Balancing The Use Of The Old Testament — Paul R.

[*Editor’s note: Paul Schmidtbleicher earned a Th.B. from William Tyndale College and Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Paul pastors Evergreen Baptist Church in the Seattle, Washington area and is on the National Board of Advisors of Chafer Theological Seminary. He has contributed previous articles to the CTS Journal that readers may download from our Internet site: Contact Paul personally at]

A criticism that has been a thorn in the side of Dispensational Grace Believers has been their relationship to the Old Testament and particularly to the handling of the Old Testament Law. With the resurgence of Reformed and Covenant Theology, these criticisms have become strident. Books challenging Dispensationalism by Curtis Crenshaw, Keith Mathison, and others 1 offer harsh criticisms on many aspects of Dispensationalism including its handling of the Old Testament. The conflict gap has widened. Charles A. Clough concludes in his article, A MetaHermeneutical Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theologies that, The conflict between the two theologies could only be lessened if Covenant Theology would attend to the integrity of the biblical covenants and if Dispensational Theology could convince its critics that it sees only one way of salvation and that it listens to all Scripture whether directly addressed to the Church or not. Meeting either requirement in the near future is unlikely. 2 For many Dispensationalists, the issue of salvation is clear in that there is only one way of salvation that is “faith in Christ.” Whether we look back on His historical Person and Work as New Testament saints or looked forward to the promised and foreshadowed Savior as did the Old Testament saint, it is faith in
CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. 40

Christ that enters one into eternal salvation. As … he [Abram] believed in the Lord (Genesis 15:6), so we have obeyed, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31) and received eternal salvation. 3
                                                             1  1. Examples include: Curtis I. Crenshaw and Grover E. Gunn, III, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday,  and Tomorrow (Memphis: Footstool, 1985); Curtis I. Crenshaw, Lordship Salvation: The Only Kind There  Is! (Memphis: Footstool, 1994); and Keith A. Mathison, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of  God (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1995). 

2. Charles Clough, “A Meta‐Hermeneutical Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theologies,”  CTS Journal 7 (April‐June 2001): 80.  3. Unless otherwise noted, biblical quotations are from the New King James Version (Nashville: Nelson,  1982). 

 Col. Thieme. rev. on capital punishment. commonly called moral. his  principles of capital punishment and his principles to equip believers going to the battlefield in his  Biblical Doctrine of War. One can foresee a gradual slide in the wrong direction. for in the image of God he made man. Robert B. God was pleased to give to the people of Israel. War: Moral or Immoral. Owe no one anything. On the other hand. the Old Testament Law has a set of highly developed economic principles to offer if we “listen to all Scripture.” lends itself to the view that believers can “fudge” a bit on God’s commands. the issue of capital punishment divides Christians primarily because of the division of the Testaments. one cannot be in debt. and benefits. A second example would be in the area of teaching on finances.3 Besides this law. For example. The Mosaic Law and God’s Moral Law The Law of Moses appears in Scripture to have three divisions. (Houston. discount solid guidance and principles because they come from the Old Testament that (as often taught) the New Testament supplanted.” The question again arises. actions.” Other believers outside of the Dispensational camp picture Dispensationalists as dividing the Bible—dividing it to such an extent that they pick and choose what may or may not apply. prefiguring Christ. and partly of divers                                                              4  4. 41 Testament.. The New Testament alludes to it in passages like Romans 1:32 where certain people are worthy of death. by man his blood shall be shed. in the purchasing of a house and car. primarily derives from Old Testament references. ceremonial laws. containing several typical ordinances. R. most believers blatantly violate this verse as commonly interpreted. Thieme. as a church under age. TX: Berachah Tapes and Publications. often dismiss  such Old Testament based teaching as having little validity. The primary verse of the New Testament used for financial counsel is Romans 13:8. Knowingly violating one verse. while the Old Testament clearly upholds it beginning in Genesis 9:6: Whoever sheds man’s blood. on the other hand. Jr. I became aware of these practical problems in “listening to all Scripture” during the era of the Vietnam War as one of the pastors held to a solid dispensational theology yet developed an excellent Doctrine of War 4 from scriptures derived primarily from the Old CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. sufferings.  1974). Some Dispensationalists.B. Other believers. if any. Those persons strictly dividing between Old and New Testaments would generally hold that the New Testament has done away with the Old Testament and thus have a very weak view. His graces. ed. His theological framework is solidly Dispensational. served as one of my  pastors during the Vietnam War..  . Jr. Texas. “On what basis do we make use of the Old Testament?” This article is an attempt to answer these questions. “What determines our use of the Old Testament?” Certainly it has to be a more solid principle than “pick and choose” as we wish. Yet. partly of worship. because almost everybody “has to do it. ending with a “buffet” selection of principles. The Westminster Confession of Faith states these three divisions as follows: WCF 19. Many believers find themselves in deep trouble when it comes to finances. pastor of Berachah Church in Houston. In a New-Testament-only understanding of finances.The important comment from Clough for this study involves how we “listen to all Scripture. However. My question was.

