse 6, where it speaks of the "New Testament" by the Spirit. There are two Greek words from which we get the word "new" as translated in verse 6, neos and kainos.
Neos means basically new or not known before, an entirely new covenant. On the other hand, kainos means a renewal, to renew (as under a different concept), to refresh, revitalize. It is vital to note that the Apostle utilizes kainos and not neos. And why not? It is only the spirit of grace that has changed and the transition of the animal sacrifice to His sacrifice, but moral, civil, ceremonial rituals and health laws, to name a few, are still with us.
Obviously, there is only one way to explain this dilemma. Simply put it is this: while the items used in the Mosaic system were nailed at Calvary, without doubt the principles are still with us under grace. In effect, it is not the abrogation of the actual law, but the conceptualization of the same, that being Yahshua becoming the focus and embodiment of the moral law from which we pattern and imitate rather than the legal and written one. You see, the Bible does not have a conflict with Moses. We are the ones who do. That is why the Apostle Paul could have utilized an injunction of Moses under grace in 1 Corinthians chapters 9 and 10 without any inhibitions.
No Assembly, in fact, no evangelism, can be carried on without monetary support in any dispensation or time. No growing in grace can be effected if members fail to attend services. Yahweh who is holy has always instituted washings of some sort. And He was not about to eradicate washings from the grace dispensation for it is an inherent nature in Him.
I do not think that it was coincidental that blood and water came out from Yahshua the Messiah's body. I believe also that Yahweh was not fiddling or joking when He said in I Peter 3:21, "Baptism answers to a good conscience toward Yahweh, by the resurrection of Yahshua the Messiah."
Many are saying grace, grace, grace only. Yahshua warns of those who's consciences have become seared as with a "hot iron." Check your conscience. It may not answer to the "resurrection of Yahshua" who gracefully died for your sins to give you life.
Health principles are also admonished under grace (I Cor. 6:20; Phil. 4:8).
As to Civil Law, the principles remain. We are told to punish those who do not abide by sound doctrine and to put them out of the Assembly, I Corinthians 5:5.
As to annual Feast days, the Apostle Paul, who was as stated by many the best promoter of grace, did not think he was fallen from grace when he kept an annual Feast day (Day of Atonement-fast) aboard a ship. Obviously the Feast days are within the context of grace, unless the Apostle slipped a cog.
Now some believe that the Apostles were going through a transitional period. For the sake of argument, even assuming without conceding that this was the case, we still have a dilemma here. First, they did this for at least 30 years after Calvary. The Philippians also participated in Feast days like Unleavened Bread. This New Testament Assembly met on the Sabbath and on the holy days with the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Second, if Paul could teach law-keeping all his life-so long a time after Calvary it is impossible to denounce anyone today as "fallen from grace" who worships on the Sabbath or keeps the Feast days.
Bear in mind that Paul would not have tolerated, and he did give no quarter to the Jews who were still initiating circumcision, sacrifices, and certain useless rituals like handwashing. These ordinances he saw as enemies of grace, the other laws he did not. Therefore the best we can say is that we are not bound to keep certain things. But in no way can anyone who practices such be accused as anti-grace, as this implicates the Apostles also. I would hope, however, that in the future we rightly apply Revelation 14:12.
I was brought up being taught emphatically that Sunday is the "Lord's Day." As an elder in the Baptist Church, the pastor will emphasize the importance of attending the sanctuary on Sunday. He always reminded us that this is "the day that the Lord has made." We were always welcomed with, "Welcome to another Lord's Day" (the day belonging to Him for worship).
Now when Sabbath keepers similarly say in their Assemblies, "Welcome to another Sabbath day," I wonder whether Sunday keepers are trying to fool us and sweep aside the issue with their blanket charge of "legalism."
If the statements I have lived with supporting the Sunday concept and the arguments I have seen are not the same legalism hurled against those who contend for Sabbath keeping, then I have not seen any. E. J. Daniels, the great Baptist who conducted evangelism in the Virgin Islands, even wrote a book emphasizing the importance of keeping Sunday holy.
