Fred R. Coulter—June 12, 2010

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Let me ask you a question: What was the first thing that Jesus said to Satan during the forty days of temptation? Now remember, He was God manifested in the flesh. He took on human nature, so what was the first thing—because He was tempted? 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but every Word of God.' That's why we have the words of God here for us.

Let's come now to Psalm 138. Let's see something about the Word of God and let's see why Jesus said that as the place to begin. Psa. 138 really tells us a lot of things, because what God is interested in, He's interested in you personally and a personal relationship with you so that you can become a son or daughter of God. In other words, our whole purpose in life is to develop the character of God through the Spirit of God, so that at the resurrection we will become like God. Obviously, not like God the Father and Jesus Christ in glory and honor and splendor and authority, but God is a family. That should tell us the reason He created us male and female, so there would be families. The family unit is what God uses likewise in His plan.

What we need to understand is how God views His Word. So right here Psalm 138:1 tells us: "I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praise to You. I will worship toward Your Holy temple..." (vs 1-2).

And today where is that temple? In heaven! That's why the New Covenant is so much greater. We have access direct to God. The children of Israel never did, they came to the temple. They had their sins justified at the temple. God sort of accumulated those so when Jesus died, that paid for all of those sins. Now we have direct access to God the Father in heaven above through prayer, daily prayer. They also know this. They've run a lot of brain research. You know how they do it, they put all these sensors and hook them up on the skull. They found that when people pray a certain part of their brain is activated. Quite an amazing thing! That makes me wonder—I don't know what part of the brain it was, but that has to be where the spirit of man is and also where the Spirit of God unites with the spirit of man so that we become a child of God.

"...we worship toward Your Holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness, and for Your Truth… [Everywhere we went in the book of John was Truth, Truth, Truth!] (Now here's the key part, this next sentence): ...for You have magnified Your Word above all Your name" (v 2). That's how important God's Word is. This is a good one to remember for sacred-namers who say you've got to have the sacred names. That's why I gave the sermon, The Sacred Names for the New Testament—is Father and Jesus Christ.

[Discussion and questions from audience]

In other words, for mankind the Word of God and how to live is the most important thing. The name of God, under the covenant with Israel, were many names of God. There was YHVH, which can be Yahweh, Yahwe, there's even Yah Jehovah. But, you see, even Abraham, Isaac and Jacob didn't know him by Yahweh, they knew Him only by El Shaddai, God Almighty. So that's an Achilles heel for the sacred namers, because if it's required to know the name Yahweh and Jewish translators say, 'Oh, we don't even know how to pronounce it,' so how can you know? If that's required for salvation to use Yahweh, then how's Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob going to be in the Kingdom of God, when He didn't reveal Himself as Yahweh at that point? So you can kind of keep that in mind with it. In other words, God's Word for us reflects the mind and the character of God, which then is greater than His name. And in the New Testament we are to be in a personal relationship with God. That's why He's our Father.

So he says: "In the day when I cried, You answered me and made me bold with strength in my soul.... [Then it goes on into things like into the Millennium] ...All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, when they hear the words of Your mouth.... [So there we have the words of God again.] ...Yes, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. Though the LORD is high, yet He has respect to the lowly; but the haughty He knows far off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble..." (vs 3-7). So we'll have difficulties, like Chris said, his life was turned right side up and it looked upside down.

"...You will revive me; You shall stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand shall save me. The LORD will perfect His work in me... [Now that's really quite something, because, we'll see a little later, that ties right in with Eph. 2. He is doing a work in us.] ...Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the work of Your own hands" (vs 7-8).

He wants it [God's Word] to go out and we even have a case where He had a donkey talk to Balaam through an angel, of course. But we have to ask the question: How come years ago the Protestants seem to be closer to God than they are now? What happened in that? Let's see how Paul approached this. So Paul had the same torn emotions.

Romans 9:1: "I am telling you the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my own conscience in the Holy Spirit bears witness with me That it is a great grief to me and an unceasing sorrow in my heart, Causing me even to wish myself to be accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; Who are Israelites..." (vs 1-4). When it talks about one being a Jew in the New Testament, that's one who practices Judaism. We have a book that will be out and get you on the mailing list, you'll get it, you don't even have to ask for it. There are the other Israelites, the other eleven tribes. Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin. Not only was he the last apostle, but he was called from the least tribe, Benjamin, who was the last son of Rachel and she died in childbirth. God delights in the least. God delights in that which is small, as long as we stay small in our own eyes. Remember the story of Saul? Samuel came to him and said, 'Saul, you did good when you were small in your own eyes.' Always remember that.

Now, he says: "Who are Israelites... [So he's including all the twelve tribes. Now you can just mark in your notes there, James 1:1 where he writes the letter to whom? To the twelve tribes in the Diaspora. Now if you're going to write a letter, you know who you're writing it to—don't you? Yes! So they knew where they were at that time. They weren't lost. We're going to see that the Israelites, as well as the Jews, have a zeal for God, which will help us understand why—coupled with the promises given to Abraham—there seem to be so much success with the Protestants here in America. They did a lot of things for God, they did.] whom is the sonship and the glory, and the covenants and the giving of the law, and the service and the promises; Who are of the fathers, and from whom came the Christ according to the flesh, Who is over all—God blessed into the ages. Amen" (vs 4-5).

