There is a growing awareness among the company of nations generally designated as the Anglo-CeltoSaxon and Kindred people that politics as practised today and political reality are poles apart. This awareness has taken into account the fact that the West is without sophisticated leadership and consequently, lacks directive in the context of survival. This cornpanyof nationswhichgavebirthto Twentieth Century civilisation and all the amenities attendant with this, is, by current pressures from within and without, giving birth to a new era which is the very antithesis of that which dawned at the beginning of this century. It is to be an era governed by the grandiose terminology of 'human liberty' which presupposes that all men are equal and have equality in perception conearning the definition of English words. In other words, this new age is to be one in which 'each man shall do those things which are right in his own eyes' irrespective of whether or not his neighbour holds a similar definition. When shorn of its verbose terminology, this new era of permissiveness is nothing less than a part and parcel of the grand design which is aimed at the elimination of the custodians of law and order and the total eradication of God and His Plan and Purpose for the world.
It is, by the very nature of present developments within the grand design, unacceptable to equate God with world politics and yet, when one considers the Old Testament record, one finds that men, living much closer to God than the present generation, did not hesitate to bring Him into the politics of the day and to follow His Directives as this formed the national Constitution of the day. To them, He was not the One-Day-A-Week-God Whose relevance became apparent during religious services - He was an integral part of their national whole Whose Laws prospered the people until they, just as today, felt that they had progressed beyond the scope of His Commandments.
It is the purpose of this series to provide a history of God's Law as
this was given to His Covenant People and to show that while some four
millenia have passed since they were codified at Sinai and given to Israel,
their validity remains no matter how sophisticated one may consider the
present time. During the course of this series it will be seen that the
prescribed alternatives to obedience to God's Law is still operative and
that in Britain alone, some eight years ago, the alternatives recorded
in Deuteronomy 28:15-44, became the national experience - not by accident,
but as a reminder of the continuing validity of the Law of the Lord.
But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils,- for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraints (Burke - Reflections on the Revolution in France)
It has been claimed that, from a politically evolutionary point of view, the present age was begun during the period of the French Revolution under the battle-cry of 'Liberty - Equality - Fraternity'. Such was the conviction - or persuasion - of that time that on September 21, 1792, members of the Convention believed that they were fully justified in dating that 'moment' as Year One in the calendar of human achievement. One should be under no delusion here no matter how much one may resent the implied irrelevance of the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Dawn of the Christian era as Year One. The French Revolution was a new starting point of political achievement, the ripples of which have persisted for almost two centuries and today show every indication of intensifying the erroneous premise on which it was built. None will surely deny that one of the most vicious of modern plagues is that of the violent overthrow of Constitutional Government by revolutionary means and none will surely attempt to refute the French Revolutionary basis for it.
Since the latter end of the eighteenth Century and using the clause, 'the rights of man' embodied in the French Constitution since August 26, 1789, sinister and self-seeking elements have waved the flag of liberty around the world without any reference to responsibility without which, liberty becomes licence. That this was so at the close of the First World War was clearly evident in academic circles for in a speech at the University of Wisconsin in 1918, Otto Khan made the following observation. "As so often before, liberty has been wounded in the house of its friends. Liberty in the wild and freakish hands of fanatics has once more, as frequently in the past, proved the effective helpmate of autocracy and the twin-brother of tyranny ... The deadliest foe of democracy is not autocracy, but liberty frenzied. Liberty is not foolproof. For its beneficent working it demands selfrestraint, a sane and clear recognition of the practical and attainable, and of the fact that there are laws of nature which are beyond our power to change,"
Men have, through the persuasion of ideological beliefs, attempted to change nature by endowing all men with an equal perception of the words 'Equality, Liberty and Fraternity' ignoring the fact that it was a rabble-rousing clich6devoid of political reality. Under this, the manipulators of the French Revolution disposed of all authority from the Emperor to the clergy hoping to extend this throughout all Europe, thus establishing republican rather than Monarchial Government. It is a matter of history that it failed then but this is not to say that the same objectives do not obtain today.
