Jew and Gentile

Jew and Gentile

Scripture: John 1:7, Acts 15:1-29, Galatians 1:1-12
Date: 07/10/2010  Lesson: 2
The introduction of Gentiles into the Christian church caused dissension among some Jews who wanted everyone to adhere to ancient rituals and traditions.

Creeping Compromise: Memorial Edition by Joe Crews

Creeping Compromise: Memorial Edition by Joe Crews
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to those of you who are joining us this morning like you do every week from across the country and around the world. We welcome you to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in sunny Sacramento, California on the west coast of United States of America. We have an international audience and of course we want to welcome those of you who are joining us on the other side of the planet. We have visitors this morning from australia and peru and norway and I know i-- fiji here in our sanctuary. And we are very excited to have our visitors with us and would like to welcome those of you of course who are listening on radio.

We don't want to forget you. And the website at saccentral.org and our television family. At this time, let's open up our hymnals and sing our first request, 262, "sweet, sweet spirit." This is from don and lynn in Alaska, demetrius in California, anthony in Canada, jody in england, terry in florida, kona in Georgia, mary in Michigan, joyanne in New York, marilyn and justin in Oregon, and Ruth and avoyd in South Carolina, , both verses. [Music] Thank you for that request. Do you feel that sweet spirit this morning? Amen.

If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very simple. I'm going to tell you what to do if you don't already know. Go to our website at saccentral.org, click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in any song from the hymnal. And we will do our best to sing that for you as soon as possible on an upcoming Sabbath.

Our next is a favorite, "a mighty fortress is our God." You will find that on 506. And this is from cara in australia, ismina in brazil, raynear in California, alison and renee in Canada, naquesha in guyana, and estella, kenneth, sean and alicia in jamaica, wayne and zedi in Minnesota, agbana in nigeria, John, mary, robert in North Carolina, roland in Pennsylvania, dolly and forward in saint vincent and the grenadines, chidey in scotland, bongani in south africa, tito and alma in South Dakota, walter in south korea, drake and yasmin in Texas and gideon and nicole in trinidad and tobago, 506. And we're going to do all four stanzas this morning. We have time for that, 506. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much that they may kill our bodies, they may persecute us for our faith, but your truth is real and it abides forever.

And I know that in this country we have it very easy. But there are those that are suffering around the world for their faith. And I pray that you will be with each one this morning in a very special way on your Sabbath, that they will sense your spirit and your loving arms around them. And I pray that you will be with each one here at central church, that we would love you so much that we'd be able to go through anything for you. And we know that you will give us the strength when it is needed.

And we thank you so much for that assurance. I pray that you will be with our speaker this morning in a special way. And we thank you so much for the ministry of Pastor Doug Batchelor here at central. And of course it's not just as central it's-- his ministry is impacting people all around the world, and we thank you for that. We thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath day that you have blessed us with.

And now please be with us as we open up Your Word and study together. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much debbie and jolyne and florentine and joe and our pianist and our flutists and jenny and everybody. Hi.

I want to welcome our friends. And we're so glad that you're here studying with us. We are just in the infancy of a new quarterly dealing with the book of Romans. We're really dealing with a majestic book of theology in the new testament, the book of Romans. And we're only on lesson 2 today.

And we have a free offer. The free offer is "does God's grace blot out the law?" "Does God's grace blot out the law?" And so our lesson today is dealing with the new and the old covenants, the jews and the gentiles. We'll be talking about that. And so we want you to have this. It's free, ask for offer number 715.

And the number to call is -study-more, if you just wanted to remember that and then jot that down. And if you don't want to figure out what the Numbers on the phone equal with letters, it's 866-788-3966. We'll send that to you for free. And we've got some other study guides that you can read for free at the Amazing Facts website. In the lesson today, we're going to be talking about the jews and the gentiles and what it means to be a spiritual jew.

And there is a book that I wrote with steve wohlberg a few years ago called, "spiritual Israel." And by the way, we're both jews, and so we felt we could approach this objectively. "Spiritual Israel," and you can go to the Amazing Facts website, it's got the free library. Click on that, you can download the pdf and read it. And it helps understand some of the deeper theology about the jews and the gentiles. What is the role of the jews today, spiritual jews and more.

So we are in lesson number 2 today, "jew and gentile." And our memory verse is the Gospel of John 1:17, why don't you say that with me? John, the Gospel of John 1:17, you ready? "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Now that verse doesn't mean that there is a tension between what Moses gave and what Jesus gave. They complement each other. So let's delve into this lesson. Now we gave an introduction last week. Part of the reason we need to understand the relationship between jew and gentile as we explore the book of Romans, Romans is written to the jews and the gentiles in rome.