Then he talks about Abraham's seed, and so forth. He draws the difference between Esau and the children of Israel and that battle's still going on today. Verse 29: "Accordingly Isaiah also said before, 'Unless the Lord of hosts had left us a seed... [or small remnant. In this book I think he does a real good job that God always has a remnant. And a remnant is a few. If you recall about Elijah after he had all the prophets of Baal slain, and then the message come, Jezebel's going to be coming after you and she's going to kill you. So he fled on down to Mount Horeb and said, 'Oh, I'm here and I'm all alone.' So God finally had to speak to him in a small still voice and say, 'Now, now, Elijah, I have 7,000 men who haven't bowed the knee to Baal.' That doesn't mean they were converted, they just didn't bow the knee to Baal. So there's always a remnant. Just like when things start getting tough, God always raises up more into the remnant. That's what we're seeing happening today.] ...left us a seed, we would have become as Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.' What then shall we say?…. [So here's the question] …That the Gentiles, who did not follow after righteousness, have attained righteousness, even the righteousness that is by faith. But Israel, although they followed after a law of righteousness, did not attain to a law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but by works of law... " (vs 29-32).

Now in this coming book on Judaism [A Revelation of Moses or a Religion of Man?], you'll get a real good explanation on works of law. But most of the places you see that, that has to do with the Jewish traditional works of law, which they had for their own justification.

" works of law... [That's generally the traditional works of Judaism and falls in with Gal. 2.] ...for they stumbled at the Stone of stumbling, Exactly as it is written: 'Behold, I place in Sion a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense, but everyone who believes in Him shall not be ashamed'" (vs 32-33).

Now let's go to Romans 10. Remember there was no chapters when Paul wrote this. He also wrote in many places in what is called an ellipsis form, which means the subject stated once is understood below. So then you have to take the subject and you have to fill it in when you come to the next instance.

Romans 10:1: "Brethren, the earnest desire of my heart and my supplication to God for Israel is for salvation. For I testify of them that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (vs 1-2). Now the Jews do, the descendants of modern Israel do. They have a zeal for God and that's where Protestantism fits in today, combined with two things:

  • The blessings that God promised to Abraham, that came down to Ephraim and Manasseh
  • and we're living in them, this country.

I think if you examine it carefully and see the migrations from Europe that not only the Anglo-Saxon, but from the other nations of Europe who come from Israel, you will see that God first populated United States, which became the United States, with the children of Israel, because that was the promise given to Abraham. And what did even some of the pioneers and pilgrims say about America? The New Canaan, the 'promised land.' You read of a land flowing with milk and honey. Do we have it? Yes! A land where you eat bread without scarceness. Yes! And land where you can dig in the deep and get metal and oil, and things like that, and so forth. So they have a zeal for God. So you go to these Sunday-keeping Protestant churches, they have a zeal for God, but not according to the knowledge of God. That becomes self-deceptive, because you think you're right with God, when you're really not.

Verse 3: "For they, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God... [And that gets into New Testament things, so we'll go on from there and we'll cover that a little later.] ...and seeking to establish their own righteousness.... [Is that not what they do? Just like you asked the pastor the other day, 'Do you keep the Ten Commandments?' No. Well, what kind of righteousness do they have? Their own righteousness.] ...have not submitted to the righteousness of God." The righteousness of God covers a lot, a lot of things.

Now here is the verse that everyone stumbles with and it's not translated correctly in the King James. The King James reads, v4: "For Christ is the end of the law." They go right there and say, 'See, He ended the law.' But what is the subject? Verse 32, works of law! Works of law were the traditional laws plus the animal sacrifices at the temple. "For Christ is the end..." So I've inserted 'works of law,' because the Greek does not have the definite article.

Now just a little quick summary of a vital principle in New Testament Greek, which is this: The definite article is important. Now the Greek for law is 'nomos'; for the law, is 'ho,'—which is the—and 'nomos'—which is law.' So here it just says law, so that's why in the last appendix of the Bible we have Understanding Paul's Difficult Scriptures Concerning the Law and Commandments of God. And here's one of them. God didn't end the law. He ended the works of law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Let's combine this with something else and we will see why the Protestants were very successful until 1893, and all of you have read that Rome's Challenge to the Protestants. Isn't it ironic that they published it every Sabbath for the four weeks that it was in the Catholic Mirror?

Let's come back to Jeremiah 23:16. We're going to see something very important here. Let's follow through on this. We'll see something very important which will answer the questions: Why are the Protestants falling apart today? and Why were they so successful previously? It did look like God was with them, and, in fact, yes God was with them. But how much? God, being with them, does that necessarily mean they were all converted? Not necessarily! Conversion is another whole thing. What we want to do is see how this came about.

Jeremiah 23:16: "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you vain; they speak a vision from their own heart, not out of the mouth of the LORD." Does that happen when you go to church today? Yes! I watched a full program of Charles Stanley. You all know Charles Stanley. He did a very good job explaining how you are to trust God. Trust in the Lord, Heavenly Father will be with you, all of those things are true. Since God is no respecter of persons, that will happen for people who do according to the knowledge that they have. But what was missing, there was not missing the trust and faith in God, to believe unto obedience. He wanted them to have faith and he went through Matt. 6, God provides for the birds, and all this sort of thing, so God will provide for you. That was a correct message. People who listened to it would profit by it, but is that all there is to it?

