Christian Churches of God
Introduction to the Law of God
(Edition 2.0 20120902-20120916)
This text explains the sequence and method of reading the law of God and explains the continuing obligation to identify the Sabbath and why it must be read in the Sabbath Years.
Preface and Introduction to the Law of God
The Great Restoration under Ezra and Nehemiah was held and the Law was read in the year of Jubilee from 375/4-374/3 BCE in the Seventh month of the Sabbath year, and ended in the Seventh month of the Jubilee year (see the paper Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)). It is important we all understand how it was done as it is the guide to the Reading of the Law. They began the reading of the law at Trumpets. The people were told they were required to read the Law of God and the people asked for it to be brought out and read to them. They and the priests prepared at the end of the Sixth month and constructed a pulpit from which it was to be read.
They did not go anywhere except to Jerusalem from the surrounding countryside. Nehemiah came for it. The Book of the Law was begun to be read from Trumpets and continued on from the Second day of the month. The people and the priests were all excited about it and wept during the reading and exposition. The text in Nehemiah 8:1-18 says exactly how it was done.
Note also that it has to be a half day on the Holy Days and the Feast and from midday on the Holy Days the people are then told to go their way and eat the fat (of the herd) and drink the sweet (wine) on the afternoon from the Day of Trumpets until the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Note also that they had been in preparation before Trumpets when they started to read the law and had made a wooden pulpit. Thus the event had been well known and well prepared beforehand. We now have more text because of the New Testament. We know from Nehemiah that they also read it on the second day of the month, which may have been a Sabbath after the New Moon, as they would not usually have gathered on normal work days. So we can demonstrate from this text that they continued studying and reading the law of God through the Seventh month until midday 21 Tishri, the last day before the Last Great Day.
Nehemiah 8:1-18 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. 2And Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden pulpit which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithi'ah, Shema, Anai'ah, Uri'ah, Hilki'ah, and Ma-asei'ah on his right hand; and Pedai'ah, Mish'a-el, Malchi'jah, Hashum, Hash-bad'danah, Zechari'ah, and Meshul'lam on his left hand. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; and when he opened it all the people stood. 6And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God; and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7Also Jesh'ua, Bani, Sherebi'ah, Jamin, Akkub, Shab'bethai, Hodi'ah, Ma-asei'ah, Keli'ta, Azari'ah, Jo'zabad, Hanan, Pelai'ah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. 8And they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. 9And Nehemi'ah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved." 12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. 13On the second day the heads of fathers' houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the law. 14 And they found it written in the law that the LORD had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, 15and that they should publish and proclaim in all their towns and in Jerusalem, "Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written." 16So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of E'phraim. 17And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths; for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing. 18And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the book of the law of God. They kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance (RSV).
So this reading of the law is to be spread out from Trumpets to 21 Tishri and finished before the Last Great Day. Go your way and study and eat the fat and drink the sweet.
This work is dedicated to the correct and full exposition of the Law of God. It is published on the Sabbath year 35 of the 120th Jubilee, or 2012/13 of the current era, using the sequence derived from the Bible and the historical details published in the paper by Cox W. E., Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272). We are commanded to read the Law in every seventh or Sabbath year, so that the instructions given by God to mankind are not lost but are preserved in the minds and actions of the people who are set aside as the elect by God for that purpose.
The common fiction believed by modern Antinomian Christianity is that God abolished the Law He gave to Moses through His mediator at Sinai. Christian churches thereby seek to eliminate the provisions of Biblical Law and to introduce or justify customs and traditions that are not only unbiblical but also derive from the cults of worship of foreign gods, traditions which run contrary to the express direction of God as given to Moses.
This antinomian fiction is advanced in spite of the fact that Christ said that, until Heaven and Earth pass away, not one jot or tittle – effectively a comma or full stop – would pass from the Law (Mat. 5:18). In the first two centuries of the Church it was understood that the Law was given to Moses by Jesus Christ as the Angel of the Presence at Sinai. Justin Martyr of the Church in Rome recorded this fact in his writings of ca. 154 CE (see the papers Cox W. E., Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127), Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b), and Original Doctrines of the Christian Faith (No. 88)).