With the toppling of the Tsarist regime in Russia in 1917 - and under the identical pretext which energised the French Revolution barely a century earlier, the Bolshevik Revolution set a machinery in motion which claimed as its motive the emancipation of man under the liberty of world socialism. As with the French Revolution, the ideal had many advocates and in Britain, the home of law and order, one found the United Socialist Council calling for a national Conference at Leeds to "Hail the Russian Revolution - To Organise the British Democracy - To follow Russia". Such was the fanaticism of the 'revolution for liberty' that even philosophers, usually given to supporting new and outwardly progressive ideas, found it necessary to issue a warning against the developing trends. They contended that while it was admitted that Nature had not made men slaves, but free with an intrinsic right to liberty, this right did not extend to infringing the equal freedom of others. Theirs was indeed the 'voice of reason' at that time a reason which soon vapourised when the world depression of the 30's struck to be followed by the Second World War. Reason had no place in the holocaust of destruction which swept across the world and as a shaken humanity began to take stock of their affairs, the 'wise' began to see that 'liberty' was a commodity manipulated by the 'powers of darknessr for their own ends. However, although being wise to the implications, they could do nothing to halt the revolutionary tide.
The post-war era saw an artificial intensification of the principle of the emancipation of man. It witnessed the dismantling of colonialism, the disintegration of imperialism as exemplified by the British Empire and the emergence of the so-called Third World as a political power. All this was achieved under the pretext of liberty - the freeing of the oppressed and the granting of dignity to those subservient to the administration of others. However, over the past 45 years, history has shown that universal liberty is merely an idealistic excuse to cover universal licence. Events are repeating themselves, for over the long period of the seven thousand years of recorded human history men have shown by their actions that they refuse to extend their own right of liberty to others and have imposed their arbitrary wills upon their neighbour. Liberty has indeed been seen as licence and in consequence, chapter after chapter of confusion has been written into the record of human endeavour leaving a legacy of tyranny, conquest, lawlessness, oppression and mob-rule to future generations. This is precisely what has crystallised into the experience of the present generation which finds itself conditioned to accepting that liberty is really licence and licence really liberty.
The Main Target of Lawlessness
Reference has already been made to the United Socialist Council in Britain with its support for the Bolshevik Revolution. However, forces dedicated to the erosion of the British Empire and the exploitation of world revolutionary trend were already at work as early as 1911. The Socialist Party of Great Britain (S.P.G.B.) had, by that time, issued a pamphlet which, in effect, was a declaration of war against Christian Britain of that time. This pamphlet, under the title of Socialism and Religion, makes the following statements:-
Why is this so? Why is it that the whole body of Anglo-Saxon nations throughout the earth has been subjected to and, like Britain, is capitulating to the erroneous concept that the so-called liberated nations are equally altruistic in permitting the same liberty of self-determination in Anglo-Saxondom? The very powers of hell have been unleashed on this company of nations and as one looks back over the history of these people for the past four hundred years, one is able to discern the point in human experience where politics and religion merge into a tangible demonstration of the reality of God. Was it purely coincidental that the beginning of the 17th Century was marked by an opening of God’s Word to the people? Was it a further coincidence that the people who embraced the Book, both nationally and individually, soon developed on the stage of world history at the precise time and in the exact manner as God had prescribed for His People? The fact of the matter is that Anglo-Saxondom is not only the People of the Book - their history proves that they are the People in the Book. They are indeed God’s Witness Nation (Isaiah 43:12,21). In this role, it naturally follows that they would be the target of all anti-God forces and as is evidenced today, the pattern of erosion has been centred on everything which witnesses to the Hand of God in these people.
Liberty from Law
It is one of the most amazing wonders of the age that the Anglo-Saxon people allowed themselves to be hood-winked into believing that the religious liberty which had derived from the Reformation had extended to their handling of the things of God. Ignoring the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ said: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18), or as recorded by Luke: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17), individuals within Anglo-Saxondom allowed themselves the luxury of religion without responsibility. Instead of ‘searching the Scriptures’ they allowed their whole appreciation of the Biblical narrative to be guided according to the theology of the Reformers who, lets face it, were not infallible. Martin Luther was, of course, a violent antinomianist i.e., he was opposed to the Law of the Lord as having any place in the Christian experience. On August 1, 1521, he wrote to Melanchthon, a co-worker in the Reformation stating: “Sin cannot separate us from God, even if we commit murder and fornication a thousand times a day”. ‘Sin’ of course, is the transgression of God’s Law (l John 3:4) and from what Luther wrote, it was obvious that he visualised a Christian life without any discipline or responsibility.
