Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Estherby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message I would like to give a word on the law as the testimony of God and as a type of Christ and on how the law is linked to God’s New Testament economy.
The examples of the kings of Judah show that God needed a people on the earth so that He could be incarnated in humanity. God also needed a land for His people that He might form a nation to set up His testimony. This testimony was set up according to the law of God.
We need to know what the law of God is. Some fundamental Christians may say the law of God consists mainly of the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:1-17), that is, the moral law. However, the Ten Commandments with their statutes and ordinances occupy only a few chapters, Exodus 20—24. However, the law of God occupies not only these chapters but all the chapters from Exodus 20 to the end of Leviticus. Then what is the rest of God’s law? The rest of God’s law is the ceremonial law. From this we see that the law of God comprises the moral law (Exo. 20—24) and the ceremonial law (Exo. 25—Lev. 27).
The moral law includes the Ten Commandments with their statutes and ordinances. The first five commandments deal with our relationship with God and with our parents. The first three commandments are directly concerned with God; the fourth concerns God’s Sabbath day; and the fifth concerns our parents. Then the last five of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship with one another. These are the commandments not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to bear false witness against others, and not to covet. These commandments, or laws, are brief, but they cover almost everything concerning our relationship with one another.
Eventually, the moral law, the Ten Commandments, became the base of the civil law of many nations. For instance, Roman law, which has been copied around the world, was based on the last five of the Ten Commandments.
Let us consider the commandment regarding coveting. In Philippians 3:6 Paul says that as to the righteousness which is in the law, he was blameless. But in Romans 7 he admitted that he was unable to keep the commandment regarding coveting. “Neither did I know coveting, except the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, worked out in me coveting of every kind” (vv. 7b-8a). Paul could keep the commandments about murder, adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness, for these four things are matters of outward conduct. The commandment about coveting, however, deals with an inward matter, and Paul could not keep himself from coveting.
Can you say that you have never coveted anything? When you were a student, you might have seen someone with a nice pen, and immediately you coveted that pen, desiring to have it. Even in our family life we may covet certain things. Suppose the members of a large family are having dessert after dinner. Each of the children is given a piece of cheesecake. One of the children may look at the cheesecake given to others and then complain that his piece is too small and ask why he was not given a bigger piece. This is coveting. None of us can say that we have never coveted anything.
The Ten Commandments were called the testimony of God (Exo. 25:16). As the testimony of God the Ten Commandments are a picture, a portrait, of God. We may say that the law is a photograph of God.
A particular law is always a portrait of the person who makes that law. For example, if bank robbers could make laws, they surely would set up laws to make it legal to rob banks. Likewise, if evil people are elected to the United States Senate, they will make evil, sinful laws. The evil laws they make would be a portrait of the evil persons they are. On the contrary, good people establish good laws.
The law of God is a portrait of God. After a careful study of the last five of the Ten Commandments, we have seen that these five commandments are based on four of God’s divine attributes: love, light, holiness, and righteousness. These attributes are the base upon which God’s law was established. The more we consider the law of God, the more we realize that this lawmaker, this legislator, must be One who is full of love and light, One who is holy and righteous.
Because the law is God’s portrait, God’s image, it is called God’s testimony. The ark in which the law was placed was called the ark of the testimony (Exo. 25:22).
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