  1964). McClain put the controversy into perspective several years ago when he said. Williamson. and shall teach men so. further than the general equity thereof may require. I. or as is popularly done. and civil . as a body politic.4 To them also. ceremonial. he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:19). as others who followed. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. they argue.   6  . some good and some bad. electronic ed. because the obligations of the “moral law” of God have not been laid upon consciences of the saved. The path of success in the Christian life. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p.. and yet offend in one point. the Westminster Confession did. Still. Alva J. WCF 19. He gave sundry judicial laws. will be found in getting the people to recognize that they are still under the moral law. that he is a debtor to do the whole law. As a remedy for this distressing situation they have proposed that we should turn back to the law. They have been deeply grieved and disturbed by the failure of Christian people to live as those saved by grace should live.moral. 42 not obliging any other now. McClain says. James declares that “whosoever shall keep the whole law. The Westminster Confession of Faith (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed. Galaxie. 43 2.  1999): 333. In recent years it has been raised by some good men with the best of intentions. We have failed. Many also believe that the “moral laws” of the Mosaic Law have continued and are still binding in the New Testament. divide portions of the Law believed to be fulfilled from portions still believed to be in effect. The same viewpoint is expressed by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:3. “For I testify again to every man that is is wrong to divide it into three laws. This law is one law an indivisible unity. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the new testament. 5 I believe the division is helpful for classifying various parts of God’s Law to Moses. thus upholding the essential unity of the                                                              5  5. they say. G. “What is ‘The Law’?” BSac 110 (October‐December 1953. It is against such a dividing of the Mosaic Law and the continuing authority of a portion of it that many Dispensationalists argue. [italics mine]. Alva J. divide it into two laws. Many believe that the “ceremonial laws” and also the “judicial laws” are either abrogated by the New Testament or ended with the Old Testament state of Israel. 141. he is guilty of all” (2:10 ) …. the one moral and the other ceremonial. have led men to raise the issue.instructions of moral duties. which expired together with the state of that people.  6. While it is unquestionably true that at least three elements appear within this one law . McClain. This is clear from the New Testament references. 6 In a series of points. Various motives.” And Christ declares that “whosoever therefore shall break one of the commandments. in dividing the Law of Moses. McClain argues in his second point that the Law of Moses is a unified whole and cannot be divided up to say that some of it is still relevant and some is abrogated by the New Testament.