Melanchthon, on the other hand, responded by writing a treatise of confusion in which he attempted to persuade his disciples that the Law of Moses, having become redundant, had now been superseded by natural law or the law of the human conscience. In Loci Communes he wrote: “Some laws are natural laws, others divine, and others human. Concerning natural laws, I have seen nothing worthily written either by theologians or lawyers. For when natural laws are being proclaimed, it is proper that their formulas be collected by the method of human reason through the natural syllogism. I have not yet seen this done by anyone, and I do not know at all whether it can be done, since human reason is so enslaved and blinded - at least it has been up until now. Moreover, Paul teaches in Romans 2:15 in a remarkably fine and clear argument that there is in the Gentiles a conscience which either defends or accuses their acts, and therefore it is law. For what is conscience but a judgment of our deeds which is derived from some law or common rule? The law of nature, therefore, is a common judgment to which all men give the same consent. This law which God has engraved on the mind of each is suitable for the shaping of morals.” Here indeed is liberty of the wrong kind for the human conscience, as has been demonstrated by the Roman doctrine of ‘Confession’ and penances for the remission of transgressions surely indicates that the conscience is easily appeased by pretensions of piety. Thus believing that any act, within the frame-work of an easily appeasable conscience, was valid as Christian behaviour, Anglo-Saxondom ignored the Statutes and Commandments in the Law of the Lord and unbeknown to them, experienced the Judgments in both the national and individual spheres. However, not all Anglo-Saxons accepted the theology of the Reformers and there arose a faction which became known as the Puritans whose doctrine, whatever may have developed later, centred on the discipline of God’s Law. To many, this was a harsh sect which held the view that it was the business of the state to supervise the personal morality of its citizens and which, in the light of the new religious liberalism endowed by Martin Luther and others, was totally incompatible with what was now conceived as Christian behaviour.
Liberty That Was Not
While Anglo-Saxondom broke with Rome, the new independent Church of England still retained some of the superstitions and corrupt observances which characterised the Papal Church. The more advanced among the Protestant clergy sought to make the break complete and it was from this endeavour that the Puritans sprang. Life, under this dedication became a burden and many decided to leave England and settled in Holland where a Puritan Church was established at Leyden. However, after 10 years, this little company found the Continental religious liberty an abused privilege and it was decided to ‘leave for another land’. Obtaining from the Virginia Company a grant of land in the new world and having received an assurance of their freedom to worship as they pleased from the king through Sir Edwin Sandys, they returned to England and finally sailed from Plymouth on September 6, 1620.
Adverse weather caused this little band of 102 men, women and children to land on the coast of Massachusetts far north of the territory allotted to them and on December 21, 1620, they founded the Plymouth Colony with deep reverence. In the stuffy little cabin of the Mayflower these men drew up a Compact which recorded the following declaration of intent.
“In the Name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, a voyage to plant the first colony . . . do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, combine ourselves into a civil body politic.”
Here was the drafting of future political intent which these men did not hesitate to marry to their religious convictions.
In the historical records of the Colony dating from 1638 to 1649 one is able to see the Hand of God working for one finds such entries in official documents as to indicate the embracing of the Law of God as the Constitution for the people.
“March 2, 1641-42: And according to the fundamental agreement, made and published by full and general consent, when the plantation began and government was settled, that the judicial Law of God given by Moses and expounded in other parts of Scripture, so far as it is a hedge and a fence to the moral law, and neither ceremonial nor typical nor had any reference to Canaan, hath an everlasting equity in it, and should be the rule of their proceedings . . .”