You find in the book of roman, the word "jew" is mentioned times and "Israel" is mentioned 14 times. And so it's explaining a lot about that. Now just in the second chapter of Romans, you find quite a few references to jew and to gentile. For instance, Romans 2:9-10, notice this, "tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the jew first and also to the Greek." Now wait a second. Why does he say, "to the jew first?" Is God showing preferential treatment to the jews? Is he discriminating? He says, "I'm gonna save them, jew first.

" You know, when "the titanic" was going down they said, "women and children first." And so as Paul is saying here, "the ship of salvation is leaving dock, all the jews onboard first." I mean doesn't the Bible say that we're all one in Christ, "now there's neither male or female, slave or bond, jew or gentile?" Doesn't the Bible say God has made of all nations of one blood? Why does he say jew first? Well, it's because the oracles of truth were first committed to the jews. And so, well, let me see if I could explain this another way. If I go into a new island to preach the Gospel, and on the island are some people who are Christians, but maybe they don't have the whole knowledge of the truth, they don't have the full Gospel, and then there are pagans, who am I gonna preach to first to get a beachhead on that island? I'm gonna start with the existing Christians first, 'cause they've already got the ground work. They've got the background. It'll be easier for them to accept the truth.

So I'd go to them first, then I'd go to the others. When Jesus came, who did Jesus preach to first, jew or gentile? Jew of course, because they had all the background of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They had the old testament Scriptures. It would be the easiest for them to understand the teachings of the Messiah. That's why Jesus said to the disciples, "go not in the way of the gentiles.

" This is what Jesus said. "Go first, first, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Because the jews had all the background and the history of how God works and the laws and were looking for the Messiah. They naturally would get the quickest grasp of it. And even the apostles, after they were baptized, and after the Holy Spirit was poured out, and they were baptized in the Spirit, did they immediately go after pentecost to the gentiles? Or did they first go to jews? In acts 2, it says, "now they were dwelling in Jerusalem during the time of pentecost, devout jews out of every nation under heaven." Holy Spirit is poured out, ,000 are baptized, 3,000 what? Jews. Later 5,000 are baptized, jews.

It wasn't until after the stoning of stephen, /2 years after Christ died that Paul, then, is converted. Peter now has this vision, acts 10, that they should go to the gentiles. Remember he goes to cornelius. And it was a struggle for them, because they thought that the gentiles were all unclean. And God told Peter through that vision, "I've shown you not to call any man unclean.

" It was a struggle for them to figure out, "you mean it's not just us? It's also the gentiles?" But they first preached to the jews, because they had the background. So when he says, "jew first," you all understand why he said that. It's because they already had the driver's experience with the Gospels, with the Scriptures. But it says that several times there. Now we're gonna be looking at the old and the--by the way, who wrote the Bible? What race of people principally wrote the Bible? Ninety percent jews of the sixty-six books in the Bible.

Acts and the book of Luke were written by a gentile. And some concede, or some even contest that. But I'm pretty convinced that Luke, gentile name, Paul met him in macedonia. Something, he was a jew living in macedonia with a Greek name. But I think he was probably gentile.

His approach to the Gospel is very different. And so 90% of the Bible is written by jews. So you need to have some understanding of that. Oh, and who does God make the salvation covenant with? I'll get to that later. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Alright, "better promises," is under section number one. Who's gonna look up for me, Hebrews 8:6? We gave out some Scriptures for some volunteers to read. "But now he has obtained a more excEllent ministry, inasmuch as he is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." It's talking about the new covenant. It says it's a "better covenant--established on better promises." Now how many of you have heard it said before that the old covenant was the Ten Commandments, the new covenant is grace. Old covenant: law; new covenant: grace.

"We don't need to worry about them ol' laws anymore, 'cause we're now under grace." Have you heard that before? And the old covenant, written in stone, faulty. We now have better promises. What was faulty with the old covenant? First of all, is there anything in the Bible that tells us the Ten Commandments are faulty, or does the Bible say the Ten Commandments are just and holy and good and God calls the law, "the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul." And so why would you call something perfect, holy? Let's read about this here, Exodus 24, and I'm gonna read verses 3 through 8. Just bear with me as I read this and I highlight a few points. And this is in the giving of the covenant, the making of the covenant.