Just recently on our local Nightline program, two evangelists called in to condemn the dances and shows being done on the "Lord's day," and warned the public, "God is going to bring His wrath on them one day." If that is not believing in a certain "day," then I do not know what is!
Do We Pick and Choose the Law?
I do not concur that many of us have overemphasized the law. The common belief that the law was operating in heaven is not true. Take a look at the second commandment, for instance, which says, "For I Yahweh your Elohim am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me." Now, in light of the fact that angels are not given in marriage, are not fathers (Luke 20:23), this law could not have been governing the heavenly Kingdom.
I believe the Scripture when it says, "The law was added because of transgression" to mean exactly what it says (Gal. 3:19). It is true, however, that all the principles or concepts of the moral, civil, health and sacrificial law were in heaven.
Some have stated that this verse refers to the ceremonial law, which was added because of transgression of the Ten Commandments. The editor of the Holy Name Bible so believes this that he even interjected it in Scripture in brackets.
I do not pretend to know more than those who have spent years studying and praying over this matter and I will not venture to be destructive but rather constructive in my adverse position of the Holy Name Bible here. If there is one thing I have learned from the critics, of which there are many, is that we lack a basic understanding of "law" in its entirety.
Scholarship is scholarship no matter who presents it and I am one who constantly tries to avail himself of the "pros" and "cons" of an issue. When all the factors are set before me, I then ask for Spirit-filled guidance and seek the wisdom from on high-barring all my prejudices, denominational viewpoints and letting the chips fall where they may.
I must humbly say that when the smoke clears, the chips are against us soundly in the field of what is law and what it includes. I respect the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and also the Worldwide Church of God, which compose the two largest Sabbath Arminianism bodies in the world. Yet, I am embarrassed by their teachings (and others' also) given me, particularly Adventists, on Matthew 5:17, which I have dealt with in an earlier part of this booklet.
I thank Almighty Yahweh that I constantly search for truth and am always willing to open myself to scrutiny and to sound scholarship. I now know that Matthew 5:17 is not the moral law as is echoed by these well-meaning people, but rather the whole law. Numerous instances like this abound in Sabbath literature.
A detailed study of Galatians chapter 3 will show that the Apostle is dealing with the Jews who are trying to make circumcision the "blood ratifier" of the covenant, including moral, civil, ceremonial, etc. One should avail oneself of Jewish literature to see how important blood was in circumcision and how the Jewish concept of it negated the blood of the Messiah.
When the Apostle uses law in Galatians it is the whole law in question, period! Romans chapter 3 and 4 is exactly the same arguments as Galatians 3 and unquestionably the Apostle is adamant against confusing grace with law of any sort. He lumps circumcision (Rom. 3: 1) and the oracle (law) (Rom. 3:2, Rom. 3:20, 28) in one basket. He declares, "Whatsoever the law says, it says to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before Yahweh. For by the law (moral, civil, ceremonial, etc.) is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteous of Yahweh without law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets," Romans 3:21.
Verse 22 of Romans is tantamount to verse 24 of Galatians 3. Moreover, we have always equated Mount Sinai with the moral law. In verse 19 of Galatians 3 the reference to Mt. Sinai and the angels is mentioned. Compare this with Acts 7:38 and 52. Also see Romans 5:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:7-11.
Finally, it seems to me that if we were to be redeemed from under the law (used both in Romans and Galatians), it must of necessity include not only the ceremonial, but also the moral law. I have trouble seeing how the ceremonial law alone could have been our schoolmaster to teach us the full nature of Yahshua the Messiah. (Note: in Galatians the words "to bring us" in the King James Version are extraneous.) It seems equally true that the moral law, etc., was our tutor until grace in light of careful study of Romans and other related passages, especially I Timothy 1:6-9).