“April 3, 1644: It was ordered that the judicial Laws of God, as they were delivered by Moses . . . be a rule to all the courts in this jurisdiction in their proceedings against all offenders . . .” Changes soon manifest themselves, however. To the original colony of 102 were added unrecorded numbers of families who fled from the Old to the New England in the west - an emigration which was checked in 1631 when conditions in England took a change for the better in the struggle between the king and the people. However, by 1640 it was said of the little colony of Pennsylvania just south of Massachusetts, that one could hear every language in Europe spoken. Franklin, in 1751, estimated that there were “near a million English souls” in the colonies while the first census taken in 1790 ascertained that the overall population was 3,929,214 persons. If Franklin was correct, the proportion of English immigrants to others was roughly one quarter.
Such was the popularity of the New World that the British Crown created what is known as ‘charter colonies’ which were centred in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In these the colonial governments had charters from the Crown, giving the people, or freemen, the right to choose their own governors and other magistrates, to make their own laws and enforce them. As has been stated previously, Massachusetts, having been established by the Puritans from the Mayflower, had already resorted to the Law of the Lord as the governing Instrument and although it is not recorded when this ceased to be the rule of conduct, what is known is that the right of selfadministration was removed from them in 1684. While Connecticut and Rhode Island kept their charters intact, the Massachusetts charter was cancelled by the Crown judges with a new charter issued in 1691.
Under this the appointment of the governor was reserved to the Crown - a governor who had the right of absolute veto on all laws operative within the colony. From this, one should not imagine that England was the ‘baddy’ in the drama of the new world, far from it. While there were both good and bad governors appointed, one is able to see, from records still available, that among them were God-fearing and knowledgeable men. In 1775, just one year before American Independence, Jonathan Trumbull, the English governor of the colony of Connecticut, appointed November 16 as a Day of Public Thanksgiving. In his proclamation, he enjoined all to “. . . offer up humble and earnest Prayers to God for our Sovereign Lord King George the Third; our gracious Queen Charlotte; His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and the Rest of the Royal Family: That God would inspire the King’s Heart with Wisdom to discern the true interests of all his people; guide and dispose him such measures as may happily tend to their peace, prosperity and happiness: That He would bless our Civil rulers; lead them into the most wise and prudent measures, happily to guide our affairs in this dark and difficult day; and make them know what Israel ought to do. That he would graciously restore the blessings He has given us a right to enjoy and preserve our privileges forever”.
The opportunity afforded by the Lord God of Israel in the New World to demonstrate the practical nature of His Law as a National Constitution was impeded by the in-flow of immigrants to whom the Constitution was never given and to whom it meant nothing. Democracy was established - a form of rule which is totally alien to the Constitution provided by Almighty God. The first occasion when God’s People lapsed into a primitive form of democracy was when in the absence of Moses on the mount, Aaron was induced to create a golden calf as the object of Israel’s service and worship. The voice of the ‘mixed multitude’ accompanying Israel in the Exodus, was loudest - the mob indeed ruled the nation then - and rules today.
At present, government throughout all the Anglo-Saxon nations is the same. No thought of what God has done in history to remind His People that He is Faithful is given, nor do the political leaders ever examine their administrative mechanisms against what God intended for His People. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God hath commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations . . .” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6). Statutes and Judgments - these are National matters vitally important to the organisation of government which God assures is the yardstick - indeed the only yard-stick - for the operation of His People in the earth.
The ‘tares’ (see the parable in Matthew 13:24-30) have indeed been planted in the midst of the Kingdom ‘wheat’ and at the moment are choking the nature, character and purpose of it. However, having irrevocably committed His People to the accomplishment of His world national purposes, the Lord’s Will must be done on earth. If, however, the Anglo-Saxon people of the world refuse, through self-blindness and world propaganda, to allow God’s Will to be done through them, make no mistake, it will be done to them. The chastisement - prescribed in God’s Law - is already taking its toll throughout all Anglo-Saxon lands as a reminder of the political reality of the need to get back to the principles of ‘life and good, death and evil’ (Deuteronomy 30:15). Paradoxically, hell-bent as the Anglo-Saxon company of nations are to sponsor the cry for ‘equality, liberty and fraternity’, they have chosen ‘death and evil’, whereas in their very hands - nay, written in their heart and minds - is the Law of the Lord - ‘life and good’. It is surely time that God’s People knew what they must do - and do it.
“Just laws are no restraint upon the freedom of the good, for the good man desires nothing which a just law will interfere with.” Froude - Short studies on Great Subjects.