"And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments." So the Ten Commandments were delivered verbally by God. And of course you read that in Exodus 20. "And all the judgments. And the people answered and said with one voice, 'all the words which the Lord has said we will do.'" Now are they making a promise? Okay. "And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord.

And he rose up early in the morning, and he built an altar unto the hill, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings and oxen unto the Lord. "And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant in the audience of the people. And they said--" here it is second time-- "all the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.

And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people." What would you think if you came to church and the pastor sprayed you with blood? "And he sprinkled the blood on the people." Don't we believe in the new testament that we are under the blood, or covered in the blood or washed in the blood? They washed their robes and made them white in the blood. "And Moses took the blood, he sprinkled the people, and he said, 'behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you concerning these words.'" Now twice it says, "all the Lord has said, we will do." They're making a promise. Now I'm going to jump to Hebrews, Hebrews 9:18. Hear Paul talking about that. And of course we're studying Romans, and Paul we believe also wrote Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:18, "therefore, not even the first covenant--" first covenant is the old covenant, right? "Was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and he sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, 'this is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you.'" Now this is the covenant that they made. Their promises are made to the Lord. But the problem that was changed between the old and the new covenant was not the law. The new covenant is the same law written in the heart.

When you read about that Jeremiah 31:31, notice-- by the way, where do you first find the new covenant? In the new testament? I mean do you naturally think you'd find the new covenant in the new testament, right? But where does the new covenant first appear? In the old testament. So I'm reading the old testament now, Jeremiah 31:31. That's easy to remember. "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the--" gentiles. Are you with me? That's not what it says.

It says, "I'll make a new covenant with," who? How many new covenant Christians out there? I'm one. Are you a new covenant or an old covenant Christian? Jesus saves us unto the new or the old covenant? You don't sound very sure. This is--boy, you better get this straight. We're saved under the new covenant. I'm a new covenant Christian, okay? Who does he make the new covenant with? Wait a second now, you mean if you're not an Israelite--see I'm safe either way, so you're the ones that are in trouble if you're not Jewish.

I know we have a couple of other Christian jews out there. But he's making the new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of judah, Israel and judah. So how do you get to benefit from that if you're not Jewish? I'll get to that in just a minute. "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them from the house of Egypt." Jeremiah is referring to the one we just read in Exodus, different; "my covenant that they broke." When did they break it? They made a promise saying, "oh, the Lord has said, 'we will do.' God says, 'don't make graven images.' All the Lord has said we will do." What did they do when Moses was up the mountain? They made a graven image. They broke it.

They promised they wouldn't, but the new covenant is made on better promises. What are the better promises. The old covenant, the people said, "all the Lord has said we will do. We will do it." It's based on their promises. What is the new covenant based on? the Lord says, "I will make the house of Israel after those days.

I will--" I'm in Jeremiah 31 now, "I will put my law in their minds, and write them on their heart." I'll put a different law. Is that what he says? No, same law. Problem was never the law. God said, "this is my law, Ten Commandments." Old covenant was based on the promises of the people, bad promises: "all the Lord has said, we will do it." New covenant is based on the power of God, not self, human power. It's based on divine power.

God says, "I will write it in your heart." Old covenant, circumcision in the flesh. New covenant, circumcision in the heart. Old covenant, literal children of Israel. New covenant, literal and spiritual Israelites. By the way, if you go to the Amazing Facts website, there's another book there called, "why the old covenant failed.

" You can read it for free. You can download the pdf. You can own it on your computer and read it at your leisure. It's just, it's free. It's called, "why the old covenant failed.

" And it explains these things. It's very clear. Old covenant was based on the promises of the people, which they broke. That was the faulty promises. Notice in Hebrews 8:8, speaking of the problem with the old covenant, "finding fault with the law," no, no, no.

It's not something intangible. It says, "finding fault with them." What was the problem with the old covenant? The people who made the promises. The weakness of human nature. Have you ever heard God's will and said, "all the Lord has said, I will do?" Can you do it in your own strength? Does Paul talk in Romans about how powerless we are without God to do his will? He says, "oh the things I want to do. I'm spiritual on the inside, but I'm carnal with sin.

And in my own strength I can't do it, so how do I do it?" He says in Romans 8, "I thank God through Christ Jesus." And so it's through the power of Christ, giving us a new heart, we become new creatures. And we change. Alright, so just a little background on that. Now, Jesus, he's teaching the new covenant. What is the foundation for the new covenant? Alright, now, mike read for us Matthew 19:17.

