"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" John 5:39-47
Understanding context has everything to do with understanding content, and vice versa. Take for instance the above quoted verses from Christ. Christ and all other New Testament writers advise us very strongly to "Search the scriptures". All the content that follows this advisement hinges on this simple context, yet most won’t even accept that he is only referring to our Old Testaments.
With any small study we will find that the New Testament as we know it wasn't even written yet during Christ’s and the Disciples ministry here, and won’t even be compiled and referred to as scripture for centuries to come. How many of you ever even considered that?
"Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2Timothy 3:1-17
In the opening quoted verses Christ says that he knows those who don't have the love of God. How does John go on to say throughout the rest of his ministry here that is determined?
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." 1John 5:1-3
How has the Law been done away with, when it is the prime directive to loving God? God's Law is divided into the Commandments, Statutes, Judgments and sacrificial ordinances. So what Law has been done away with? Are we secure in our knowledge to differentiate between all of the divisions of Law to abolish any or all of it in good conscious?
Why do we care so much then when it’s proposed to remove the 10 commandments from the nation’s courthouses but refuse to entertain any possibility that the statutes on food belong in a “New Covenant”? How is it that we all agree the Levitical sacrificial system has been fulfilled, yet insist that Levitical tithing remains in full effect? Why is the small percentage of those who want homosexual marriage such a divisive issue in our society when the same bar of biblical commandment isn’t held to straight marriage where its divorce rate is only rivaled by the rate of premarital relations? Could we be acting on behalf of a confusion that only exists due to our own doctrines conflicting with what is written in our hearts?
There is a good reason everyone seems to think the Law has been done away with, and the reason lies in a few single verses that we always hear, yet for some reason never get the verses before or after it for contextual premise.
"Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." Hebrews 10:9
We can clearly see that there was something definitely taken away with the advent of Christ. When reading the content before and after this one liner, we see the writer of Hebrews is speaking in the context of the Old and New covenants. Many equate the covenant to be the Law, but taking into consideration what the covenant was and what the writer of Hebrews concludes, the first covenant, yes, was taken away to establish the second. The first covenant, no, was not the Law. If the first Covenant was “the Law” and was taken away, then why was it written into the new covenant?
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" Hebrews 8:10
Obviously we also must see that the “Old” covenant must be something other then “the Law” because only 3 verses later it says:
"In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." Hebrews 8:13
So if the Law is the old covenant then this is an obvious error on the writers’ behalf to say that it will "decay, wax old and vanish away" because we can clearly see that the Law is re-instituted, or written into the heart of the “NEW” Covenant. There are only 2 options here that we must face, either the writer was wrong and ignorant of what he was talking about, or we are reading his letter and don’t understand what he is saying?
Let us "Search the Scriptures" to see how they testify of Christ and take a look at some Holy men of God and see where the writer of Hebrews may have got his information from:
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:31-33
"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries (gentiles???), and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:24-27
Here we have the writer of Hebrews directly quoting from his Scripture, as does all the New Testament writers with a lot of what they have to minister to us about. Incidentally he quoted here 2 of the 3 major prophets of “the Old Testament”, whose testimony coincidentally Christ came to fulfill not change, as testified by Christ himself:
"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations." Luke 24:44-47
So my question is why would one assume that the writer is writing that the “Law has been done away with”? Why would the writer disregard what he himself is directly quoting? If Jeremiah claims the Law will be written in our hearts in the New Covenant, and Ezekiel says that the spirit that we will get in the New Covenant will cause us to walk in his statutes, and keep his judgments and do them, then why would the writer claim that this spirit is “done away with, decayed, waxed old, or vanished”?
Now the question is, since it seems evident that the Law will not vanish but will be an integral part of the “New covenant”, what has been done away with? Paul clearly expresses that something is done away with. He also makes a note that something will remain.
"For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious." 2Corinthians 3:11
So we see that something does remain. Is there a possibility that it is the Law that remains? That is what scripture has been telling us, both Old and New. Do we want to believe all of these Holy Men or hold fast to the modern doctrines on the matter? So what is it then that doesn't remain if it isn't the Law that's been done away with?