For some. in contrast to the Jews who were under it and will be judged by it (Rom 2:12).” It is claimed that this supposed moral law is a transcript or reflection of the character of God and is therefore eternal. If a Gentile gathered somehow that he ought to honor his parents. This in no way proves. like Sumner Osborne. 8 To summarize. but it is clearly stated that they did not have any actual law. where the identification is unmistakable. After the law was given. Sumner Osborne. The whole unified Law of Moses was set aside by the Work of Christ in the New Testament—the New Testament abrogates all the Law of Moses. that Gentiles were under the law.  Galaxie. They hold that the Ten Commandments are God’s “Moral Law” that is still in effect. As to this the Scriptures are silent. 7 While some divide the Mosaic Law into those portions abrogated and a “moral law” that still applies.                                                              7  7.. for it accuses when they do wrong somewhat as the law does those who are under it. this particular work enjoined by the law would be a law to him and accuse him if he did not. electronic ed. and therefore the sins of men did not have the distinct character of transgression in God’s dealings with them. is perfectly clear from the context in verses 17 and 18. and not to some other law above and beyond it which has always been in effect and always will be. To” BSac 109 (July‐September 1952. Sumner Osborne goes a step further to try to discount the existence of any “moral law” outside the Law of Moses. The Gentiles were still without law and perish without it. when Scripture speaks of “the law” it is referring to this administered code given through Moses at Sinai. the Dispensationalist sees the Law of Moses as a unified law system even though one may subdivide it into three separate law categories. but the work of the law written there.” even for the Gentiles. the New Testament Christian would still be under this portion of the Mosaic Law. even though he had never heard of the law. That the “least commandments” referred to by our Lord are those set forth in the Pentateuch. which would be the same as our blessing under the new covenant (Heb 10:16). Conscience is a sort of law to the Gentiles. 1999): 241. for they neither mention such a law nor describe it. called “the moral law. namely the ceremonial laws and the judicial or civil laws.” But we must carefully note that it is not the law that they have written in their hearts. however. and not merely those of the “moral law” or the few contained in the Sermon on the Mount. those on the Westminster Confession side of the question regarding the use of the Old Testament and its law believe that Jesus Christ and the New Testament abrogated only a portion of the Law of Moses. From Adam to Moses we are told there was no law (Rom 5:13). 44 written in their hearts.  .  8  8. Therefore. for it speaks of “the work of the law CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. On the other hand.. “The Christian and the Law. Ibid. there is no separate “moral law. He is speaking about the law of Moses. 334‐35. Some have thought that Romans 2:15 proves that Gentiles were under what they call “the moral law” after all. only the nation Israel was under it.

                                                             1 Chafer Theological Seminary. and through it he being dead still speaks (Hebrews 11:4).” but will call this God’s Eternal Law. Although some aspects of God’s Laws changed.3. if one considers all Scripture. through which he obtained witness that he was righteous. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p.8.3. Chafer Theological Seminary. Yet. At the Boarding of the Ark—Noah would board the animals on the Ark two by two for all the “unclean” animals and would board three pair plus one (7) of the clean animals long before God gave the written law on clean and unclean animals in Leviticus 11. and from which God will establish the millennial kingdom laws.My position is that it can be shown from Scripture that there is such a thing as an eternal law of God from which the patriarchs functioned. man had legal instruction on the sacrifices the Lord found acceptable. God’s Eternal Law surpasses the Law of Moses and has been in effect since the beginning. To differentiate from the arguments over the “moral code” of the Law of Moses.  . At the Time of Abraham—Law of the Tithe. God testifying of his gifts. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. or to continue it as a part of the Mosaic Law on the New Testament saint. The following provides a partial list of indications of God having established law prior to the Law of Moses. 46 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal.45). (2002. there is clear evidence that God had established laws by which mankind was to live. In the Garden—In the garden. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. to keep them alive with you. 2003). a male and his female. Chafer Theological Seminary Journal Volume 8 (vnp. this article will not call this “The Law” nor “Law” nor even “Eternal Law. they shall be male and female (Genesis 6:19). the New Testament Laws. a male and his female (Genesis 7:2). they show in Scripture. If one argues for taking a division of the Mosaic CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. two each of animals that are unclean. 45 Law called the “moral law” and seeks to impose it on the Gentiles. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark. Abraham knew the minimum requirements of the Lord in his paying the tithe to Melchisedek. 1 The Existence of God’s Eternal Law Prior to the giving of the law to Moses.39‐ 8. King of Salem. then they are in error. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering (Genesis 4:4). from which God gave the written Mosaic Law Covenant.