The calendar of Trinitarian Christianity is also a testimony against it. Worship on Sundays and the keeping of Christmas and Easter (see the paper Cox W. E., The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)). in Appendices) and other pagan customs are not only contrary to the Law and the Testimony but also, in the case of Christmas, are directly condemned (cf. Jer. 10:2-8). The festivals of foreign gods are often disguised by the names of supposed saints. All this alteration to the Laws of God is a testimony to disobedience towards Biblical Law generally, and is justified by the claim that Christ came to change the Law and eliminate the so-called “onerous” dictates given to Moses.
The same myth regarding the loss of the Law, together with a distorted calendar, runs through Islam from the false teachings of the Hadith and its scholars. Similarly, Judaism uses the Talmud to turn the Bible on its head and make nonsense of the Law. The Law was not a new thing given to Moses. The texts record that, long before Moses, Abraham was given a covenant relationship and a promise from God that he would become the father of many nations because of his obedience to the Laws of God.
We know that Abraham kept the Laws of God, and it is commonly held among the three great monotheist faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam that the Law was given to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and to Moses, Aaron and the prophets, to Christ and the Church, and then to Muhammad and the Muslims in Islam. They are all on common ground by claiming that their sacred writings teach the same doctrines and laws as found in the Torah; however, Judaism denies the reality of the message of both subsequent revelations as they strike at the veracity of their Talmudic traditions.
In the same way, Trinitarian and Ditheist or Binitarian Christianity denies the Koran because it strikes at the very errors of Trinitarianism introduced from the fourth to the sixth centuries.
Islam does not have to deny any subsequent revelation: it merely denies the historical biblical record. It claims that the true record has been lost and that Muslims are therefore excused from keeping the Law of God as revealed through the Bible.
Archaeology and the written historical records, however, show definitively that the Bible is still the same correct collection of writings. Despite some tampering by Judaism the record is intact, and any changes which have been made have been noted and recorded for posterity.
The writings of Paul have been used to try to denigrate the Law or substantiate the changes brought about by the introduction of the Mystery and Sun cults into Christianity.
Similarly, the text in Acts 15 was used – and fraudulently altered in the Reformation – to justify this view of antinomianism, or elimination of the Law. As most of us know, the text in Acts 15 deals with the debate in the Church (between Peter and the other disciples and elders) regarding circumcision, and also the purification rituals, which the Pharisees had introduced. It was made obvious from that conference that the Gentiles (nations) coming into the Church had some serious problems regarding the circumcision of adult males and, as many were slaves, this was exacerbated. A person was not allowed to interfere with, and hence circumcise, another man’s slave with impunity. The text in Acts 15 outlines the problems and the resolution of the matter.
The correct doctrinal position as carried out in the Church is seen in the work Purification and Circumcision (No. 251). The following explanation from Acts 15:1-3 is central to this argument. “The problem arose because some of the people in Judea (perhaps some of the priests mentioned in Acts 6:7) came down to the churches in Asia Minor and remonstrated with the people, demanding that they be circumcised or they could not be saved. Paul and Barnabas disputed with them, and then Paul and Barnabas with a party went to Jerusalem to argue this matter with the Apostles and elders. They came along the coast road as far as Caesarea, coming via Phoenicia and Samaria, and proclaimed the extension of salvation to the Gentiles; and the people rejoiced.”
There were members of the sects of the Pharisees who were converted, and these rose up in Jerusalem to demand that the Gentiles be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. The Church considered this matter then Peter stood up and said:
"Men and brothers, know how that a good while ago God made choice among us that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the hearts, bore them witness and gave them the Holy Spirit as He did to us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Therefore why do you tempt God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved even as they". (Acts 15:7-11)
The brethren listened in silence as Barnabas and Paul gave an account of the miracles God had wrought among the Gentiles through them.
James (Yakob, the Lord’s brother and bishop of Jerusalem; cf. Acts 12:17 and fn. to Companion Bible; also Gal. 1:19) then stood up and said, “Men and brethren listen to me”. He used Peter’s real name when he said, “Simeon (i.e. Simon) has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out a people for His name; and to this agree the words of the prophets, for it is written: after this I will return again and build again the Tabernacle of David (i.e. the Tent of David as a lowly condition), which is fallen down and I will build again the ruins (things overturned, cf. Rom. 11:3) thereof, and I will set it up, that the residue (kataloipos or faithful remnant) of men might seek after the Lord and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called” (taking the second place; cf. Zech. 8:23; see also Deut. 28:10; Jer. 14:9; Jas. 2:7).