"They still say to those who despise Me, "The LORD has said, 'You shall have peace!'" And they say to everyone who walks after the imagination of his own heart, "No evil shall come upon you!"'…. [And today we put that in parlance of Protestantism, 'Just believe and you're saved.] …For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD to see and hear His Word? Who has attended to His Word and heard it? Behold, the tempest of the LORD has gone forth in fury, a whirling tempest. It shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked…. [And living here in tornado land, you know that's like.] …The anger of the LORD shall not return..." (vs 17-20). Because there comes a point that God has stretched out His hand, He has stretched out His hand, and the people do not repent. They don't turn to God, they don't come back. So He gives them more correction and you read in Deut.28 how that correction comes.

"...until He has executed and until He has performed the purposes of His heart; in the latter days you shall understand it perfectly…. [Now we're living in the latter days—right? We will understand it perfectly. We'll see it.] (Now this becomes astounding as to why this answers the question that God had exalted His Word above His name): …'I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings'" (vs 20-22).

So that's what's happened in Protestantism. That's why you go back 50 years, you go back 100 years, if you go back into the 1600s and see some of the writings that they did. The author, I forget the title of the book, I've got a book written by a Protestant showing how to grow, how to change, how to overcome. Really, right straight down the line, right out of the Scriptures. God says, 'His Word goes out and it will accomplish what He wants.'

  • Did it help those people?
  • Were they closer to God?
  • Was God with them?

Yes, plus combined with the blessings to open up America for the inheritance promised to Abraham, so how did that come about? A remnant out of England over to Holland. Many of them were persecuted for keeping the Sabbath. So a lot of those coming here were Sabbath-keepers. So how did they come? They came on the Mayflower and you know the rest of the history there. When they got here the first thing they did, they got on their knees and thanked God. God was with them. Conversion? We don't know. We can't judge the heart. We don't know all the circumstances. The best way to find out is be in the resurrection, then you'll see who's there. But isn't it interesting?

"'I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My words... [not their words] ...then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings" (vs 21-22). So that's quite a statement—isn't it? In other words, the Truth of God is always true whenever it's spoken by anyone in any place. The question is: Are they willing to preach all the Truth? That becomes the question.

Now let's go on and see what he says here, v 23: "'Am I a God Who is near,' says the LORD, 'and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him?' says the LORD. 'Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?' says the LORD.... [Now this is not in a philosophical sense like pantheism. It's not like pantheism where God is in everything, but God fills heaven and earth with what? His creation, what He has made and He upholds it by the word of His power.] ...'I have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in My name, saying, "I have dreamed, I have dreamed." How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies and who are prophets of the deceit of their own heart? They scheme to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell, each one to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten My name for Baal'" (vs 23-27).

Baal is the sun-god. This book shows very clearly, Too Long in the Sun, that that's exactly what happened. So here God would even honor their preaching the Truth if they would. Notice, we have in both cases:

  • the Word of God first
  • then the name of God

—right? Yes! So you see how the Bible consistently comes together with everything.
Verse 28: "'The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream. And he who has My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully.... [I always remembered that. That was the theme when I was translating. That was the theme. It better be right, it better be faithful, it better be true, because it's the Word of God.] ...What is the chaff to the wheat?' says the LORD. 'Is not My Word like a fire?' says the LORD; 'and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets who steal My words each one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets who use their tongues and says, "He says," when I did not say.... [And that's the implication of it.] ...Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams and tell them, and cause My people to go astray by their lies and by their wantonness. Yet I did not send them nor command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,' says the LORD" (vs 28-32).

So that really tells you a lot of things—doesn't it? This also tells us that God is no respecter of persons. The question was: Does that apply say like going back to Augustine for the allegorical interpretation rather than the literal translation? Yes! Augustine was not the first one to do it, especially with the Old Testament. It was Philo. I think it was 20 years ago they had the first English translation of Philo and that's heavy reading. He was a Hellenistic Jew and he believed in the trinity. He was alive during the ministry of Christ. A lot of those Jews who came preaching these things were actually preaching the philosophy of Philo. He lived in Alexandria. Where did Apollos come from? Alexandria. There are just a lot of things. I ask the question when I read about Apollos. It looks like he was faithful to start with, but later on Paul couldn't even get him to return to Corinth. So I've often wondered, what happened to Apollos. Where did he go?

[Discussion and questions from audience]

Here's something interesting. Inspired allegories in the Bible relate to a Truth of God's Word, explanation of God's Word. You have parables. They are allegories about a Truth concerning the Word of God. But if you do it the other way, if you take the Truth and make it an allegory, then you've destroyed the nature of the Truth, to make it apply, 'Well, what do you think?' If you're converted and have the Holy Spirit, you're answer is probably going to be different than if you're talking to unconverted and say, 'What does this mean to you?' Maybe even the person didn't expect the minister to say, 'Well, what does it mean to you, Chris?' He said, 'Um, um, well it means this.' How many of those answers are really true and heartfelt, too?

[Discussion and questions from audience]

Come to Isaiah 28. This tells us something really very interesting when we understand it here, but I want to read a section of it out of the NIV here in just a minute. God's Word cuts both ways.

  • to the truth
  • to punishment

I don't have an NIV, never owned one. Isaiah 28:9 (Faithful Version): "'Whom shall He teach knowledge?.... [God wants us to know.] ...And whom shall He make to understand doctrine?.... [And He wants those of us to understand.] (Then He answers the question): ...Those who are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts.'"