"So he said to him, 'why do you call me good? No one is good but one, and that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.'" What? That's legalism. "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments?" And then if you read on, the rich young ruler says, "which?" Christ begins to quote exclusively from the Ten Commandments. Turn in your Bibles, I don't see I wrote it in my notes here, so let's read it. Deuteronomy 4:13.

I just want to make sure this is really clear in case there's any question on it, because I'll tell you, have you run into confusion out there about what the covenant is, the new and the old covenant, the distinction that's made? I think I want to read verse 13, Deuteronomy 4:13. "So he declared to you his covenant that he commanded you to perform, that is the Ten Commandments; and he wrote them on two tables of stone." So the old covenant was the Ten Commandments he wanted us to perform them. The new covenant is we don't have to perform them. Does God want new covenant Christians to keep the Ten Commandments? This is very important. And here we are in a Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we make an issue about the fourth commandment.

Why? Are we saved by keeping the fourth commandment? Are we saved by keeping any commandment? But if we are saved, will we want to keep all ten? That's the issue. When we love the Lord, we'll want to keep all ten. And so that's why Jesus told this rich, young ruler, he said, if you would enter into life, keep the commandments. Someone else came to him, he said, "good master, what should I do?" A lawyer tempted him. He said, "what's the greatest commandment?" And Jesus said, "well, what's written in the law?" Remember the parable of the good samaritan? He directs them to the law.

It's not that we're saved by the law. We're actually judged by the law, but the law is the mirror that shows us whether or not the heart is changed, and we've become new creatures. Alright, so Revelation 12:17, speaking of God's people in the last days. What is an identifying characteristic of God's people that the dragon hates? "The dragon is enraged with the woman, he goes to make war with the rest of her offspring," the remnant of her seed. And here are two outstanding criteria, "who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.

" Now are they keeping the commandments to be saved, or are they keeping the commandments 'cause they love Jesus? But this is one of the outstanding characteristics. You can even go to Revelation 22, last chapter of the Bible, "blessed are those that do his commandments, that they might have a right to the Tree of Life and enter in through the gates of the city." One of the last things it says in the Bible, "blessed are those that do his commandments." Alright, go ahead, read Revelation 14:12. "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Ah, now how do we keep the commandments of God? By having the faith of Jesus. You know, it doesn't say "faith in Jesus" there. It says "faith of Jesus.

" And so when we've got the faith of Jesus--how did Jesus keep his father's word? He set an example for us the same way that we're supposed to do it. Alright, so we are saved by grace through faith. That clear to everybody? Now, one more thing on the new covenant. Someone read Mark 14, I read the new covenant to you, when does Jesus establish the new covenant? Mark 14:23-24. "Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

And he said to them, 'this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.'" Is there any question that Jesus is talking about a new covenant during the last supper? Is Jesus--i mean do we celebrate the Lord's supper? That night when he did that, and it was very appropriate he did it during a passover service, 'cause he was explaining now there is a new economy being established for new testament Christians. It's not the blood of lambs anymore. We all together still on that? Right? I mean wouldn't it sort of be a denial of faith if we said, "Lord, I want forgiveness so I'm going to go buy and kill a lamb? What would that mean for a Christian now? Is that forward or backward? That's backward. Jesus said, "this now is a symbol of my blood." And that we apply by faith. And so he established a new covenant.

By the way, when did Jesus begin suffering for our sins? Was it Friday when they crucified him, or was it Thursday night, immediately following the last supper? When he went to the garden of Gethsemane, and he was in agony, he was sweating blood. The first blood he shed was not on the cross. The first blood he shed was Thursday night in the garden. Actually, first blood Jesus shed was when he was days old in the temple. That--when they named him.

And he was circumcised. And then but at the end of his ministry, after the last supper, he goes to the garden of Gethsemane Thursday night, and he begins to be in agony. He is suffering already and he hasn't even been arrested. And some of the biggest agony for Christ, it doesn't say he was sweating blood on the cross, was when he resigned himself to separation from God, which is what the sinner experiences. He took the penalty for our sins, and he said, "not my will, thy will be done.

" That was a tremendous struggle for Jesus. And then of course, they betrayed him to the mob. And three times Thursday night, he says, "now is the hour. Now is the hour. Now is the hour.

" I've told you before that it's a very common misunderstanding when it talks about the sign of Jonah that you find in Matthew 12. Jesus said, "as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so The Son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. And people jumped to the natural conclusion, heart of the earth must mean the tomb, even though there's not a verse in the Bible that calls the heart of the earth a tomb. Heart of the earth means he would be in the midst of the world, suffering for the sins of the world, and that began Thursday night. Three times Thursday night or four, he says, "now is the hour.