James did a number of things here. Firstly, he showed that he was the senior Apostle, or chairman of the conference, and that Peter was not the senior Apostle. Paul also indicated that he was part of and subject to the direction of the Council of Apostles and elders of the Church under the chairmanship of James, a fact which Peter also acknowledged. Secondly, James predicted that the Temple was to be destroyed, as this conference took place in Jerusalem when the Temple was still standing.
The Faith and salvation were thus meant to be extended to the Gentiles, who would also compose the Tabernacle of David. That edifice preceded the Temple of Solomon and obviously extended beyond the physical structure. James showed here that the prophecy extended to all nations, and that the people to whom the salvation of God applied would be the faithful remnant. This indicates that there must be a remnant of mankind faithful through the coming tribulation. But faithful to what, one might ask?
James then continued with what has been turned into the most baffling of pronouncements.
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the age [aeon]. Therefore my sentence is [I judge or decide]: that we do not trouble them from among the Gentiles that are turned to God. But that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled and from blood. For Moses of old time had in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day". (Acts 15:18-21)
Following this, the Apostles and elders and the whole Church sent out Judas Barsabas and Silas, chief men of the Church with Paul and Barnabas, with letters written by them to the churches in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. They said:
"Forasmuch as we have heard that certain men went out from us troubling you with words unsettling you, to whom we gave no such commandment. It seemed good to us who were assembled with one accord to send chosen representatives to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have hazarded their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas who will tell you the same things by mouth". (Acts 15:22-27)
This text contains a forgery in the KJV from the Textus Receptus, in which the words, “Saying you must be circumcised, and keep the law” have been added before, “to whom we gave no such commandment”. This text is not present in the ancient documents, but was inserted into the Receptus during the Reformation; therefore, it has no basis in fact. However, the text is used to justify the grace-law argument, saying that the Law is done away and that the only limitations on the Gentiles – and hence also on the Church in its entirety, given the failure to identify the nations of Israel – are those listed in this text (see the paper The Relationship between Salvation by Grace and the Law (No. 82)).
The text then continues in Acts 15:28-29.
"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these you shall do well."
They went back to Antioch and delivered the message there first. Judas and Silas, being prophets, exhorted the brethren and remained at Antioch for some time, strengthening the brethren.
Now, if these two verses in Acts 15 were a comprehensive synopsis of the requirements of the Faith, then we are rudderless indeed. Why would we need a Bible and all the subsequent epistles of the Church to deal with matters that arose in the keeping of Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts if they were cast aside for the Gentile Churches of God? If taken on its supposed intent of restricting the Law of the Pentateuch given to Moses, then this brief list of categories effectively eliminates the Ten Commandments. Indeed, that is precisely what false Christians claim it does.
John’s entire treatise on love and the transgression of the Law is then meaningless. So also James’ epistle is meaningless and contradictory to this, his own ruling. Paul’s entire series of treatises are rendered nonsense, as are Peter’s. The epistle to the Hebrews is also made of no consequence, unless it is admitted that the Churches of the Hebrews are subject to an entirely different Law and sequence than the Gentiles. The Gospels and Christ’s words and actions are placed in total opposition to what is said here; Christ’s teachings are cut to the ground with this view, and God is thereby made to appear capricious and is blasphemed.
If this interpretation that the Law is reduced to these categories is correct, then we are able to: abuse God; hold any view of theology we wish; adopt any calendar we thought suited us or keep no days at all; abuse our parents; murder, or kill by euthanasia or abortion; lie, and break agreements with impunity; cheat, rob, and covet; or eat any filthy thing. We can take as many wives or concubines as we wish, there are no prohibited relationships, and incest is permissible. We can do what even the Gentiles would regard as scandalous. Our societies can do what they do now and introduce relative morality.
