Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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The law of the Old Testament was God’s law. It made God’s requirements clear for the lifestyle, worship, and justice system of Israel. The law was a revelation of how God viewed right living, right worship, and good government. And God still thinks what He has always thought! What God thought was righteous conduct in Moses’ day, He still thinks is righteous conduct. And what God thought was righteous judgment then, He still thinks is righteous judgment. If God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is “the same today, yesterday, and forever,” then what is the Father? If you know God at all, then you know this:
God has never learned anything!
God has never had to go back and correct anything He has ever said or done!
The principal reason God gave His law to Israel was to point them to the coming Messiah, His Son. Paul described the law as Israel’s schoolmaster which led to Christ (Gal. 3:24). And that same law, written on our hearts by the Spirit, is now doing for us what it once did for Israel. It is pointing us to Jesus Christ, preparing us for his coming, but this time it is his second coming, not his first.
Governing the Earth
A very great benefit of studying the law of Moses is that the kind of judgments found in the law are God’s kind of judgments; therefore, they are the kind of judgments that Jesus will render when he rules the earth for a thousand years. The law is not a dead, worthless relic of the past; it is telling us what kind of government to expect from Jesus when he sets up his kingdom on earth. Jesus will rule over the wicked, “with a rod of iron”, and the “iron” judgments he will execute are the kinds of judgments found in Moses’ law! The law is still pointing to Christ and preparing God’s children to reign with him.
To prepare to reign with Christ Jesus means to learn to agree with him in judgment! We certainly are not prepared to reign with Christ if we disagree with his judgments. We are supposed to be in the process of developing the mind of Christ so that we judge as he judges, and feel as he feels about everything. We are in training. That is why God sends trials and temptations our way.
Consider this description of the millennial reign of Jesus, from Zechariah 14:
16. And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will come up from year to year to worship the King, Lord of hosts, to make pilgrimage for the Feast of Booths.
17. And it shall come to pass that there will be no rain on those who do not come up to Jerusalem from among the families of the earth to worship the King, Lord of hosts.
18. If the family of Egypt does not go up to Jerusalem, and does not come, then on them shall there be none. This is the plague with which Jehovah will strike the nations who do not come up to observe the Feast of Booths.
19. This shall be the punishment for Egypt’s sin and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to observe the Feast of Booths.
At the present time, believers are given no authority to physically punish the wicked. For that, we must wait for the return of Jesus. It is sin for a believer today to become entangled in the political or military affairs of this world. We are citizens of a heavenly country, and we are here as ambassadors of Christ. This world’s social ills and political controversies are none of our business. Our king is coming to conquer and replace every government in every place. His kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit, and we who believe are in the critical process of learning to walk in the Spirit, judge in the Spirit, and stand in the Spirit against strong opposition. We are kings and priests to God, but not yet with earthly civil authority. That will come, though. Are you prepared to judge the world with Christ?
The Son of God occupies his position as well as he does only because he completely agrees with everything his Father thinks. How well we occupy our places in the kingdom of God will be determined by the same standard. Do we think what God thinks? Do we feel what He feels? I am only as good a pastor as I agree with Jesus. I am harmful to the body of Christ unless I judge as he judges. Any time I think one thing when Jesus is thinking another, I am wrong, and I have become a stumbling block to every saint under my care.
Because Jesus always thinks the way the Father thinks, Jesus is always right. The fundamental issue of life for every child of God is, Do we think the way our heavenly Father thinks? Jesus has the mind of his Father, but do we have the mind of Christ? The value of the law of Moses is that it gives us a glimpse into the Father’s mind. Moses’ law was the most precious insight into the heart of God ever known until the Spirit of God was poured out on the day of Pentecost. But what kind of thinking, what kind of judgments, did the Spirit bring into men’s hearts when it came, if not God’s kind of thinking and God’s kind of judgments? That was, after all, what God promised:
31. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
32. not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke even though I had married them, says the Lord.
33. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the Lord, I will put my law within them and write it on their heart and I will be their God and they will be my people.
34. And they will no longer teach, each man his fellow or, each man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord”, because all of them will know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord, for I will forgive their transgression and not remember their sin anymore.
That promise, that the law would be put into believers’ hearts, was fulfilled when Christ ascended into heaven and the Spirit of God was sent to dwell within us and to give us the knowledge of God.
What about the Other Commandments?
We are all familiar with God’s moral commandments that are in the law, laws such as “love your neighbor as yourself”, “thou shalt not steal”, “thou shalt not bear false witness”, “thou shalt not covet”, etc. Everyone agrees that God’s moral commandments are “holy and just and good.” But what about the other judgments of God revealed in the law, the ones that reveal what God considers to be perfect justice? What about His commandments for the judges and rulers of Israel, the criminal judgments (perfect because the Giver was perfect) such as public whippings for wicked transgressors, or the execution of murderers, adulterers, and harlots, or the forced double or quadruple repayment of stolen property?
• Do we agree with God’s law, that kidnappers should be put to death? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns.
• Do we agree with God’s law, that the owner of a dangerous animal should be executed if that animal kills someone and the owner knew the animal was dangerous? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns.
• Do we agree with God’s law, that every witch should be burned alive? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns.
• Do we agree with God’s law, that every person who worships any God but Jehovah should be executed? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns.
• Do we agree with God’s law, that every homosexual should be put to death? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns.
• Do we agree with God’s law, that every adulterer and adulteress should be put to death? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns.
• Do we agree with God’s law, that every son or daughter who rebels against his parents and becomes stubbornly self-indulgent is to be stoned? Jesus does, and he will execute such judgments when he returns. (Jn. 8:1—11).
The law of Moses is telling us about the future reign of Christ! It is not a useless ancient document. It came from God and served a purpose to point people to Christ — and it still does, though now it points to his future reign instead of his suffering and death.
David offered the following descriptions of the law and the judgments of God:
7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Do we feel as David felt about the law and judgments of God? To the extent that we do, we have the mind of Christ and are prepared to reign with him. To the extent that we do not, we are carnally minded and unprepared to reign with Christ, and we will doubtless be a stumbling block to some child of God while we live.
God’s ways are not our ways, but they are right. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, but they are perfect and true. And only those who think as He thinks will reign with His Son when he returns to this earth.