" So the new covenant is and the sacrifice for the new covenant began Thursday night following that meal, just like the passover, deliverance of God's people in the old testament began with the passover meal, right? That's when they began their journey out of Egypt. They ate that meal with their shoes on, the staff in their hand, it was the beginning of a new journey. Christ, during the passover, he says, "we're instituting the new covenant, a new journey." Romans 9:6-7, Paul emphasizes this principle in Romans. He says, but he is-- "but it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'in Isaac' your seed shall be called.

" "They are not all Israel who are of Israel." What does he mean? Read for us, Romans 2:28-29. "For he is not a jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but of God." Alright, I always wonder how much to say and how--it's kind of a delicate subject when you go too far in discussing a study in circumcision. But I think it's appropriate to say at this point, one of the principle purposes, not the only one, for circumcision, it was to denote that the holy seed of the Messiah was going to come through the descendants of Abraham. And so when Jesus came--what's the purpose of circumcision? Well, there may be some medical benefits that I've heard argued, and you know, some other purposes, but the principle, spiritual purpose was that the seed of the Messiah or the Messiah was going to come through the seed of Abraham. And so there was this holy right to say that this people were consecrated not to be controlled by the flesh, you understand the significance there, but to be controlled by the Spirit.

And so when Jesus came, Paul said, circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing, keeping the commandments is what mattered. Now even after Jesus came, some did still practice circumcision. And even Paul circumcised Timothy just so it wouldn't be a stumbling block for others, even though it wasn't totally necessary. Sometimes Paul said, you know, "I'll do things not to be a stumbling block." But so who is a jew now when God looks down from heaven? This is--i want to be careful not to be confusing. Does God look down from heaven and see the Jewish nation as unique and distinct from Christians? Yeah.

Well, I say this hedgingly. I believe that the Lord does look down, and he still has a special work and he specially recognizes the Jewish people because of their heritage and because of the promises--does God forget his promises? So God did make promises to them as a specific people. I mean if the only thing that mattered was the Spiritual jew, have a lot of nations disappeared over time when they were conquered and they were intermarried? Couldn't the Jewish people have disappeared? Couldn't they like the philistines, I mean you go find someone who says, "well, where you from?" "I'm a philistine." They don't exist anymore. Or if you ask somebody, "are you a Babylonian?" Or you know, even the ancient Egyptians that built the pyramids, they've really disappeared as a people. They were not arabs.

And so a lot of nations have become extinct. Why didn't the jews become extinct? And even, even a bigger question, point to one other group of people in the history of the world that has been conquered, disposed from their land, once for 70 years and another time for 1900 years, kept their language, kept their writing, kept their culture and then gone back to their land. There is no other people in the history of humanity that has done what the jews have done, and still, let's face it, do they have a big impact on learning and the world and finances and history right now? I mean for a little bitty country, Israel is not even as big as California. Look at how it is a focal point of the contest in the middle east. And you realize they're not fighting over the dirt of Israel.

I mean if you've been there, you'll know, it's not the best real estate in the world. A lot of sand and bleached-out soil. They're fighting over principles and religion. And so when God looks down from heaven, does he still see something unique that will happen for jews and for Israel? I believe so. But in the bigger sense, in the Spiritual sense, when he looks down at the seed of Abraham today, does he only see jews? Alright.

Galatians 3:29, "and if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." Alright, take a poll here. How many of you belong to Christ today? What did we just read? Do you believe the Bible? "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed." So the promises made to the seed or descendant of Abraham belong to who? To you. So when you read the old testament, you can't say, "well, those are promises for the jews." Do those promises belong to you? Furthermore, I read to you the new covenant. How many want to be saved unto the new covenant? Anyone want to be saved under the old covenant. You know, it doesn't matter.

New and old covenant are only made with jews. You know what that means? You must be grafted in, adopted into at least the Spiritual family of Israel for you to be saved. Let me give you another one. In Romans 9:8, I already read Romans 9:6-7, now I'm going to read verse 8. "That is, those who are children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

" Well, it makes it really clear that it's the Spiritual seed of Abraham that's really important. Now go to Romans 11, we're studying Romans, talking about jew and gentile, Romans 11:17, he's using the context of olive trees and grafting olive trees. "And if some of the branches were broken off--" speaking of if some of the branches were broken off the olive tree of Israel-- "and you, being a wild olive tree," gentiles, "are grafted in among them, and with them you became a partaker of the root and the fatness--" the word fatness there means the sap or the oil, "of the olive tree do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you." Israel and the jews really support all gentile converts. Because what book are we reading? What foundation do we stand on? Isn't it the same way that woman, that woman in Revelation 12 who represents God's church, she's shining as the church of God, the light of the world.