The very condemnation by Paul in 1Corinthians 5:5, where a man was living with his father’s wife, would be meaningless, as the relationship would be a valid marriage after the fact. The interpretation of Acts 15 on these lines would make Christianity a laughing stock among the nations, and would have seen its death knell within a few months after the introduction of such a view. No reasonable person would have ever bothered with Christianity; it would have been seen as an amoral cult, and every state would have had an obligation to restrict it.
The above view of the Law is one that antinomians would have us adopt, but it is a false teaching and no church of the Reformation ever adopted such an interpretation. The views of the Protestant churches are all covered in the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 96). The distinction is between the sacrificial law and the Laws of God, expressed through the commandments.
The issue here was in the manner of dealing with food and the introduced legislation of the Pharisees regarding handling and purifications, which the Gentiles could never keep because of their environment. The slaves were held in marriage and they were unequally yoked in many cases; concubinage was also endemic. That is what was meant in Acts 15:28-29, in a society vastly different from our own.
James says to be doers of the word and not hearers only, calling the Law “the perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25).
"If you really fulfil the Royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ you do well. But if you show partiality you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said: ‘Do not commit adultery’ also said: ‘Do not kill.’ If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment. What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can his faith save him? (Jas. 2:8-14)
Here James is saying the Law of God must be tempered with mercy in judgment. Why would we need mercy if the Law was done away? We cannot be punished in the absence of law.
James is therefore saying something entirely different in Acts 15 than what is being portrayed by the antinomians or Gnostics of today who call themselves Christians. James is not removing the Law of God in this judgment at the Jerusalem conference; there was no authority for that and, indeed, he would have been disqualified from the Faith had he done so. This man James was the son of Joseph and Mariam, the parents of Christ, and was therefore his brother. James understood what Christ meant, which is why this text is misused and forged. The lie of the Trinitarians regarding the primacy of Peter is also exposed in this text. James acknowledged that Paul himself kept the Law of God and gave him direction to refute those antinomians, and Jews also, claiming that he himself did not keep the law as we see from Acts 22:22-24.
If any person in the Church of God tells us that the Law of God is done away we know thereby that they are not of us, for, “If they do not speak according to the law and the testimony there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).
The later provisions for the release of the slaves under Christian masters was made in accordance with the Law of the Pentateuch, as had happened and had also been rescinded. This was recorded by Jeremiah the prophet in the text of Jeremiah 34:8-17.
Peter says the Christ bore our sins in his body on the tree (1Pet. 2:24). John tells us that sin is transgression of the Law (1Jn. 3:4). “No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother” (1Jn. 3:9-10). Thus, how can we be guilty of transgression of the Law of God and then be told that we are at liberty from the Law, which required us to be baptised into the body of Christ? Then we are allegedly told it need not be kept anyway. How can the penalty be other than capricious if such were the case? There is no validity of logic in this thinking.
The elect are those who keep the Commandments of God and the Testimony or Faith of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
It is written:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind [or understanding]. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Mat. 22:37-40).
The Law and the Prophets were teachers to bring us to God through Christ. We are not removed from the Law but rather placed in a position to live within it as the perfect law of liberty, and go beyond it in grace and mercy. We are freed from animal sacrifices through the sacrifice of Christ, as the whole body of sacrificial law was fulfilled in Christ; the Law of God, however, was not removed.
It should become obvious that the so-named New Testament – the testimony of the faith of Jesus Christ as revealed by God to Christ and to the Apostles and the Church – is being misrepresented to justify a warped and contrary system of worship, namely false Christianity, which is condemned by both Judaism and Islam. Indeed, all three systems have distorted the teachings in their writings and misrepresented the Bible and the Koran.
The teachings of the Koran on the Law are contained in the paper The Koran on the Bible, the Law, and the Covenant (No. 83). It is obvious from the Koran that the Law has to be kept and the adherents baptised; however, Hadithic Islam does neither.
This work is completed in fulfilment of the obligations placed upon the Church by the Law and the Testimony for the Sabbath Years in 2012/13. It will be published and read and distributed in all nations as required by God in the Law given by the pre-incarnate Christ to Moses at Sinai and reinforced by Christ and the Apostles and subsequent elders in their establishment of the Churches of God over the centuries.
No person can be a member of the true Faith and disregard the commands God gave to those who claim to be His servants.