When you're brand new, as 1-Peter 2 says, you desire the sincere milk of the Word. Unfortunately too much of Protestantism, the first time you get into it, they jump right into Gal. 2 and 3, and you're lost. So 'sincere milk of the Word,' that which you know, and then you build, and you build, and you build. Then you're ready like our youngest grandson, Samuel, he's starting to eat real food, about nine months old, and he's doing really great. A little difficulty when he was first born, he was in the hands of the doctors. As soon as they got him out of the hands of doctors and Rachelle, she has milk like just—and so he's doing great. Now he wants some food. So this shows a lesson for us that you have to come to a certain point of knowledge before you can begin to understand more difficult things.

Here's how you understand it, v 10: "'For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.'" And that's how you study. That's how we do it. We read about it in this Scripture, we read about it in this Scripture, and like you said, the verses before, the verses after, and how do they compare. When you come to understand the Word of God does not contradict itself, though there may appear to be contradictions. They can all be resolved by the Truth.

Now let me read this in the NIV, the new infamous version. Isaiah 28:9: "'Who is it He's trying to teach? To whom is He explaining His message? To children weaned from their milk and those just taken from the breast. For it is... [This is going to blow you away. ] ...Do and do, do and do; rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there'" (vs 9-10). Completely removed! Now what is this going to teach something that's wondering, 'How do I understand the Bible?' What is 'do and do?' What is 'rule on rule, a little here, a little there'? How did they get translation? I have no idea, but it certainly is not according to the Hebrew. This was the New International Version done by the committee. It's amazing! There are probably a lot of things in the New International Version that maybe I need to be aware of when I'm dealing with people. You don't know what it means, so everyone has to have faith, so you go from there.

Now let's see how this is a two-edged sword:

  • to bring the Truth to those who want it
  • to end up as punishment for those who reject it.

Verse 11: "For with stammering lips and foreign tongue... [Now you could say that's what they were saying when they did the New Testament.] ...He will speak to this people. To whom He said, 'This is the rest He gives to the weary;' and 'This is the refreshing'... [And what is this? Does that not tie in with what Jesus said, 'Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.' So this is a prophecy of the New Testament here. And this is the refreshing, and that refreshing which comes the Lord, is His Spirit, mercy, forgiveness, and so forth.] ...yet they were not willing to hear" (vs 11-12).

So this becomes a question. This is something we must provide. We must provide the willingness to hear, to listen. So then, because they didn't, here's what happens to them, the reverse process: Verse 13: "So then the Word of the LORD was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken." So it ends up in a trap. In other words, if, as we covered here in Jer. 23, if you don't faithfully handle the Word of God and follow the Word of God, it becomes a snare; it becomes a trap. And what is the easiest snare and the easiest trap? To be entrapped when you don't think you are. Then when a crisis comes you have no strength, you have no ammunition, you have no stick-to-itiveness, you have no wherewithal to do it.

Even in the Worldwide Church of God, when it fell apart there were a lot of people who were there as glad-handlers and good-time people, and when the crunch came down and the crisis came, they just quit—and that's what's happening in the Protestant churches today, quitting church. They go to church and they sit there and say, 'What am I really getting?' New people come in this door and the old people go out the other door.

[Discussion and questions from audience]

I have a little project for your study. I did this years ago and I don't know where I put the study, but with a computer you can do it pretty quickly. Take the Ten Commandments and have commandment number one. I did this on a blank sheet of paper: First commandment—then I looked at all the priest laws under that, because they fit under 'no other gods.' All the priest laws fit there. Then I took commandment #2: idolatry. Go through and you look at all the idols, images, pictures. They're all defined in the Old Testament. So what you do is you find that every one of the laws in the Old Testament come under one of the Ten Commandments.

You take #3: 'Don't take God's name in vain'; #4: the Sabbath. 'Honor your father and mother.' Then you get into some of the judgments. What happens when a man or a woman just absolutely refuses, just terribly rebellious against their parents? They were to bring them to the judge. That's all under honoring your father and mother. Then you go down with murder, adultery, and so forth.

We'll come back and we'll look at some of those laws. But I think your question was really good for them, because it shows that they didn't comprehend the law in the way in that it should be. So we'll cover that. Then we'll cover how to keep it, what it means to keep it in the spirit, and so forth.

(go to the next track)

We'll answer the question: Law, which law, what kind of law, etc., so we can at least get a framework on what you can be doing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's generally assumed by the Protestants, and I don't know the Catholics, it may be the same:

  • They assume that with the Old Testament that's how God brought salvation to the Jews. Is that generally assumed that way?
  • They assume that Judaism today is the embodiment of what's in the Bible, Old Testament.

The comment was made: They believe Christianity is the continuation of Judaism after Christ. Yes, and they bring in the theory of religious evolution, called progressive revelation. And a revelation comes along and it does away with this. Then you go a little further and it does away a little more, go a little further, does away a little more, and pretty soon you end up with the 'evangelical' Bible, like I brought out in one sermon. Two verses:

  • 'For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son.
  • 'If you believe the words of Jesus, you have passed from life to death.'