Jesus said, "you are the light of the world," to the church. She's standing on what? The moon. Moon represents all the promises made to Israel in the old testament. The foundation for all gentile Christians is the old testament and the heritage of the jews. So if we're grafted in, we can't boast against the jews and say, "we're now spiritual Israel; you're not.

" And God says, "no, no, no." Some of Israel has been broken off, and you can be broken off too. So we've got to realize that we really are grafted into the heritage of the jews. You become a spiritual jew. But you know what? There was a problem back in Bible times. Some of the Jewish converts were being plagued by the natural Jewish Christians to keep all of the ceremonial laws.

And that comes up in our lesson too. They said, "how far do we go?" Do we have problems with that today? Legalism. Do we have problems today? Do you run into people that tell us we've got to keep the old feast days and the old Jewish laws? Huh? Have you run into that before? Yeah. Well they really had it back then. Because think about back then.

All the first Christians, pentecost, early church, three and a half years, the only ones who were baptized into Christ were jews. So the jews went everywhere preaching. And when Paul went to a new town to preach, where did he go? Synagogue, and he preached to them first. That's why he said to the jew first, because they already had the Bibles there. Then he talked to the gentiles.

And he even would talk to them on the Sabbath day. That's what it says. But what was happening is these people who had been jews and keeping the law of Moses and the ceremonial laws, and they accepted Jesus, now these gentiles are coming in. They're feeling a little edgy about this, because they said, "oh man, you know they're not wearing the yarmulke and they're not keeping the feast days. And it created quite a bit of consternation among the jews.

They said, "you've got to keep these Jewish laws and these ceremonial laws and these laws of purity." And they said, "well, what do we do?" And there was a lot of confusion about the Jewish laws and regulations and how far do you take that. Now I want to give you a principle that I think may help. We are now living under a whole new economy in new testament times as Christians. New priesthood, new sacrifice, new temple. Notice, Mark 14:63, when Jesus was condemned by the high priest, caiaphas, he "tore his clothes--" the holy garments of the high priest were the most holy of all.

He "tore his clothes and said, 'what do we need of further witnesses?'" By the way, he was not supposed to do that. You read in Leviticus 10:6, "and Moses said to aaron, and elemazar and ithamar, his sons, 'do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die.'" The vestments of the priest were holy. The high priest, caiaphas, he knew better than that, but to try and make a show, he tore his robes when he condemned Jesus, trying to get a guilty verdict out of them. He thought they'd be so horrified that the high priest tore his clothes that they'd say guilty. And really what he was doing is he was signifying new priesthood now.

Doesn't the Bible say that you become a nation of priests and Kings, royal priesthood? Okay, not only was that torn, but when Jesus died on the cross, Mark 15:38, going from Mark 14 to Mark 15:38, "and the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." The veil in the most holy place was torn. So you've got the most holy vestments were torn. You got the most holy place veil was torn. Why? Do we use that temple anymore? Was that temple destroyed? Did the jews have the priesthood of aaron anymore? Nope. That old priesthood is gone.

Do they have the old temple anymore? That old temple is gone. New temple, Jesus said, "what? Don't you know?" Or Paul said, "you are living stones. You are spiritual house." Jesus said, "destroy this temple made with hands. In three days, I'll make one without hands." Christ's body is the new temple. You are the body of Christ.

Okay? And so there's a new temple now. You are part of that spiritual house. And there's a new sacrifice. Not only were the clothing torn, temple veil was torn, the sacrifice was torn. Matthew 27:26, "then pilate released barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus--" what happens when you're scourged.

You're whipped with a very violent implement. And it tears the skin. Jesus, who was the lamb of God, was torn. So you've got a new sacrifice. You've got a new temple.

You've got a new priesthood. Jesus instituted 24 hours before he was--or not even 24 hours, about 12 hours before he was scourged, he said, "this is the blood of my covenant." And then they whipped him; he poured out his blood. And so everything is new now, okay? Corinthians 3:6, "who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not the letter but the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." So "if the ministry of death," listen carefully, "the ministry of death written and engraved on stone--" okay, wait a second here. It's calling the old covenant something engraven in stone. What was engraven in stone? The Ten Commandments.

