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The Law of Moses
an Unspeakable Blessing to Israel

by Philip Mauro

Text: Romans 7:12

"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."

And now as regards the character of God's dealings with those who were under the Law and the character of the Law itself, it is difficult indeed to account for and more difficult to speak calmly of, the terms of disparagement and strong repugnance in which the leaders of the dispensationalists express themselves when speaking of the Law of God. Of our Lord it was prophesied that He should "magnify the law and make it honorable," but the aim of many of His ministers in these days seems to be to belittle the law and make it detestable.

Take a few specimens from the writings of prominent dispensationalists: "The Law is a ministry of condemnation, death, and the divine curse." So says the Scofield Bible (notes to Gal 3:24). But does God's Bible speak that way? We shall see. And another leading dispensationalist declares that, "The law was the instrument of condemnation, and only that." In fact, the leaders among the dispensationalists seem to take a delight - not as did the Psalmists, "in the Law of the Lord" Ps. 1:2, but - in inveighing in terms of strongest reprobation against it.

In support of this view of the Law, reference is commonly made to certain passages in Galatians, and also to the seventh Chapter of Romans, which are misinterpreted in such a way as to cause them to render a semblance of support to that view. But before we examine those passages let us get the Scripture, which is clear and unequivocal, as to what the character of the Law actually is.

We have already cited the testimony of Moses that the Law delivered at Sinai was God's love-gift to the people (Deut. 33:3). It is further stated in that inspired record of "the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death," that "they sat down at Thy feet; every one shall receive of Thy words" (v. 3). And he goes on to say: "Moses commanded us a law," and that that law is "the inheritance of Jacob" V. 4.

A number of passages earlier in the Books of Moses reveal that the law was given as a means of life. Thus, in Deuteronomy 4:1, Moses exhorts Israel to hearken to the statutes and judgments which (he says) "I teach you for to do them, that ye may live." (And to the same effect see Leviticus 18:5.) And concerning God's law he says: "For this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. . . . For what nation is so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law" Deut- 4:6-8. Thus the Law of God was given the people of Israel to be their life; and it constituted their wisdom, their understanding, and their greatness in the sight of all other nations. And a little farther on Moses says: "And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive . . . . And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments." Deut. 6:24, 25. And he tells them that it was because the Lord loved them that He had redeemed them out of Egypt; and that "He is the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep his commandments" Deut 6:8,9. Thus, were to love Him, because He first loved them; and they were to manifest their love by keeping his commandments. And is it any different now? Is it not written, "We love Him, because He first loved us, I John 4:19? And does not our Lord say to us, even as he said to them "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" John 14:15?

Finally, before leaving Moses, we call attention to Deuteronomy 30:11-20, where he tells the people that the commandment which was to be their life, was not hidden from them (for God had revealed it to them) nor was it far off. It was not in heaven, neither was it beyond the sea; but it had been brought very nigh to them that they might hear it and do it. "And His commandments are not grievous, now (I John 5:3); nor were they grievous then. For on that occasion Moses gave as the great commandment of the law, "to love the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments" (cf. Matt. 22:37). And he repeats in verse 20 the exhortation that they would "love the Lord," and "obey His voice"; and for the reason that "He is thy life, and the length of thy days."

According to Paul, the word which Moses had said was "nigh" into them, not afar off (in heaven or across the sea) was the very same "word of faith which we preach" Rom. 10:8-13; citing in proof thereof two 0.T. passages: "Whosoever believeth in Him shall not be ashamed" Isa. 28:16; and "Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved" Joel 2:32.

Likewise Peter testifies that the things ministered by the prophets during the era of the Law are the same that are now proclaimed by those who preach the Gospel (I Pet. 1:12).

We are not saying, of course, that it is not a far better thing to be under Grace than under Law; for truly God has "provided some better thing for us" Heb. 11 :40, but we are seeking the testimony of God's Bible as to the character of His law, which the "Scofield Bible" grievously maligns; and its testimony as to just what it meant to the Israelites to be under the law of God instead of being left to their own ways, as were the heathen all around them. And we have seen that Moses, the mediator of that Old Covenant, declared to them repeatedly that, in the possession of the law of God they were unspeakably blessed, and chiefly in that it provided a way of life for all who set their hearts to obey it.

Looking a little further we note that the Book of Psalms opens with a glowing reference to the blessedness of the man whose "delight is in the law of the Lord," and who meditates in it "day and night" Ps. 1:2. And there are other passages, not a few, which testify that the law of God was a thing in which the heart of man could (and therefore should) find delight, and find also profitable meditations continuously (Job 23:12; Ps 119:70,77,92,174).

Now as to the effects of the law, so far from it being true that it was "the instrument of condemnation and only that," or "a ministry of condemnation, death, and the divine curse," (as Dispensalists have declared [Ed.]) the testimony of the Holy Spirit is that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul"; and that "the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" Ps. 19:7,8. And the same Psalm declares as to the value of the commandments and judgments of the Lord, that they are "More to be desired than gold. Yea, than much fine gold" - more intrinsically valuable than great quantities of the richest treasures of earth - and that, so far from being distasteful and obnoxious, they are "sweeter also than honey and the droppings of honeycombs" (v. 10, marg.).

The writer of Psalm 119 adds his testimony that there are wondrous things to be seen in the law (v. 18) ; that it was better to him "than thousands of gold and silver" v. 72 that he loved it beyond his power to express (v. 97) that by its precepts he got understanding, and learned thereby to hate every false way (v. 104) ; and that "great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them" (v. 165 ).

Solomon too bears witness that "the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light" Prov. 6:23 ; and that "the law of the wise is a fountain of life" Prov. 13:14. Light and life were surely there for all who sought them; and many sought and found. Solomon also records the words, "Keep My commandments and live, and my law as the apple of thine eye" Prov. 7:2.

Isaiah, in foretelling some of the glorious things that Christ (whom God designates in that passage as "My Servant") should accomplish, says that God had given Him "for a light of the Gentiles"; and that "He will magnify the law and make it honorable" Is. 42:6,21. Is not this a rebuke to those who traduce the law and make it despicable?

Likewise during the Babylonian captivity God, in recounting the great things He had wrought for Israel and His many acts of mercy on their behalf, emphasizes the giving of the law as one of the chief of them, saying: "And I gave them my statutes and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them" Ezek. 20:11.

Also through Hosea, God, in recounting the offences of Israel, said: "I have written to him the great things of My law; but they were counted as a strange thing" Hos. 8:12. And through the very last of the prophets of Israel, and in almost the last words of his message, God calls to them: "REMEMBER YE THE LAW OF MOSES MY SERVANT, WHICH I COMMANDED UNTO HIM IN HOREB FOR ALL ISRAEL, WITH THE STATUTES AND JUDGMENTS" Mal. 4:4.

Is it possible in the face of these testimonies to maintain that the law was "imposed" upon Israel because of their own improvident choice? that "At Sinai they exchanged Grace for Law; they rashly accepted the law"? or that "The Law is a ministry of condemnation, death, and the divine curse," an instrument of "pitiless severity"? If not, shall we allow these false and derogatory things concerning the holy, life-giving and soul-enlightening law of our God to be any longer preached and taught amongst us without earnest protest on our part?

This is a serious matter indeed; and therefore I trust that my readers may be moved to join in a solemn protest against the further publication and sale of a book that many unwary children of God accept as a "Bible," and which contains so grievous a misrepresentation - amounting to a vilification - of the holy Law of God.

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