All the moral principles of the ten laws do reappear in the New Testament in a framework of grace. Second. we have the testimony of archaeological records which contain clear evidence of law before Moses. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. Prior to the nation of Israel’s coming to Mount Sinai to receive the written Law of Moses. Because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge. Adam. Abraham. To this truth. For example. that I may test them. the Apostle Paul in Romans 2:14–15 refers very clearly to a law divinely implanted in the very constitution of man by creation. I will rain bread from heaven for you. Alva J. the law of sacrifice (Gen 4:4 with Heb 11:4). who has delivered your enemies into your hand. the Hammurabi Code probably existed as early as 2100 B. … none of the ten commandments reappear in the New Testament for this age of grace as Mosaic legislation. “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws” (Exodus 16:28)? Thus.” McClain sets forth the fact that God’s Laws existed prior to Sinai as God revealed them and men carried them on by word of mouth. “Behold. It certainly existed in the Mosaic era of the nation of Israel. My statutes. Roy L. In the age of the Church.And blessed be God Most High. Noah. God had them under a system of Law referenced in Exodus. McClain. whether they will walk in My law or not” (Exodus 16:4). op. At the time of the Exodus from Egypt. statutes. The Christian is not under ‘the ministration of death. And he gave him a tithe of all (Genesis 14:20). etc.C. the New Testament repeats all ten commandments in one form or another. God told Isaac at the time of the renewal of the Abrahamic Covenant that his father Abraham had obeyed the Lord and kept the Lord’s commandments. McClain also speaks of these indications of God’s Law existing prior to the written Mosaic Law. the law of tithes (Gen 14:20). In his sixth point on “What is The Law. This written Mosaic law points back to a prior divine law of which the Mosaic law in part is an amplification recorded by divine inspiration. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day. etc. and My laws (Genesis 26:5). 340–41.  .’ but he is under all the moral principles on those stones restated for this economy of                                                              9  9. a form of God’s Law existed in the era before Moses. Aldrich. And the LORD said to Moses. Second. 47 6. and contains some striking resemblances to the Mosaic Code. and laws long before God gave the Mosaic Law. the written Mosaic law itself testifies to the existence of an earlier law. written and engraven in stones. The proof is twofold: First. 9 Therefore. The Bible mentions two possible sources for such law before Moses: First. founder and first president of Detroit Bible College attests when He says.. from the cited passages there emerges the Biblical principle of the laws of God being in existence prior to the giving of the Law of Moses. the Book of Genesis records many instances of God speaking to men in direct and original revelation of his will (cf. My commandments. See the law of Eden (Gen 2:15–17). Then the LORD said to Moses. Specifically with Abraham. That there was divine law prior to Sinai there can be no serious question.). the law of circumcision (Gen 17:10–14). cit.