It has been said and generally accepted that the Renaissance was the process whereby Europe passed from a medieval to a modern civilisation - the French word itself indicating rebirth (re: again; naitre: to be born). This period is acclaimed as ‘the revival of learning’ and while the Reformation cannot be described as a direct consequence of the Renaissance - this writer believes the Reformation to have been the specific Action of God in vindication of His Word of Promise - the new spirit of limitless enquiry and the passion for accuracy and truth undoubtedly contributed to the rejection of Papal superstitions and practices.
As has been stated previously, this era was utilised by God to demonstrate His Truth to the people whom He had constituted as His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10,21 ). The New England band of Puritans, although eventually undermined by the weight of political opposition from the numerically superior immigrants from Europe, put the Law of the Lord into operation as the governing instrument in the civil body politic. Subsequent to this, there followed the demonstration of God’s Faithfulness to the Covenant which He made with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in that, centred in Britain, history had recorded the development of a national instrument along lines which God had assured would be those of His true Israel people. It was indeed an era for the exploitation of Truth but, as has been demonstrated throughout man’s recorded history, Truth is unpalatable to the majority who prefer its opposite - error.
To counter the microscopic demonstration of the efficacy of the Law of the Lord as implemented in New England, men began to formulate policies based on the humanistic concept which made no provision for God’s Directives. With the wealth of Scriptural exhortations concerning political economy now available through the Open Book and particularly in view of the religious fervour which gripped the people because of the Reformation, one would have thought that this would have been the basis for any new policy contemplated. Tragically, the policy-makers turned their back on God’s Word and embraced the work by Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations - which appeared in 1776 and became the very antithesis of the political economy in the Law of the Lord. Ignoring the lesson of Genesis 2 which records God's opposition to the same political economy as propounded by Adam Smith, men persisted in forcing God out of politics and allowing Him credence on one day of the week and then only within the walls of man-made structures called a church.
Even within the mighty edifices of majestic buildings adorned with religious ensignia and permeated with an atmosphere of religious piety, God was not allowed to be Himself, but was made to conform to the Image which man has bestowed on Him. It was within these walls that He had to listen to expositions which claimed that He, the Jehovah or Lord of the Old Testament was a superstitious invention of some desert tribes which, in keeping with primitive practices of that time, conjured up a deity which was appropriate for the needs of the people during those early years. While it is certainly not denied that people have and do create gods, these gods are usually very agreeable to what the people wish and usually direct what the people desire. For example, if the people want a permissive society, they create a permissive god who not only condones lawlessness, but actually encourages it and provides religious sanction to those who indulge in it. What men have failed to see is that the God of the Old Testament does not fall into the category of created gods. If Jehovah was the product of nomadic tribes as is suggested by modern teachers, His Creation was different to anything which had preceded or succeeded it. He was certainly not agreeable to the wishes of the people and His Laws were contrary to their desires.
This is precisely why the God of the Old Testament is rejected today for what He had declared by way of Covenant, what He demands by way of obedience and what He requires as Service are totally incompatible with the desires of modern men. They prefer to have a God Who makes no demands upon them other than those which are convenient to them and their preference for a God of antinomianism - lawlessness - is very evident in the opposition to any suggestion that men need His Law today. Nothing is more deadly or derelict than the religious concept within Anglo-Saxondom that the Christian, whether individual or nation, has the right of conduct governed exclusively by the human conscience. This antinomianism, promulgated by Agricola, Luther and other European reformists is at variance with God’s Word which was first directed through the prophets and latterly through His Son and none other (Hebrews 1:1-2).
The Lord Jesus Christ said: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17) while others, infinitely less authoritative, contend and positively assert the human conscience as the only yard-stick for religious or political behaviour.
The Christian and the Law
It is quite common today to hear countless assertions, despite the categorical statement by the Lord, that, as the Law ‘had no power to change a sinful heart’, it had to be put aside as an instrument unnecessary to the Christian experience. The 19th Psalm gives the lie to this for it is stated: “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul . . .” - an active mechanism which achieves infinitely more than the puny verbal efforts of men. Then again one hears that ‘the fiery finger of God’s Law points unerringly to Jesus Christ the Lord Who fulfilled every jot and tittle of it and having thus fulfilled the Law, bowed His Head on Calvary’s cross and cried that heaven and earth, angel and sinner might hear; It is finished'. Make no mistake here. It was not the Law which was finished, but the machinery of Redemption which formerly had been limited to sacrificial ordinances of shed blood of bulls and goats. A brief consideration of the history of the Law will confirm this.
