"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Administration and Law

Sorry if the title seems a little misleading.  This post is not about current politics in the United States.

This is another installment in the series on Why I'm Not A Christian.

The thought of an analogy came to me while reading something at another Messianic website.  The author was making a point about Hebrews chapter 7.  But to give a bit more background, I think I will go back to reiterating my main contention that the reason the church gets so much doctrine wrong is because of the lack of a good hermeneutic and taking the Scriptures as a complete whole, in obedience to 2 Timothy 3:16: "ALL Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; . . ."

In order to really get a handle on what the Holy Spirit is communicating through the author of the letter to the Hebrews, we have to keep a couple of things firmly in mind. First is that this is a letter written by a Jew who is deeply educated in all the Torah and the Oral Law.  I still suspect that the author is Rabbi Paul.  I believe that the tone and style of the letter are different from his other epistles simply because of his audience and the subject matter.  Other criticisms aside, plenty of authors can and do change their style of writing depending on audience and subject.  The second point is that this letter is for the purpose of explaining to Jewish minds why the coming of Messiah changes the administration of the Law, but doesn't change the Law.  Let me remind my gentle readers that this is important in order to keep the rule of non-contradiction and the admonishment of Yeshua in Matthew 5:17-19, and in Luke 16:17.  If we take any other verses of Scripture and interpret them to mean that which contradicts these other two, then there is something wrong with our understanding.

My analogy comes from what was provided by the founding fathers of the United States.  They drew up the Constitution because nearly all of them understood that men are inherently sinful and cannot be trusted with very much power, that they must be restrained.  "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," as Lord Acton put it.  The Constitution was written for the express purpose of putting chains on the power of government and those who would wield that power.  The Constitution does not grant or give people any rights whatsoever.  The Constitution and its original ten amendments simply recognize the God-given rights inherent in mankind and tells the government, "YOU cannot cross these lines."

The founders understood that the law needed to be in the form of a contract.  The law could not be something that any one man or group of men just arbitrarily decided to do.  Not even under the pretense of doing it for the "common good" or the "general welfare."   They understood that nothing tramples an individual's rights faster than democratic rule or opinion.  Freedom and democracy simply cannot coexist.  What the founders knew was needed was a contract that embodied the law and put restraints on anyone serving in the government.  When you take elective office, or are commissioned as an officer, you take an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not any man, group, or political party.

The idea here, is that people will come and go from the offices of power, but the law remains.  If the restrictions of the Constitution are actually followed by those in power, then legislation would not be passed that endangers the rights of all individuals.  The law of the land says that government doesn't get to decide what you can or cannot say about issues.  The burden of proof is on the government to convince a jury of your peers that you have broken the law.  No one has the right to deny you the use of arms or self defense and so on.  And ultimately, the founders understood that nobody should ever get elected and then claim that the popular vote gave them a mandate to violate the Constitution.  Yet this is what has gone on since at least Abraham Lincoln.

What does this have to do with the Bible?  Let's look at Torah in this light.  First of all, when did God's laws begin?  When was man given the laws of God regarding behavior, of clean and unclean things, tithing, making offerings, etc?  If you said Moses, you'd be wrong.

From the time that God Himself (Christ) walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, God has revealed His laws.  The Jewish sages have believed through their study of Torah, that God created the universe through Torah.  If that seems odd to you, consider that John 1 tells us that, "In the beginning was the Word . . . the Word was with God and the Word was God."  The Master told us that Torah is eternal.  The Psalms say the Torah is eternal.  He was trying to get us to see that He, as God, and His Word, are inseparable.

Cain and Abel knew the standards for offerings.  Abel obeyed and Cain did not.  Noah was simply told to gather two of every unclean animal and seven pairs of all the clean.  How did he know which was which long before Moses came along?  Abraham tithed to God through Melchizedek and participated in communion with bread and wine.  Abraham trained disciples, and God stated that Abraham kept all of God's laws and commandments.  We are not told it directly, but we can infer from the text that Abraham knew Torah from what was handed down and from God Himself visiting with him and speaking to him directly.  Somewhere along the line, Christians have assumed that the Law didn't exist until Moses, but the fact is; Moses simply wrote down in systematic form, everything that had already been known to the men who walked with God. Up until that time individual men and the families that they led were the guardians of the ways of God.  Moses came to deliver a whole nation made up of the Children of Israel and a mixed multitude whom Adonai saved out of bondage in Egypt.

In that event, please make careful note of the order of the events.  God hears the cry of his chosen people, on the schedule that he had already told Abraham about in Genesis 15, when Adonai unilaterally established His covenant with Abraham and Abraham's descendants forever.  God had arranged it so that Jacob and his sons would end up in Egypt, being delivered by a beloved son who was left for dead, betrayed for some silver coins.  (I think I see a pattern there.)  The Children of Israel by this time were mere slaves and we are not told that they were following anything close to the Torah.  Otherwise, why the need for Moses to receive them from Adonai?  Does the LORD tell Moses to go to the sons of Jacob and get them to start obeying the ten commandments and then He would save them?  No.