Calls it a ministry of death. "But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance--" when Moses came down the mountain, he had received the Ten Commandments, he communed with God, his face was shining. But that eventually faded. This "glory passed away, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be more glorious?" So doesn't it seem to say there that now we don't go with the letter of the law, but we go by the Spirit? Yeah, it does. That's exactly what it says.

So what does it mean when you keep the Spirit of the law as opposed to the letter? Or is it saying that? Maybe what it's saying is we keep the Spirit of the law in addition to the letter, 'cause it's more glorious. Let me listen to the words of Jesus here. Let's recite that. Matthew 5:21. Jesus said, Matthew 5:21 in the sermon on the mount, "you have heard it said by those of old, 'you shall not murder,' by those of old, 'you shall not murder.

'" Now what is Jesus quoting? Ten Commandments. What was that written on? Stone. This is the old ministry of death written on stone. "And whoever murders is in danger of judgment. But I say unto you--" now he says here's the Spiritual law, "whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is guilty of judgment.

" So Christ said, "yes, it's written in the Ten Commandments. It's talks about the action of breaking the law, written in stone, it's the letter." But he says, "I'm wanting you to take it beyond the action to an attitude." It's the Spirit of the law. So if you are loving your brother, are you going to kill him? If you're keeping the Spirit of the law and you love your brother, are you going to break the letter of the law? Again, read in Matthew 5:27, "you have heard it said by them of old, 'you shall not commit adultery.'" What is Jesus quoting? That's the letter of the law, written in stone. But he said, "I'm going to tell you what the Spirit is." "I say whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in his heart." So is Jesus saying, "as long as you keep the Spirit of the law, it's okay to commit adultery, just don't think about it?" Wouldn't that be idiotic? But do you meet people that say, "I don't need to worry about the Spirit of the law-- the letter of the law, 'cause I keep the Spirit of the law." You tell them the Sabbath truth, they say, "oh no, that's the letter of the law. I keep the Spirit of the law.

" Well, if you keep the Spirit, you keep the letter. The idea that you're going to keep the Spirit of the law, "don't murder," but you're actually going to break the letter law and kill somebody, that's ludicrous. The idea that you're going to keep the Spirit of the law, "I'm not going to keep adulterous thoughts, but I'm going to break the letter of the law and commit adultery," that's an insult to-- that's a violence to your conscience. The idea that you're going to keep the Spirit of the law, come to Jesus and you will have rest, and break the letter of the law that says, "remember the Sabbath," that's just as idiotic. I don't--that's not kind of me.

I'm sorry. But isn't that what a lot of people do? They use this convoluted logic that I'm spiritual, so I'm going to break the letter of the law. No. If you keep the letter of the law, of course you keep the Spirit of the law. I could never figure that out.

"Jewish laws and regulations," let's see here. Is there a distinction between the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial laws? Let me see, why don't we look real quick in Colossians 2:13-14. Let me read this for you. Colossians 2:13-14. He says, "and being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made us alive with him, having forgiven all your trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us.

" Now notice what requirement he mentions. He mentions circumcision to start with here, right? "He has wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, that was contrary to us. And he has taken it out of the way, nailed it to the cross." And then he goes on and says, "let no man therefore judge you regarding meat or drink or new moons or Sabbath days, which are shadows of things to come." Now I believe that Paul here is making a distinction between the two laws. If you'll notice in Deuteronomy 4, I only read half of this to you before, Deuteronomy 4:13, "he declared to you his covenant that he commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and he wrote them on two tables of stone. And," a-n-d, that means in addition, "the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land that you cross over to possess.

" Ten Commandments and statutes and judgments. Ten commandment law, moral law and you've got the ceremonial law. Now when you talk about the laws in the Bible, there were a number of different kinds of laws in the Bible. You've got the moral law of the Ten Commandments that is universal. Did the moral law exist before the children of Israel? Was it wrong to commit adultery before the Israelites came along? What does Joseph say, long before Mount Sinai, he tells potiphar's wife, how can I do this thing and sin against God, committing adultery with my master's wife? Did Paul--did God tell cain that murder was a sin back in the Garden of Eden? I mean way back at the beginning.

Was it wrong to lie before the Ten Commandments were given? Did the Sabbath exist before Mount Sinai? You got it in Exodus 16, before they get to Mount Sinai, and you've got it in Genesis 2. And so the Ten Commandments go back before there's even sin. That's the moral law. The health laws are basic principles. You know, those laws are actually an extension of the Ten Commandments.