The Bible narrative opens with a comparatively brief summary of the great Act of Creation and while Law, as such, is not mentioned, one is confronted by an order of perfection which men have called the immutable laws of nature. The continuity of each form of life was governed by the natural act of adhering each to ‘its kind’ - a primitive form of separate development or natural law. There can thus be no doubt whatsoever that Law was present at Creation and while men are content to equate this as the ‘laws of nature’ - a self creating accommodation with varying environments - they fail to appreciate that there is no law in nature, there is a law over nature - God’s Law.
While man (Hebrew aw dawm; ruddy or able to blush) was given ‘dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth’ (Genesis 1:28), the process by which this dominion was to be accomplished is not given. The first intimation of Law, as such, appears in Genesis 2:16 when ‘the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it . . .’ This command thus became the law of life to Adam who was endowed with the right of choice and the Power to choose ‘life and good; death and evil’.
It is patently obvious, however, that much more was involved in the ‘Command’ of the Lord God, for while the narrative merely recounts the above quoted bald statement, subsequent events such as the banishment of Cain and the Flood were judgments which could only be enacted against some specific commandment. Sin, or law transgression, cannot be imputed when there is no law and in consequence no judgment can be passed, nor punishment enacted unless there has been a violation of the rule of conduct which had been communicated to those involved. Meagre though the information is, such as is available suggests that the Adamic family, in its infancy, was acquainted with more of God’s Word than is currently recorded in the Bible. In Hebrews 11:4 it is written that “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts”. Abel’s offering was ‘by faith’ which is ‘by report, but the report by the word of God’ (literal translation Romans 10:17), thus indicating that Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel were conversant with the ‘report’ of the word of God in the context of sacrifice. Further to this, it is stated that Abel ‘obtained witness that he was righteous’ - the word ‘righteous’ being translated from the Greek dikaios from the root dike which means ‘right’ in terms of justice and which, in turn, pre-supposes a body of revealed law.
In connection with the Flood, the same feature is again in evidence for while it is stated: “And God saw that the wickedness of man (Hebrew aw dawm) was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5), Peter draws attention to Noah whom he cites as a ‘preacher of righteousness’. The word ‘righteousness’ in the Greek text, as with that in connection with Abel’s sacrifice, is dikaios which, as has been stated above, has connection with a body of revealed law. It is therefore apparent that the antediluvian civilisation of the Adamic family devolved into a permissive society in which, as with today, men were a law unto themselves pursuing a life which centred in self-gratification. The fact that ‘violence’ filled the earth is another indication of the existence of law, for according to rabinnical authorities, the Hebrew chamac - translated ‘violence’ - indicates the gross outrage of the rights of the weak by the strong - ‘rights’ being derived from a body of law bestowing these. Be that as it may, judgment was certainly visited on that generation - a judgment which would only be righteous if the people had violated prescribed law.
The Law and Man
While there is evidence of the existence of law in the antediluvian civilisation, the first positive statement regarding human administration as such appears in the immediate postdiluvian era where the mandate for human government was given. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6). This immediately raises the point that while men undoubtedly knew the law, apart from the basic cause and effect principle, the law could not and did not enforce itself. This being so, it became necessary to delegate to the Noachic family the right of administration and judgment in the organisation of society.
