July 29, 2012 – August 4, 2012
The People of the Ark
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 363–373.
“[Galatians 3:24 quoted.] … The Holy Spirit through the apostle [Paul] is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 234.
1 THE ETERNAL MORAL LAW
- What was one of the purposes for which Jesus came into the world? From what does He save us? Matthew 1:21. How can we recognize sin in our life? Romans 3:20; 7:7, 12; Psalm 19:7.
Note: “It was because the law was changeless, because man could be saved only through obedience to its precepts, that Jesus was lifted up on the cross.” The Desire of Ages, 763.
“By His [Christ’s] perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.
“Without the law, men have no just conception of the purity and holiness of God or of their own guilt and uncleanness. They have no true conviction of sin and feel no need of repentance.” The Great Controversy, 468.
- How did Christ relate to the moral law? Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17–20, 27, 28; Luke 16:17, 18. What did Paul write about the moral law? Romans 2:12, 13, 17, 21–27; 3:31; 8:7.
Note: “Satan is seeking to destroy the force of the Ten Commandments, urging his agents to declare that Christ nailed them to His cross. The cross is an immutable argument of the unchangeable character of the law of God. Christ died in order that a way might be provided for saving the sinner, in meeting the demands of the broken law.” The Signs of the Times, March 12, 1896.
2 WHICH IS WHICH?
- Which law is called “a schoolmaster,” and why? Galatians 3:24.
Note: “When the mind is drawn to the cross of Calvary, Christ by imperfect sight is discerned on the shameful cross. Why did He die? In consequence of sin. What is sin? The transgression of the law. Then the eyes are open to see the character of sin. The law is broken but cannot pardon the transgressor. It is our schoolmaster, condemning to punishment. Where is the remedy? The law drives us to Christ, who was hanged upon the cross that He might be able to impart His righteousness to fallen, sinful man.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 341.
“What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments.
“Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. The death of Abel was in consequence of Cain’s refusing to accept God’s plan in the school of obedience to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ typified by the sacrificial offerings pointing to Christ. Cain refused the shedding of blood which symbolized the blood of Christ to be shed for the world. This whole ceremony was prepared by God, and Christ became the foundation of the whole system. This is the beginning of its work as the schoolmaster to bring sinful human agents to a consideration of Christ the Foundation of the whole Jewish economy.
“All who did service in connection with the sanctuary were being educated constantly in regard to the intervention of Christ in behalf of the human race. This service was designed to create in every heart a love for the law of God, which is the law of His kingdom. The sacrificial offering was to be an object lesson of the love of God revealed in Christ—in the suffering, dying victim, who took upon Himself the sin of which man was guilty, the innocent being made sin for us.” Ibid., 233.
- What does the Bible say about the ceremonial law? Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:1.
Note: “The ceremonial law was to answer a particular purpose in Christ’s plan for the salvation of the race. The typical system of sacrifices and offerings was established that through these services the sinner might discern the great offering, Christ.” The Faith I Live By, 106.
3 SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME
- Why did the ceremonial law—the shadow of future things—come to an end? Colossians 2:16, 17, 20; Hebrews 10:4; 9:11, 12, 15.
Note: “There are many who try to blend these two [legal] systems, using the texts that speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the moral law has been abolished; but this is a perversion of the Scriptures. The distinction between the two systems is broad and clear. The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ ‘took … out of the way, nailing it to His cross.’ Colossians 2:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 365.
“God’s people, whom He calls His peculiar treasure, were privileged with a two fold system of law; the moral and the ceremonial. The one, pointing back to creation to keep in remembrance the living God who made the world, whose claims are binding upon all men in every dispensation, and which will exist through all time and eternity. The other, given because of man’s transgression of the moral law, the obedience to which consisted in sacrifices and offerings pointing to the future redemption. Each is clear and distinct from the other.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1094.
- Who was among the first to offer an animal sacrifice, and what did this represent? Hebrews 11:4; John 1:29; Hebrews 9:28.
Note: “The typical service and the ceremonies connected with it were abolished at the cross. The great antitypical Lamb of God had become an offering for guilty man, and the shadow ceased in the substance.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1061.
“Our Saviour, in His life and death, fulfilled all the prophecies pointing to Himself, and was the substance of all the types and shadows signified.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 231.
4 THE BLOOD OF CHRIST IN SYMBOLS
- Why were animal sacrifices required? Hebrews 9:22; 10:10–14.