In the Ten Commandments, when it says, "thou shall not kill," not only does it mean others; it means yourself by bad habits. Right? And so the health laws--did health laws exist before Moses? Sure. Did God tell adam and eve what to eat? Did he tell Noah what was clean and unclean animals? Were they jews? So the health principles, they go all the way back. Then there are certain civil laws about how to operate civilly in a government. And those are all very practical.

Matter of fact, many of the laws in western society including America are based on the law of Moses. They hate to--they downplay it, but if you go to the supreme court today, I've been there. And in the mural that's right on the outside, the facade of the supreme court, right at the highest place in the eves, it's got Moses with the Ten Commandments. And because he is the great law-giver. And so much of our law and jurist prudence is based on the civil laws that God gave Israel.

Some of these laws were based on a theocracy. If someone breaks the Sabbath today, do we take them out and stone 'em? No, because we don't live under a theocracy anymore. We live in a democracy. And so it's a different application. Alright, but there's a distinction in law.

Nehemiah 9:13-14, he says, "you came also down Mount Sinai, and you spoke with them from heaven, you gave them just ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments. You made them know your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses." Notice the distinction he makes here between the holy Sabbath, capital s, and the other commandments by the hand of Moses, "precepts, statutes and laws." So in Colossians when it's talking about, "let no man therefore judge you regarding circumcision in the flesh, meat or drink," or these other offerings, he's really talking about the distinction between the ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments here. And these ceremonial Sabbaths. Do we meet people now that tell us we need to keep the feast days? Have you run into those people? Oh yeah. We get phone calls pretty regular about that.

Colossians 2:16-17. It says, "let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are shadows." Were there some Sabbaths which are shadows of things to come? If you read in Leviticus 23, it starts out, it says, "here's the seventh-day Sabbath, part of a weekly cycle." And then he says, "now here are the ceremonial Sabbaths that are part of an annual cycle. This came before sin. It's part of God's perfect eternal plan. These all came because of sin and they were nailed to the cross.

" Furthermore, someone read for me Galatians 4:9-10. Did I give that to somebody? Okay, jolyne. Matter of fact, while you're going to get that, I'll read Corinthians 5:7, "therefore purge out the old leaven, that you might be a new lump," talking about the new covenant, new lump, "since you are truly unleavened. For indeed Christ is our passover, sacrificed for us." "Christ, our passover, was sacrificed for us." So do we sacrifice lambs anymore, or is he telling us that there's been a change in those ceremonial laws. Go ahead read for us, jolyne, Galatians 4:9-10.

"But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years." They were having that same problem in the galatian church. And Paul addresses it even among the Romans. That's by--Paul says in Romans 14, "one person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike." Is he talking about the Sabbath there, or the Jewish feast days? Can you imagine any Christian pastor, any church standing up to his congregation and say, "some of you regard one day above another. You don't have to be here Sunday if you don't want. Another man regards every day alike.

You just do whatever feels good." Did they ever apply that verse that way? No, that'd be madness. No of course not. Paul is talking here about the Jewish Christians who are still keeping the feast days, that were telling the gentile Christians, "you've got to keep." And Paul said, "look," to the Jewish Christians, "you want to keep 'em, you keep 'em. But don't impose that on these new converts." And I never even got to it, but acts 15 talks about this contest where he says, "so what do we tell the Jewish Christians?" And he said, "we put no other burden upon them, except--" well, I'll tell you. Let's look there real quick.

In acts 15:20, they said, "so, you know, what do we tell these Jewish Christians about what they're supposed to do? "We write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols," they were to abstain from idolatry, "from sexual immorality," that means from fornication, sex outside of marriage, "from things strangled--" wait a second. Things strangled? Wasn't that part of the health law? So you see they're keeping the Ten Commandments. They're keeping the laws of idolatry, fornication, part of the Ten Commandments, "things strangled and from blood." And they're also keeping the health laws, but they were under different civil laws with the Romans. They weren't under the theocracy of Israel anymore. And so that helped them know, you don't have to worry about these ceremonial laws anymore, that we don't put that burden upon them.

Oh, I wish I had so much more time. I've got a lot more left to say, but we're out of time. Thank you, friends. I hope we learned something along the way. Thank you for our friends who are studying with us and watching online or on television.

And God willing, we'll study again next Sabbath. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources, geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a click away.

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