The next step in the gradation of the great gifts which GOD bestowed upon Israel, is expressed in the words, ‘and the giving of the Law’, or the ‘lawgiving’. I fear Christians generally, would not count this among the gifts or privileges of Israel, but such a derogatory estimate of the Law shows a very shallow view of the Gospel. The New Testament never speaks disparagingly of the Law. On the contrary it tells us that the Law is good and holy and spiritual; only that in the unregenerated man, it becomes weak and ineffectual by reason of the weakness and sinfulness of the flesh.
The Lawgiving; O, what a wonderful event that was in the history of the world and of Israel, when
Jehovah came forth from Sinai and burst forth unto them (as the Rising Sun) from Seir unto them; when He
shined forth from Mount Paran and came with myriads of His holy ones, bringing in His right hand a fiery law unto them, (Deuteronomy 33, verse 2). What a light that was, which then, for the first time, shone upon the moral darkness of this earth. True it was not, nor was it meant to be, the Light of Life; much more did it become by reason of sin -- and our innate corruption which it reveals -- the consuming fire and a minister of death. Yet it was glorious. (2 Corinthians 3, verse 7). For it was a revelation of GOD’s holiness, and a perfect transcript of His holy will. It was also a necessary precursor of the Light of Life and was meant to be our schoolmaster unto Messiah, that is, to teach us our need of a Saviour, and to set us longing for the redemption to be accomplished by Him.
One is often grieved at the ignorant use and popular perversion of a beautiful Scripture. I refer to the Apostle saying,
For the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life, (2nd Corinthians 3, verse 6), which is often quoted by some as an excuse for a disregard of the literal sense, or even for a disruptive handling of the letter of Scripture. But the Apostle plainly uses the term ‘letter’ for the Law; the ‘letter’ written and graven in these stones; and, my friends, this ‘letter’, this wonderful revelation of GOD’s absolute holiness and of the requirements of His holy government, is meant to ‘kill’ us, and must ‘kill’ us before the Spirit can come and give us Life.
The LORD killeth and maketh alive; He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up; the LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich; He bringeth low, and lifteth up. That is ever His process, and there is no other way; and if by the revelation of His holiness, and your own inability and innate corruption, you have not, like Paul, been brought to an end of yourself, and to cry,
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?if the Law of GOD has not, like a ‘two-edged sword’, pierced and broken your heart, you do not know the full sweetness and preciousness of the lifegiving power of the Gospel.
And the giving of the Law and the greatness and beauty of this wonderful gift, which constitutes part of Israel’s high calling, will not be fully manifest till, in the Millennial period, the Law is
put in their inward parts and written on their hearts. When the final end, which GOD had in the lawgiving, namely, that His people
may be holy, because He is holyshall be accomplished; and the earth shall see for the first time in its history, a whole nation upon whose life and conduct and possessions, shall be written,
Holiness to Jehovah!
Together, with the giving of the Law, the Apostle names a service of GOD as the next step in the gradation of Israel’s special privileges. This refers to the Divine institutions of their Tabernacle and Temple; and the Divinely appointed rituals of which I cannot describe here, but which so beautifully and in such a variety of ways, set forth the Blessed Person and redeeming work of our LORD, YESHUA HaMaschiah. This richly symbolical and beautiful service of GOD may be said to constitute the Gospel in the Law, for it already pointed the way how a man who stood condemned and separated from GOD by the moral law, could yet draw nearer to Him, namely, on the ground of shed blood, and by the ministry and intercessions of the High Priest; and in reference to the future, it is probable that, by the temporary restoration of the modified form of this Divinely appointed service of GOD, which is forecast in the prophetic Scriptures, Israel shall yet teach the spared of the nations the deep significance of their ancient types, and open to them the fullness and manifoldness of the atoning work of their MESSIAH.
The Service of GOD
I would only add that it is not recorded in the Mosaic writings and described with such minuteness of detail for our imitation now, as some ignorantly think who seek to set up an unauthorized human mimicry of Israel’s Divinely appointed ritual in the Tabernacle and Temple, and thereby pervert the simplicity of the Gospel and of Christian worship; but it is recorded for our study that we may perceive the spiritual significance of these types and shadows, and learn more and more, the fullness which dwells for us in Messiah, Who is the sum and substance of it all. Shalom.