The error into which so many fall when postulating the theory of the termination of the Law on Calvary’s cross, is that they fail to note that the Law did not begin at Sinai. There is ample scriptural evidence to prove that the Laws of God were not only in operation, but actually kept four hundred years prior to the codification of these Laws at Sinai. Abraham, who lived some four centuries prior to the Mosaic Dispensation, obeyed, not the laws of men, nor those evolved by the developing situation of that time, but the laws of God. This information was provided to Isaac by the Lord Who stated that His Covenant Commitment was “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:5). It is thus a scriptural fact that Abraham observed God’s Law long before Moses was born. It is not stated however, that Abraham observed any prescribed ritual which made atonement for transgression of God’s Laws, thus making it patently obvious that no such ordinance was associated with the law at that time. God, therefore entered into Covenant relationship with Abraham, not because of his religiosity, but because of his obedience to the commandments and statutes which governed every-day life. Men, for some reason best known to themselves, appear reluctant to accept that God is as interested in matters pertaining to the Law as He is in those relating to individuals. While the Scripture positively states that Abraham kept God’s Laws, certain individuals aver that as no such rules of conduct are recorded as being received from God at that time, the Scripture must be in error and that the Patriarch in fact lived under the law-system enforced by the Babylonian king Hammurabi.
The Code of Hammurabi
While there is a certain amount of controversy concerning the date of the reign of Hammurabi, it is generally accepted that he lived at and ruled Babylon during Abraham’s life-time. In 1902, archaeologists unearthed a large fragment of black diorite at Susa which subsequently proved to be the law code of Hammurabi, the son of Sin-muballit the Babylonian king. This round-topped stela is today on exhibition in the Louvre at Paris, while an exact replica may be found in the British Museum. The bas-relief shows Hammurabi standing before the enthroned sun-god Shamash, the patron of law and justice, receiving from the god his kingly authority and law-giving power. Allowing for the exaggerations which characterised most of the biographies of ancient kings, may not the Code of Hammurabi contain the germ of truth in that, being descended from Noah, did he not perpetuate the mandate given to Noah by placing himself in his forefather’s position? This could be the answer to the undoubted similarity which exists between the Code of Hammurabi and the Law given to Israel at Sinai. Hammurabi’s Code includes almost 300 paragraphs of legal provisions touching commercial, social, domestic and moral life. Among these, one finds court procedures meticulously set out with perjury or false accusation in a capital case carrying the death penalty. Other crimes too, such as theft, kidnapping and house-breaking were similarly dealt with. Other laws regulated farm rentals, deposits and debts, rental of cattle, wages of labourers, with even the construction industry governed by regulations which demanded that if a builder erected an unsafe house which subsequently fell upon its owner and killed him, the builder himself was liable to the death penalty. The provision laid down in Genesis 9:6 concerning capital punishment for murder - enacted some three or four centuries before Hammurabi - is found in the Code which demands: “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe”.
Paragraph 146 of the Code reads: “If a man has married a priestess, and she has given to her husband a female slave who bears children; and afterwards that slave ranks herself with her mistress, because she has borne children, her mistress may not sell her for silver. She may be fettered and counted among the slaves”. While one may not be absolutely certain, this law could possibly have been the motivation behind Sarah’s attempt to produce seed to Abraham (Genesis 16:1-7), although it is patently obvious that the latter end of the Code-law was not invoked when Hagar ‘despised’ Sarah for not bearing a child herself. Hagar was not ‘fettered and counted among the slaves’ but was sent out of the Abrahamic household.
However, while similarities do exist between the Code of Hammurabi and the Law given later at Sinai, one finds diametrically opposed clauses such as attitudes toward idolatry, sorcery and witchcraft which are encouraged in the Code, but forbidden in the Law. While many have suggested that Moses refined the Code of Hammurabi, archaeological discoveries are forcing a reappraisal of this viewpoint for the existence of earlier law-codes have been uncovered without the corruptions evident in Hammurabi’s Code which have suggested to sincere students that the resemblance between the two may be seen in terms of common heritage rather than as proof of direct dependency. In other words, the fact is dawning on many that the starting point in this subject was God’s mandate to Noah and while corruption set in when men sought to implement this, the Law given at Sinai was essentially the same as that originally given to Noah.