And that's all you need. Is that a fair assessment? Let's come back here to 2-Corinthians 3, because this is a very favorite place they love to go to show things are done away. When we get done with this chapter, it's going to give you a great deal of understanding as to how to view the Old Testament, and the different laws that we are talking about, which we will see are civil government laws that we have today, almost identical. Israel was a nation under God as a theocracy. But you go back to Gen. 9 and you find after the Flood that God gave the 'administration of death; to the leaders of the nations, because He said, 'Whoever kills man, shall die by the hand of man.' That's the judgment was given. We'll see that in Exodus in just a little bit here.

Every sovereign nation God has given that ability to execute and carry out laws against the evildoers. Israel was not a church. A church functions in an entirely different way. The key to remember is this: No nation can have two sovereigns within it. You must have one sovereign. That means one government, geographical territory, people that belong to it, and whatever their culture is. If you ever listen to Mike Savage, he says, borders, language, and culture. That's another way of saying sovereignty.

Now what happens with the Muslims coming in? They get in and they gradually establish a base. Now if you look at United Kingdom, they've really done it. They have become so powerful that now they're asking for another sovereign ability to judge, called Sharia Law: 'We will become a sovereign within a sovereign and we will judge ourselves, even to the point of execution.' The United Kingdom is in a very dangerous position, because there could be by election, supposedly 'moderate' Muslims elected to parliament and they become a majority. Think what would happen with that. When the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom says, 'Well, we should allow certain instances of Sharia Law to be administered by them,' which then now you have another standard. Now you have another sovereign.

So this is what we are talking about with the Old Testament. They had theological or spiritual laws of God to live by. Based under that were the civil laws to carry it out in a civil nation. Please understand, they were not called to conversion. You didn't get that until the New Testament with the exception of the prophets, and Moses, and those that Peter wrote said had the Spirit of Christ.

Now with that background, let's read here the comparison that Paul was doing in 2-Corinthians 3:1: "Do we again begin to commend ourselves? Or do we, as some, need epistles of commendation to you, or epistles of commendation from you? You are our epistle, and are inscribed in our hearts, being known and read by all men; for it is manifest that you are Christ's epistle, ministered by us; you were not inscribed with pen and ink... [Like Moses did writing down the law.] ...but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but on fleshly tablets of the heart" (vs 1-3). So he's covering the two things that you find that Moses received:

  • Ten Commandments written on tables of stone
  • Other laws on how to administer it

 He's comparing that with the New Covenant here, the New Testament.

"Now we have this confidence through Christ toward God; not that we are competent of ourselves, or credit anything to our own abilities: rather, our competency is from God.... [You'll see the humility all the way through of Paul. He ended up by saying in Eph. 3 that he was less than the least of all the saints.] ...Who also made us competent as ministers of the New Covenant..." (vs 4-6).

Covenant is different than a testament, but a covenant is agreement that is made and the sacrifice has to be made first in order for the covenant to be binding. Whereas a testament, you can have a last will and testament, but as long as you're alive and you can still scribble out different instructions, you can change it. A covenant is different. You have the sacrifice first:

  • Christ's sacrifice
  • Your sacrifice which is baptism

So you both have a covenant sacrifice unto death, New Covenant. "...not of the letter... [Boy! do they like to read that.] ...but of the Spirit... [And they don't understand what that means, because by the Spirit of God we are to have the laws written in our hearts and in our minds.] ...for the letter kills..." (v 6). Now what does he mean the letter kills? Two ways:

  •  If it's a civil law and you transgressed it, we'll see in a minute, you can suffer the death penalty according to the Old Testament.
  • But since the church is a group of believers in all nations, they cannot have the sovereign power of the death penalty.

 What is the most severe penalty that the church can mete out, which then goes against the Catholics, because they say the pope has temple power and spiritual power. He can make emperors, he can depose emperors, he can declare war, so he has made himself the dual sovereign of both. In the New Testament the sovereignty belongs in Christ and God the Father, and we go into all nations to live God's law spiritually and a relationship with God. Therefore, with the Church if there's someone who causes trouble in the church, the greatest punishment we can mete out, so we don't violate the sovereignty of any nation, is disfellowshipment. That's it! Even in the case if there's a murder.

Things got so bad in Worldwide that a minister killed his wife and committed suicide. That's certainly not the love of God. And that's because of trying to do spiritual things by carnal means will lead you to desperation, because you can't accomplish it. So the letter kills in two ways:

  • Wages of sin is death
  • If you violate a law that requires your death, Israel was given the authority to administer it.

"...but the Spirit gives life.... [And that leads to spirit life and Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,' and so forth.] ...Now if the ministry... [or administration] ...of death, which was engraved in stones... [also pen and ink.] ...came into being with glory... [And it did—didn't it? Can you imagine what it would be like to stand at the foot of Mount Sinai and look up there and it's covered with all these clouds, and here's the lightning and the thundering. God steps onto Mount Sinai and the rocks melt, so there's some lava coming down, and you're looking up there. The trumpets blowing, and the wind is blowing, and they all backed off it was such an experience that what did they say to Moses? 'Moses, you talk to us, we don't want to hear God's voice.'] that the children of Israel were not able to gaze upon Moses' face... [because when he went up to God the second forty days, after their rebellion, then he came back, his body absorbed some of the glory and power of God, so that his face shined and he had to cover his face.] ...which glory is being set aside" (vs 6-7). The glory is being set aside, not the law.