He is under the eternal moral law of God which demands far more than the ten commandments. 1 Jn. 75. Ohio: Dunham. generally left out by some.grace. Roy L. James 2:19 Acts 15:29. Ephesians 6:1–3 No premeditated murder 1 John 3:15 No adultery Matthew 5:27–28. Even the Sabbath command. 6:18–20 No stealing Ephesians 4:28 No false witness Colossians 3:9–10 No coveting Ephesians 5:3                                                              10  10. 6:16–17. The Old Testament’s 10 Commandments Command 1: Deuteronomy 5:7 Command 2: Deuteronomy 5:8–10 Command 3: Deuteronomy 5:11 Command 4: Deuteronomy 5:12–15 Command 5: Deuteronomy 5:16 Command 6: Deuteronomy 5:17 Command 7: Deuteronomy 5:18 Command 8: Deuteronomy 5:19 Command 9: Deuteronomy 5:20 Command 10: Deuteronomy Content of the Commandments New Testament Counterparts Only one God No other gods Acts 14:15. shows that we should not only set aside one day in seven as a reminder of the grace of God. 48 A brief chart of all ten commands and their New Testament counterparts shows the connection of New Testament commands with the Eternal Law of God. Holding Fast to Grace (Findlay. James 5:12 No on Lord’s Name in Vain One day in seven Romans 14:5–6. Colossians 2:16–17 Respect parents Matthew 15:3–4. 1 Cor. This is as far from antinominianism as heaven is far above the earth. 2 Cor. 10 CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. 8:1–10. 1 Cor. 1 Cor. 8:6. Aldrich.  . 1967). but that we are to celebrate His graces daily. 1 Timothy 2:5. 5:20 Matthew 5:33–37. It calls for nothing less than conformity to the character of God.

as seen in the Scriptures. Such examples of animal sacrifices. and from which God based the New Testament Commands. Note the following diagram. from which God gave the Mosaic Law Covenant. This shows a general agreement between the laws in effect before Moses and the Law of Moses. the existence of law prior to the Law of Moses that is similar in many ways to the Law of Moses. and the similarity of New Testament commands to the Old Testament Law of Moses all point to an Eternal Law of God from which each era draws its laws. Generally. the restatement of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament shows a general agreement between the New Testament commands and the Ten Commandments classified as the “moral code” of the Law of Moses. clean and unclean animals. 49 Messianic prophecies of Revelation 12:5 and 19:15 speak of the Lord Jesus Christ ruling with a rod of iron. One result of this for those upholding the Westminster Confession has been to make the choice for a portion of the Law of Moses to be still in effect and binding. With this example. The Agreement between Different Eras of Law and Current Thought In some specific laws given before Moses. They see the “moral law” CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p.5:21 The similarity of these New Testament commands with their Old Testament counterparts does not mean that God imposes the External Mosaic system of Law in the New Testament. However. there exists an Eternal Law of God from which God commanded the Patriarchs. and the practice of the tithe were not changed. The clear teaching of the New Testament is rather an abrogating of the whole Mosaic system and an establishing of a new system based in the same Eternal Law of God. the actual Covenant of Law given to Moses. is established by law. we can project that there will be law in the Millennium and it will be based in the Eternal Law of God. In a similar fashion. The Millennial Age upon the earth also shall be governed by laws that the Lord will draw from the Eternal Laws of God. godly rule. The CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. 50 (The Ten Commandments). imposed on the New Testament believer. circumcision. but put in written form in the Law of Moses. Here is where the Westminster versus Dispensational theological battles over the Law are fought. The Westminster followers overemphasize the New Testament saint being under a portion of the external law . as continuing in its external fashion. To summarize. there is full agreement with the written law as it was revealed to Moses.