HaShem ("The Name") tells Moses that he has a plan and what to expect from Pharoah.  I'm going to paraphrase this for simplicity, but I won't violate Scripture.  Adonai set out to show the world who the One and Only True God was by taking down the most powerful empire  at the time.  And he wasn't going to do it just any way.  He was going to make a mockery of their false gods and sorcery tricks. When He concluded everything with the destruction of the entire Egyptian army, word would spread from there to every populated place.  From Sudan to beyond Persia, from North of Turkey to across the Mediterranean, people would hear about this event.

Then, not because the children of Israel's righteousness, but because of His covenant and the sake of His own honor, He would save His chosen people.  Note this.  Salvation came first.  It would be many days before Adonai would place the choice before the people about obeying Torah.  Think about that for a moment.  From the time of the first Passover until the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai was 50 days.  From the time of  the ultimate Passover, or the crucifixion of Messiah until the disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentacost was 50 days.  Ah, that repeating pattern thing. The history of the world is God's unfolding revelation.  Each new cycle contains foreshadowing of events to come

So, going back to Hebrews chapter 7 and what the writer is trying to convey.  That Messiah has come and established a new administration.  The Torah is still valid and in effect but under a new management. Because the ultimate sacrifice had been made, we could all be in the priesthood and appeal directly to God for atonement.  When understood in this light, we see that harmony exists in all Scripture.  Yes, Torah is eternal and we can believe what Yeshua said about it.  Yes, what Paul said in Romans about us not having to suffer the penalty of the Law is true, but we still establish the Law.  Apparent contradictions fall away to dust.  We can now understand how the Law continues to be in effect and true and good, yet at the same time we have an advocate in court who makes atonement for us when we come in contrition and brokenness.  You can admit that you violated the Torah, but instead of having to sacrifice a bull or goat or doves, you appeal to the ultimate sacrifice for your atonement.

Now imagine you get hauled into court and when charged with a crime, you decide to take the attitude that the law just doesn't apply to you.  How do you think the judge would react?

Just because the Torah or Law of Moses was given to be administered at first with imperfect men who had to atone for their own sins before they could atone on behalf of the people, doesn't mean that when the perfect Messiah came to atone for us that the Law or Torah just disappeared.  It is still there.  Just as the One who gave His life for it said it would always be.  He just made a way for us to appeal to His perfect atonement without needing a Temple or having to kill animals.

In the next installment, I ask the question: "Did God Mean Forever?"


  1. Personally, I'm a little sketchy about the whole of Torah being known to the pre-Moses generations. Yes, there is evidence that some of them knew some of it. But it seems like of lot of reading-between-the-lines to say that it was that well understood by so many. For example, if people knew the Law that well, I think they would have taken Noah more seriously and not disregarded him as just a kook.

  2. That's interesting. Of course all those people who followed Moses out of Egypt and saw all those terrifying miracles certainly toed the line and never did anything stupid like asking for a golden calf. Of course there was no rebellion even later on when Korah and his brothers just decided that Moses was getting too big for his britches.

    Then we have a prophet who healed blind people and even raised a man from death after four days, feeding thousands of people from seemingly nothing. Then he raises himself from the dead and appears to more than 500 people over forty days. Gee, you would think that there wouldn't be a single person in his right mind who was living at the time of those events who would doubt the identity of the man.

    Innominatus, you need to go check my archives on knowing God, where I talk about the fact that the vast majority of people choose to believe what they want to believe. People who want to do drugs or have illicit sex or gain political power will justify it in any way they see fit, and act accordingly.

    I didn't even come close to showing all the evidence or giving you nearly as many lines to read between that demonstrate that Torah was known since Adam.

    You see, you are falling for the secular world's "reasonable man" argument. That the evidence being plain to any reasonable man he will naturally conclude the correct thing. But the history of the world is replete with examples that man chooses immediate gratification in spite of the long term consequences.

    Noah was still alive when Nimrod began to build the Tower of Babel in the valley of Shinar. You would have thought that so shortly after a devastating flood, the descendants of Noah's sons would have been warning people of the dangers of abandoning God's ways.

    People choose to believe what they want to believe in spite of tremendous evidence because they don't like what the conclusions demand of them.

  3. Addendum: I realize I forgot to address the point that by the time God warned Noah that he was going to destroy the earth with a flood, Noah was 500 years old. In the 100 years until the flood, Noah preached to anyone who would listen. The flood occurred 1,656 years after creation; plenty of time for man's sinful nature to flourish and for him to sear his conscience against the ways of God.

    I never claimed that Torah was well known among the populace of the earth. In fact, it was not. Generations of people had long abandoned the ways of God even before Adam died at the age of 930. Torah was only known and kept by a tiny fragment of the population to the point that only eight people escaped The Flood.

  4. When first reading your post, it sounded to me like you were saying that understanding of the Law was widespread, and that Moses' receiving and recording it was just kind of a "formality" that didn't really change anything. I understand you better now.

  5. Thank you for bringing your question. If it helps someone else to understand the situation better, then it was great that you questioned me on my intent. I try very hard to be clear on what I'm expressing, and I don't mind being proof-read.


Please don't make me disable comments because you couldn't maintain decorum and civil discourse. You can disagree all you want to, just don't get nasty.