"Shall not the ministry of the Spirit be far more glorious?.... [Yes! and Paul was recipient of that—right? Forgiveness!] ...For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, to a much greater degree the ministry of righteousness overflows with glory. And even the ministry of condemnation, which had glory, was not glorious in this respect, because of the surpassing glory of the ministry of life" (vs 8-10). In other words, the comparison between the two covenants: one in the letter of the law, compared with the Spirit—far greater. Like we said, you have access to God the Father in heaven above. They could only come to the temple—far greater, far more glorious.

"For if that which is being set aside... [The temple service, the administration of death.] ...came into being through glory, to a much greater degree that which remains is glorious.... [So then we'll answer the question: What remains?] ...Now then, because we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech; For we are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face, so that the children of Israel could not gaze to the end upon the glory that is now being set aside…. [So it's the glory.] (v 14 is the key): …But their minds were blinded; for to the present hour the same veil has not been removed, but remains at the reading of the Old Covenant... [And does that not describe Protestantism today? Yes!] ...which veil is removed in Christ…. [In other words, the veil of blindness is removed, which means we understand Moses the way it should be.] …For to this day, when Moses is read, the veil lies upon their hearts.... [They won't listen. And what happens? Just like Landry said, he went to the minister, 'No, no we don't need to keep that.'] ...But when their hearts turn to the Lord, the veil... [of blindness] taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit... [To take away that blindness.] ...and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.... [Not to eliminate law, but there's freedom of sin through repentance.] ...But we all, with uncovered faces beholding the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (vs 11-18). And that ties in with when we're resurrected our bodies are going to be transformed and made like His glorious body, etc, etc. That is much greater.

Now let's go back to the book of Exodus and let's look at some of the other laws that are based upon the Ten Commandments and we will look upon the judgments and ordinances that were given. So let's come to Exodus 21. Now even in the book of Deut. 6, as well as Matt. 22, the great commandment is what? 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, all your being.' That's the great commandment—right? 'The second one is like to it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' What else did Jesus say? 'On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.' So everything that God did was in love, even to the executing of a criminal worthy of death. From this point of view: I don't know if we'll find it here in this section, but you'll find it in Lev. 18 & 20 concerning sex crimes, since I'm doing the series, Obsessed With Sex, and that's kind of on my mind.

I wonder, why don't you try this in your community? Go on line and look up the official registered sex offenders and where they live in your city. Lots of them—right? What is the problem with sex offender, that do violent sex crimes? We're not talking about kids getting out in the bushes and experimenting around. All kids will do that. That's unfortunately part of the way that things happen with kids. We're talking about men, and also women, because now we have teachers what? 'Hey, you're a good looking young man, come home with me and sleep with me.' Men are just like lambs to the slaughter when they have that kind of invitation.

If someone commits rape and kidnapping, the Old Testament says execute them. 'Oh, but you're taking a human life.' But when you look at all the registered sex offenders, you might do it with those who have committed murder, but got off, too, and see where they are. What happens to many of them? They repeat the crime. So the execution of that person is love toward the rest of the society that he's not turned loose on the rest of the society to go perpetrate the crime again. They don't view it that way. We won't go through the slave laws, but they had slaves then and they had to be treated humanely.

Let's come to Exodus 21:12. Remember, they had the power of the administration of death. "He that strikes a man, so that he dies, shall be surely put to death.... [Because how many repeat killers and serial killers? We've got Van der Sloot now finally caught in Peru—huh? He says, 'Oh, I know where the body of Natalie Halloway is.' They reported on the news, someone said, 'Well, his life is worth about a hundred bucks.' He gets in Peruvian prison, if you get a chance to watch a special on Peruvian prison, that's one place you don't want to be. It is terrible! He said, 'Just slip an inmate a hundred bucks, and there'll be a riot, and oh, lo and behold, this man died in the riot.'] ...he shall surely be put to death. And if man does not lie in wait, but God delivers him into his hand... [Because God allowed vengeance killing.] ...then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee. But if a man comes presumptuously upon his neighbor to slay him with guile, you shall take him from My altar so that he may die" (vs 12-14). He can't have an appeal, even to the altar of God to grab the horns of the altar and say, 'God spare me.'

"And he that strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. And he that steals a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. And he that curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.... [Now this is in violent rebellion, not just to say some swear words because you're angry.] ...And if men strive together, and one strikes another with a stone, or with his fist, and he does not die, but is confined to his bed; If he rises again and walks abroad upon his staff, then he that struck him shall be set free. Only... [Now I want you to pay attention very carefully here and you will see how similar that this is to our laws.] ...Only he shall pay for the loss of his time and shall cause him to be completely healed" (vs 15-19). That means pay for the complete healing—restitution.

What do we have with our auto insurance, based on that very same thing? You have auto insurance in case you strike a car, injures a man, the insurance company will specify how much for an eye, how much for a hand, how much for life, etc. And the man will go free. Then it talks about striking a servant, and so forth, and "...he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. But if he continues a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money" (vs 20-21).

Now here's one that also affect abortion. Verse 22: "If men strive and strike a pregnant woman, so that there is a miscarriage, and no harm follows... [That means the baby's okay and the woman is okay.] ...he shall surely be punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him. And he shall pay as the judges determine…. [So they had a system of judges and there were to be two or three witnesses.] …And if any injury occurs, then you shall give life for life... [Now it depends on what the judgment would be.] ...eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe" (vs 22-25). People read that and say, 'Well, God wanted you to take out your eye, take out a tooth. You knocked out my tooth, turn your head over here.' Bam! 'I'll knock out your tooth.' No, you were to pay for the loss of an eye, for the loss of a tooth, for the loss of a hand. That's what we're talking about in all these things here to pay.