The ‘Law that was Added’
Attention is once again focused on Abraham whose commitment to God’s world Purposes and whose covenanted progeny was likewise committed, resulted from his obedience to ‘my voice, my commandments, my statutes and my laws’ (Genesis 26:5). From this, unless one disbelieves God’s Word, it is patently obvious that God’s commandments, statutes and laws had come down, despite the post-flood rebellion (Genesis 11:4), in an unadulterated form - and this through the Shemetic family line. It should be noted again that God did not say His selection of Abraham was because he kept the law, but specifically my laws. The commissioning of Abraham and his seed after him - the Covenant of Promise in terms of national possessions was thus associated with commandments, statutes and laws and had absolutely nothing to do with ordinances of sacrifice which were added some four hundred years later. Ferrar Fenton’s translation of Galatians 3:17 confirming this by recording: “And I assert this - the ritual, beginning four hundred and thirty years after, could not cancel a settlement previously established by God, so as to abolish the promises”. It is therefore erroneous to suggest that the fulfilment of God’s Covenant Promises was dependent upon obedience to or acceptance of a ritual of sacrifice which only came into existence some four centuries later.
Abraham’s dedication to keeping the Law of the Lord was the subject of the soliloquy of God in Genesis 18:17-19. “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” The ‘way of the Lord’ is here described as having to do with ‘justice and judgment’ - again no reference is found suggesting that adherence to ritualistic sacrifice was a pre-requisite. Abraham’s covenanted progeny were thus required to keep the way of the Lord which resulted in ‘justice and judgment’ - features which are essential to orderly social relationships - the lack of which was branded into the national consciousness during the period of their sojourn in Egypt.
Israel - Ruled by God
Abraham’s covenanted progeny, now called the Children of Israel, had, by this time, merely been constituted as the recipients of the Covenant Promises and it remained for Sinai to be the scene where, as a nation, they received a national charter from God and were enjoined to administer His commandments, statutes and judgments. Prior to this, they had received instruction from their elders and parents, but mere knowledge of the law certainly does not bring it into operation, nor will that knowledge compel men to observe and obey its precepts. These facts had been demonstrated time and again prior to the call of Abraham but now, at Sinai, a nation received its charter and was required to administer God’s commandments, statutes and judgments. They were required to be Israel - ruled by God in order to fulfil their commission to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 4:6)
As the nation gathered at the foot of the mount in the Sinai peninsula, Moses went up into the mountain and received a commission from God Who said: “Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:3-6). Moses submitted this proposal to the assembled nation and once again it should be stated that the nation’s understanding of the covenant was limited to the proposal and not to anything which may be added at some later stage. It should be noted that God had stated that adherence to the covenant would result in the children of Israel becoming ‘a kingdom of priests’ which, as understood by the people in the context in which it was uttered, would transform them into a kingdom of administrators. The Hebrew word kohen, while generally associated with the priestly function of sacrifice, is, according to Gesenius, of Arabic derivation and usually associated with rule or administration. In the original Hebrew text, David’s sons are called kohen (2 Samuel 8:18) and being of the tribe of Judah, are referred to as ‘rulers’. Thus in the proposal put to the nation, they understood and accepted that they were required to be a ‘kingdom of administrators’ if they entered into the covenant. “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8).
It was only after this acceptance and subsequent to the re-giving of the Law that a new thing was added - the ordinances of sacrifice. As is obvious, ‘sin was in the world’ (Greek: kosmos -world system) i.e., the law given to Noah under the mandate was broken, but it was not imputed to them i.e., the nature of its giving and acceptance was not as it now became at Sinai. Now transgression of the law was imputed to them and because of this, the reconciliation mechanism of substitutionary sacrifice was established in the shedding of blood. It was in this context that the Aaronic priesthood came into being to offer the blood of bulls and goats which merely covered or hid from sight, the transgression of the Law. This ordinance obtained until full and final forgiveness was delivered when the Perfect Lamb gave Himself on Calvary and ended the ordinances once and for all. This is that which was finished when the Lord issued that cry from the cross - not the commandments, statutes and judgments. It is indeed ‘easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail’.
In this first section, it is hoped that many misconceptions concerning the continuing validity of the Law of the Lord have been corrected and that one is now in a better position to grasp the fact in the near future, the Law which shall go forth of Zion (Micah 4:2), is the same Law which was codified at Sinai and engraved upon the heart and mind of God’s Israel People when the Lord Jesus Christ initiated the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8:8). As world events proceed along satanically determined lines and God’s People find themselves becoming isolated because of their rejection of extremes in demands by the heathen and other nations of the world, such isolation will indeed bring about the need for a way of life tailored for such a contingency - the Law of the Lord.