When one comes to the Savior, one realizes that past sins one has committed have been paid by the blood of our precious Redeemer. We no longer have to concern ourselves with the offering of bulls and goats as the price for sins. The blood of the Savior covers our sins and we are no longer under the death penalty. The grace of Yahweh has covered our sins with the blood of Yahshua Messiah, for "without the shedding of blood there is no remission," Hebrews 9:22. Through the shed blood of the Redeemer we can face life joyfully, knowing that He paid the penalty of death for our transgressions.
"Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" asks Paul, Romans 6:1. Certainly if we are saved from death by the grace of Yahweh through the death of His Son, then it would stand to reason that the more sin there is, the more grace can be given. And the more grace that is extended to humankind, the more glory Yahweh gets.
But Paul says, "By no means! If we have died to sin how can we live in sin?" We are not to allow our carnal nature to determine the kind of life we are to live. In verse 2 he says we are dead to sin, and verse 4 we are to walk in newness of life, that is, the spiritual life of a believer.
The fact is Paul met all attempts to place the believer "under law" with force. Sometimes he merely dealt with one aspect or element of the law over the other, but in just about every instance, he had the "whole law" in mind from the Mosaic law.
Even when Yahshua dealt with the rich young ruler and quoted a section of moral law, it was from a book of Moses. When he stated the greatest commandment in "the law," it was from the book or law of Moses-one unit with various elements. To complete the reading in Timothy, "Understanding [those who teach that law emphasis is on moral here] neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully [in its full penal setting and all its rules and death, sacrifices; we who are saved by grace are not under the death penalty.]"
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man [we serve in spirit not by legislative rules of restraint], but for the lawless and disobedient and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murders of fathers [well-intentioned as law keepers may be, it is an encroachment on the efficacy of our Savior, His blood, and His spirit of grace when we teach law as the rule to obey Him. We serve from the obedience "of faith."] of mothers, liars and if there be any other thing contrary to sound doctrine" [law is for the unbeliever, for the believer is not under such].
To those who may be upset over this study and are followers of Yahweh, like myself, I especially appeal to you in this final illustration. I hope you get the point of why law can be the enemy of grace, just as how the so-called grace peddlers push grace to the point of licentiousness, which is also the enemy of biblical grace.
Consider the following drama: Yahshua is standing at an intersection. Alongside stands a policeman bound to uphold the law. All 10 drivers in the cars stop at the red light. The policeman places his gun back into his holster, for as far as he is concerned, they have satisfied the law.
Yahshua walks over and arrests six of the 10 drivers. The policeman is appalled and bewildered and asks Yahshua: "They stopped and obeyed the law, why on earth did you arrest six of them?" Yahshua righteously replies, "Because only four stopped at the light of grace."
Grace is given to us by Yahweh without any merit or earning such on our part. His favor or grace is free and is in the redemptive mercy shown in His Son Yahshua. Greater grace is given to those who let the Scripture speak truthfully to them and they allow the Spirit to work within as they humbly turn away from the world and follow Yahshua. "Yahweh resists the proud but gives grace to the humble," James 4:6.
Instead of searching for a legal reason for obeying the law, why not look at things as an obedient child seeking ways to please his parents out of love for them. Motivation to please Yahweh and His Son Yahshua should stem from a sincere desire to want to acknowledge the grace that has been extended to you. By His grace He gave you a deeper knowledge of the Bible and a clearer understanding of the exceeding great and precious promises to become a veritable son or daughter of the Heavenly Father. Pure love for Yahweh, because He has given you life and has made this earth a means of sustaining that life, should prompt us to turn to Him out of gratitude. With such an attitude of love and devotion we are all motivated to perform acts of kindness and love to Him and also to our fellow man.
This is in sharp contrast to obeying the law in even the smallest facet so that we can glory in the righteousness we have in lawkeeping. This Pharasaical attitude is the wrong motive for pleasing Yahweh. We are to serve Him humbly out of love and gratitude. By accepting His grace we acknowledge His love for us through His Son as we become the Savior's footstep followers.
Will you join us in that narrow pathway?