Remember, all the law hangs on loving your neighbor as yourself. All of these laws here come under the various categories of 'You shall commit no murder.' Under that you have manslaughter, you have accidental things that happen, and now you have animals involved. So today we'd talk about cars. Verse 28: "If an ox gores a man or woman so that they die, then the ox shall surely be stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten. But the owner of the ox shall be clear. But if the ox was known to gore in time past, and his owner has been warned, but he did not keep it in, so that it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death'" (vs 28-29). You're going to make good fences—right? You think some of those Texas longhorns—boy, that can get you good.

"If there is laid on him a sum of money... [So he can redeem his life.] ...then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatever is laid upon him. Whether it has gored a son, or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him…. [Now to ransom his life means he pays for that life.] …If the ox shall gore a manservant or a maidservant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver... [And that's what they paid for Christ. Dead slave, 30-shekels of silver.] ...and the ox shall be stoned. And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in it, The owner of the pit shall make it good and give silver to its owner. And the dead beast shall be his'" (vs 30-34). I like that one. He keeps the carcass there.

"And in the event the ox of a man damages the ox of a neighbor, so that it dies, then they shall sell the living ox, and they shall divide the money of it. And they shall also divide the dead ox. Or if it is known that the ox has been known to gore in time past, and his owner has not kept him in, he shall surely pay ox for ox. And the dead ox shall be his own" (vs 35-36). Now you can read through all the rest of them here. And all these subordinate laws are what? Civil laws by judges to come to a decision what to do in the case of these different things. Everyone of them.

[Discussion and questions from audience]

From the Ten Commandments come the spiritual laws and the civil laws both. You have the letter of the law, you have the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law has to do with the heart and mind and has to do with conversion and how you live your life—and the term they use today—interface with other people.

Come to Exodus 23. We'll look at just a couple of others here that go along with it that are more of a combination spiritual, as well as civil. "You shall not raise a false report.... [Hello, media.] ...Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.... [That's spiritual and that's civil. You go to court and you do that, you give false testimony, is that loving your neighbor as yourself? Yes!] ...You shall not follow a multitude to do evil. Neither shall you testify in a cause in order to side with many so as to pervert judgment" (vs 1-2). Hello, the crucifixion of Christ, and all the crowds.

"Neither shall you be partial to a poor man in his cause. If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again" (vs 3-4). So here we have a civil and spiritual combined. It's the good thing to do. Just like you come home one day and you find your neighbor here. He comes up to you and says, 'Hey, Todd, your sheep were ready to get on the highway and they were ready to go astray and I got them back up here. I knew you'd be home in a few minutes, so I just waited for you.' What would you say? 'Thank you, wonderful.' That's loving your neighbor. Even the guy down the road you hate. Is that not loving your enemies, too? Yes! So when you come back and really look at these, you find, hey, those are still living today!

The Church does not have the administration of death, the government does. It has to be the official method of execution whatever country it's in. Here's what they had to keep the conscience clean: If there was something worthy of death that was committed, the witnesses will be the first one to throw the first stone. That was to help the one bringing the accusation to be truthful in what he was saying, because if it be found later that he lied, he gets it. So, yeah, help your neighbor.

Verse 6—hello, Ms. Kagan, please read this: "You shall not pervert the judgment due to your poor in his cause.... [In other words, re-distribution of wealth.] ...Keep far from a false matter... [hello, media again] ...and do not kill the innocent and righteous; for I will not justify the wicked. And you shall take no bribe, for the bribe blinds the wise and perverts the words of the righteous" (vs 6-8). Hello, Congress, President, local authorities, and on and on.

So when you read these you find out, yes. And then interspersed in this are the Feasts. Let's read this v 12, talks about the seventh year letting the land rest. And what do we do? We double plow it and never rest it. Oh, and by the way, one of these times I need to give a sermon on the economic cycle in the Bible of the seven years and the jubilee. What happens in man's way of doing things, you get these big bubbles and they burst and it collapses. When you have the seven-year cycle and your loans are only good for six years, then you don't overburden the people and you don't charge them a lot of interest, and the loan is forgiven in the seventh year.

What does that do? That means that you don't oppress people economically and you have a value to the monetary system that stays good. Today it's all printed. Today it's worth nothing, it's all dead. You take out any denomination of money and it says, 'This note is for all debts public and private.' In other words, it's an IOU. You think you have a lot of money in your pocket, you have a lot of debt. One day someone's going to say, 'Uh, uh, uh.' So I need to give a sermon on that one.

Now notice v 12 from the Ten Commandments: "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the stranger, may be rejuvenated. And be watchful in all that I have said to you. And make no mention of the name of other gods... [2nd commandment] ...neither let it be heard out of your mouth. You shall keep a feast unto Me three times in the year.... [Now notice, no sacrifices are mentioned here. Very important to keep in mind, because someone will say, 'Well, you did away with the sacrifice and you do away with the keeping of it.'] ...You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread seven days.… [v 16:] ...Also the Feast of the Harvest of the Firstfruits [Pentecost]of your labors.… And the Feast of Ingathering, the end of the year.… Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD" (vs 12-17).