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (repentance?), and our bodies washed with pure water (baptism?). Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, THERE REMAINS NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SIN!" Hebrews 10:22-26
Did you catch that? There remains no sacrifice for sin! Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin is not capable of taking away our sin that we may establish The Lord as our blood justification, who has taken away sin! We can no longer be justified through the works of the law! Christ fulfilled the Law and took away our sin!
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:1-10
And yet again the writer is not speaking of his own accord, but exacting verse from searching his Scripture:
"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, THY LAW IS WITHIN MY HEART." Psalms 40:6-8
So again, why was there a need to fulfill the Law to take away our sin?
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never WITH THOSE SACRIFICES which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." Hebrews 10:1
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." Hebrews 7:11-12
So we see that the Law has been changed to accommodate the lack of no longer having the need for the services of the Levitical Priesthood. Notice the Law was only changed and still remains, that it was only the need of sacrificial justification that was taken away, or more accurately fulfilled. If this Law wasn’t fulfilled we would still need the works of the Law to shadow justification for us, thus needing to sacrifice animals because we still are commanded to keep his commandments…If we love him.
It was the Sacrifices that were a “Shadow of things to come” and not the whole Law, because it was Christ, our ultimate sacrifice, that makes us perfect. Those sacrifices were “the ordinances that were against us” that kept us from Christ, that he “Blotted out”.
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:...And you, being dead in your sins and the circumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore JUDGE YOU in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: WHICH ARE A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:8-17
These verses make those who have not searched the Scriptures for testimony of Christ feel vindicated in their belief that we no longer need to follow the Law, especially food laws, the Sabbath or feast days. Before we get carried away we should first "Search the Scriptures" and see how they would have testified of Christ and what they would have taught us about this, especially considering that the Law is divided into the Commandments, Statutes, Judgments and ORDINANCES which have been blotted out:
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, shall ye observe to offer unto me IN THEIR DUE SEASON. And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD. It is a continual burnt offering, WHICH WAS ORDAINED IN MT. SINAI, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD and the lamb shalt thou offer as the meat offering and as the drink offering thereof, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. And on the Sabbath day … for a meat offering, … and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, … And in the beginnings of your months(New Moons?) ye shall offer a burnt offering …for a meat offering… for a drink offering a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering … beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the LORD. (Feast days?)… ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD…And their meat offering shall be one goat for a sin offering, to make an ATONEMENT for you. and his drink offering. Also in the day of the first fruits (feast days)… a new meat offering unto the LORD and their drink offering And one kid of the goats, to make an ATONEMENT for you. Ye shall offer them beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings." Numbers 28 & 29 (condensed)
Instead of taking these verses in Colossians out of context and say things like “This is why we don’t have to follow God’s Law on food” and “This is why we don’t have to follow God’s Sabbath” and “This is why we don’t have to worship God on his Holy Days”, let us realize that before Christ we were JUDGED by whether or not we SACRIFICED our meat and drink offerings for sin in their due season, on the new moons, Sabbaths and holy feasts. These sacrifices which were ordained in Mt. Sinai are the ordinances which were blotted out and nailed to the cross. These were the sacrifices that were a shadow of things to come, which Christ fulfilled.
It is in our flesh to want to disregard God’s commandments, not our “Love for God”! It is not the sacrifices that God ever wanted of us, but his commandments to be followed that he wants of us:
"For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you." Jeremiah 7:22-23
This is the covenant new and old. Obey God! The sacrifices were only instituted through Moses to bring us back into the fold when we didn’t obey God. Only it wasn't enough and therefore only shadowed what was to be implemented and fulfilled through Christ. The Only problem is just like then, we still find stiffed neck believers bucking the authority of God and rejecting to follow his Commandments, Statutes and Judgments.
"But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their own hearts, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth." Jeremiah 7:24-28
Christ is now the only way back into the fold and not the shadow of him which is the works of the Law ordained in Sinai. We first need to repent and kill off this Old man of sin who walks in the counsels and in the imagination of our own hearts, and have the Law of God written in our hearts instead.