Note: “In the plan of redemption there must be the shedding of blood, for death must come in consequence of man’s sin. The beasts for sacrificial offerings were to prefigure Christ. In the slain victim, man was to see the fulfillment for the time being of God’s word, ‘Ye shall surely die’ [Genesis 2:17]. And the flowing of the blood from the victim would also signify an atonement.” The Review and Herald, March 3, 1874.
“The sacrificial offerings were ordained by God to be to man a perpetual reminder and a penitential acknowledgment of his sin and a confession of his faith in the promised Redeemer. They were intended to impress upon the fallen race the solemn truth that it was sin that caused death.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 68.
- After the children of Israel had suffered under bondage in Egypt, what special service was introduced to be more specific in the representation of Jesus Christ? Leviticus 23:5; I Corinthians 5:7, 8.
Note: “It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed—that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1139, 1140.
“He [Christ] kept the moral law, and exalted it by answering its claims as man’s representative. Those of Israel who turned to the Lord, and accepted Christ as the reality shadowed forth by the typical sacrifices, discerned the end of that which was to be abolished.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 231.
- What was the blood of animals unable to accomplish? Hebrews 7:19; 10:4. How only is complete cleansing obtained? Acts 4:12.
5 DONE AWAY
- On many occasions in the history of the Jewish nation, what was so very difficult for them to understand? Isaiah 1:11–15. Why? Isaiah 1:6. What did the early Christians therefore understand?
Note: “The Jews had prided themselves upon their divinely appointed services; and they concluded that as God once specified the Hebrew manner of worship, it was impossible that He should ever authorize a change in any of its specifications. They decided that Christianity must connect itself with the Jewish laws and ceremonies. They were slow to discern to the end of that which had been abolished by the death of Christ, and to perceive that all their sacrificial offerings had but prefigured the death of the Son of God, in which type had met its antitype rendering valueless the divinely appointed ceremonies and sacrifices of the Jewish religion. …
“He [Paul] knew that the typical ceremonies must soon altogether cease, since that which they had shadowed forth had come to pass, and the light of the gospel was shedding its glory upon the Jewish religion, giving a new significance to its ancient rites.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 64, 65.
“[In Acts 15:13–29]. It was his [the apostle James’] sentence that the ceremonial law, and especially the ordinance of circumcision, be not in any wise urged upon the Gentiles, or even recommended to them.” Ibid., 69.
- While the Jews used the sacrificial system as a license to sin, what type of sacrifices was God really seeking? Psalm 51:17–19; Isaiah 1:16–18.
Note: “Paul did not bind himself nor his converts to the ceremonies and customs of the Jews, with their varied forms, types, and sacrifices; for he recognized that the perfect and final offering had been made in the death of the Son of God. The age of clearer light and knowledge had now come. And although the early education of Paul had blinded his eyes to this light, and led him to bitterly oppose the work of God, yet the revelation of Christ to him while on his way to Damascus had changed the whole current of his life. His character and works had now become a remarkable illustration of those of his divine Lord. His teaching led the mind to a more active spiritual life, that carried the believer above mere ceremonies. …
“He preached the cross of Christ.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 105.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 Why do we need to have a clear understanding of the principles of the Ten Commandments?
2 Why did the death of Christ make the entire ceremonial law no longer valid?
3 What are we actually doing if we continue to keep the ceremonial law—including the Passover—after the crucifixion?
4 Whose blood do we need in order to have actual cleansing from sin?
5 Because there are statutes directly connected to the ceremonial law, as well as to the moral law, which ones are we to study and implement today?
“The Jews had become familiar with the offering of blood, and had almost lost sight of the fact that it was sin which made necessary all this shedding of the blood of beasts. They did not discern that it prefigured the blood of God’s dear Son, which was to be shed for the life of the world.” The Desire of Ages, 589, 590.
“The moral law was never a type or a shadow. It existed before man’s creation, and will endure as long as God’s throne remains. God could not change nor alter one precept of His law in order to save man; for the law is the foundation of His government. It is unchangeable, unalterable, infinite, and eternal. In order for man to be saved, and for the honor of the law to be maintained, it was necessary for the Son of God to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He died for us on Calvary. His death shows the wonderful love of God for man, and the immutability of His law.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 239, 240.
“The Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes.” Early Writings, 33.
“After Christ died on the cross as a sin offering, the ceremonial law could have no force. Yet it was connected with the moral law, and was glorious. The whole bore the stamp of divinity, and expressed the holiness, justice, and righteousness of God. And if the ministration of the dispensation to be done away was glorious, how much more must the reality be glorious, when Christ was revealed, giving His life-giving sanctifying Spirit to all who believe?” Lift Him Up, 147.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.