Why does He not include females? Because some are great with child and can't travel, some have just given childbirth and it would upset the baby and upset the mother's health. So God does not require it of the females, but He requires it of the male because the male is the head of the family, and so forth. You find, when you begin to examine them that way, it becomes quite an interesting thing to understand the laws in the Old Testament.

Let's come to the New Testament. Let's come to Ephesians 4:22; let's see an application of this in a spiritual sense. Notice what we have here. "That concerning your former conduct, you put off the old man... [that's the sinful self] ...which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind..." (vs 22-23). That's the whole process of conversion. How are you going to be renewed in the spirit of your mind replacing the deceitful lusts?

  • the Spirit of God
  • the love of God
  • the love of neighbor
  • love of brethren
  • spiritual meaning of the laws of God written in your heart and in your mind

That's how you do it.

"And that you put on the new man... [So this is what we do on the Sabbath. We learn how to grow in grace and knowledge, so that we are constantly in the process of being converted, growing in grace and knowledge, put on the new man.] ...which according to God is created... [So God is doing a work in us. We'll pick up on that a little later when we come back again. Being created in what?] ...created in righteousness and holiness of the Truth…. [There's that word again.] …Therefore, let each one put away lies... [Come from the Ten Commandments? Yes!] ...and speak the truth with his neighbor because we are members of one another. When you become angry, do not sin.... [Don't be hateful, don't become violent.] ...Do not let the sun go down on your anger" (vs 24-26).

And how do you do that? You repent of it and ask God to take it from you. You can't do this. You can't go to God and say, 'Oh, God, forgive me all my sins and how bad I am, I need your forgiveness.' Then you get up from prayer and say, 'Well, that guy over there, or that woman over there, I'll never forgive them.' No! You get rid of the anger. Have you ever been so angry and upset you go to bed, you never sleep? I've done that. What happens? You're messed up, you're wiped out, you're worthless. And what happens? That resentment and hatred just burdens you down, it burdens your mind, it burdens your thoughts, and burdens your emotions. That's why you have to repent of them and get rid of them through the Spirit of God.

Verse 27 is interesting: "Neither give place to the devil…. [Because if you're in that attitude, the devil can come—bingo.] …Let the one who stole... [Ten Commandments] ...steal no more; rather, let him labor with his hands, working at what is good, so that he may impart something to the one who has need.... [Now we improve our communication]: ...Do not let any corrupt communication come out of your mouth... [We can apply that to preachers who say the law is done away and just our general conversation.] ...but that which is good and needful for edification that it may give grace to those who hear. And grieve not the Holy Spirit... [Now I'm going to have to do a little more study on that and tie that in with the working of the Holy Spirit.] ...And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God by which you have been sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and indignation, and wrath, and clamor, and evil speaking be removed from you, together with all malice... [So here is a theme of what Unleavened Bread is. You put out the leaven, which is a type of sin, and you eat the unleavened bread, which is a type of sinlessness, and it relates to your behavior. So you put the Word of God in your mind and in your heart, and this relates to your behavior.] ...And be kind and tenderhearted toward one another, forgiving one another... [that's the best way to go] ...even as God has also in Christ forgiven you" (vs 27-32).

Now notice Ephesians 5, notice what our conduct is to be. Remember John said, 'This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.' And we'll talk about how we do it a little later after we take another break here. Ephesians 5:1, this is something: "Therefore, be imitators of God... [That's quite a command—isn't it? Put in your margin there Matt. 5:48, we are to 'become perfect as our Father in heaven in perfect.' That's the goal, see how much greater. That's why Paul said that the New Covenant is greater in glory, because that's greater in glory—isn't it? That you can have your behavior imitating the way God thinks and acts and does.] beloved children."

We'll go down a few more verses here and see how all of this relates to the laws and commandments of God and the love of God. "And walk in love... [Now let me give you three things to remember, not only to walk in love:

  • walk in faith
  • believe in hope
  • live in love

That's summed up here, 'walk in love.' What is love? Love your neighbor as yourself. What is love toward God? No other gods, no idols, not taking His name in vain, and so forth.] ...even as Christ also loved us, and gave Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor" (v 2).

Notice what he says here for all the members, but in particularly the ministers in Protestantville need to learn this: "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, do not permit it even to be named among you, as is fitting for saints" (v 3). Total change in behavior, and you can't have that change of behavior without the Spirit of God. You can't have this behavior by saying, 'The law has been done away.' Because every bit of this is based on the law, coupled with the Spirit of God, to obey.

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 138:1-8
  • Romans 9:1-5, 29-33
  • Romans 10:1-4
  • Jeremiah 23:16-32
  • Isaiah 28:9-13
  • 2-Corinthians 3:1-18
  • Exodus 21:12-36
  • Exodus 23:1-4, 6-17
  • Ephesians 4:22-32
  • Ephesians 5:1-3

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Ephesians 2
  • James 1:1
  • Galatians 2
  • Matthew 6
  • Deuteronomy 28
  • 1-Peter 2
  • Galatians 3
  • Genesis 9
  • Ephesians 3
  • Deuteronomy 6
  • Matthew 22
  • Leviticus 18, 20
  • Matthew 5:48

Also referenced:

Sermon: Sacred Names for the New Testament
Sermon Series: Obsessed With Sex

  • Judaism: A Revelation of Moses or a Religion of Man (coming soon)
  • Too Long in the Sun by Richard Rives

Transcribed 6-29-10
Formatted: bo—7-5-10