. engraven in stones. Galaxie. 1999): 235. Three times scripture says the Law is fading (3:7. it seems that most New Testament teaching on the Law sets forth the unmistakable conclusion that the Law System under Moses was external and had a definite purpose for its era. a new position gives the believer daily deliverance from the bondage of sin. the author stands in the Dispensationalist camp of belief that the Law of Moses as an external system is superseded by the New Testament and the ramifications of the Cross of Christ. and probably                                                              11  11. Because of our being identified with Christ in His death and resurrection. Acts 15:1–29—The Law of Moses is an external “yoke” on the neck of the Old Testament saint and would not be imposed on the New Testament Church age believers. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. The position of the New Testament believer being under the leading of God’s Holy Spirit separates the believer out from being under the Law of Moses. Robert P. As far as taking sides. This strikes at the very heart of theonomy in particular and of covenant Reformed theology in general. 51 Christ. 13). the complete system of law under Moses. Since His coming. 11. electronic ed. Ibid. I shall briefly summarize Dr. Lightner sums up the dispensational view on the Law of Moses when he says. Part 3. Robert P. “Dispensationalists believe the Law of Moses in its entirety has been done away as a rule of life. 241‐45. Dr. but is now superseded by the system of law put in place under the Holy Spirit.  .” BSac 143 (July‐September 1986.. 12 Therefore. • 2 Corinthians 3:6–13—The Law of Moses. Galatians 3:17–25—The argument here is that the external written Law of Moses was a temporary “schoolmaster” to protect and lead unto the coming of CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. Lightner’s points on each passage. it’s purpose has been removed. A Dispensational Response to  Theonomy. Lightner uses six passages of Scripture to show that the external system of the Mosaic Law has been done away as a rule of life.• • system of Moses and the Dispensationalist often overemphasizes a disregard for any of the laws found in the Old Testament Law of Moses. Lightner. • Galatians 5:18—But if you are led by the Spirit. you are not under the law. • Hebrews 7:11–12—Christ’s priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood. Since the Law and the Levitical priesthood are inseparable. The context emphasizes a deliverance that works: we are not under the Law experiencing failure due to inclusion of the flesh (Romans 8:2). 52 Balancing the Use of the Old Testament and Its Law If the reader accepts the premise outlined so far—namely that there is an Eternal Law of God (not limited to the “moral law” of Moses) from which has come law for the Patriarchs. and being replaced by the far more glorious ministry of the Spirit. was a ministration of death and glorious in its day. but under grace experiencing victory due to a new dependence on the Lord.  12  12. the commands stated in the New Testament. “Theological Perspectives on Theonomy. • Romans 6:14— … for you are not under the law but under grace. Christ has done away with the external Law of Moses as He has done away with the Levitical priesthood.” 11 Dr.

Modifying Our View of the Old Testament and Its Use Many who would fall under dispensational theology also rigorously proclaim “the tithe” when it comes to giving. would dictate that the tithe as part of the Law of Moses is no longer in effect. David A. His listing below summarizes from the least continuity and use of law to the most: 1.” Only the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ and abrogated. to be consistent. 1999)..the laws to be instituted in the Millennium—then the next step is understanding how they fit together. 3. Continuity and Discontinuity:  Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments (Wheaton. 6. The Church is spiritual Israel and the “moral laws” (Ten Commands minus the fourth) given to Israel are also laws for the Church. if they would adopt a more balanced view of using the Old Testament. Marcion—Marcion. This is an “age-old” area of controversy. associate professor of Old Testament at the Evangelical School of Theology in Myerstown.  14  14. Dispensationalism—The hermeneutic that holds that God developed different programs for different ages relegates the Old Testament and its law to Israel and in no way applies to the New Testament Christian. the gnostic heretic of the second century. Theologically. “The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise. Dorsey.  . 14 Therefore. Congregation members regularly speak of giving their tithe.  electronic ed.. 1988). completely threw out the Old Testament with its law seeing it as inferior to Christ and Christianity. 5. 53 4. the dispensational theology of these churches. ed. The same could be said for what should be done by way of national defense. Herein the issues of continuity and discontinuity between the testaments becomes involved. 2. Pennsylvania.” JETS 34 (September 1991. Feinberg. Seventh Day Adventism—Adventists stand with Covenant Theology. An excellent volume of essays that presents the issue of continuity and discontinuity between the  testaments from a variety of perspectives is John S. Christian Reconstruction—A spin-off from Reformed Theology. IL: Crossway. but also see the fourth commandment or Sabbath as binding. The New Testament by itself gives little if any directives on national defense. Dispensationalism is criticized for being among those who would make the least use of the Scriptures beyond the New Testament. together with the dietary regulations. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. Covenant Theology—Reformed theologians see a greater continuity between the testaments. Of course few will do this. the issue of balancing the use of the Old Testament runs from one extreme to the other. World-Wide Church of God (former cult)—This theology argues for even more continuity and disregards only a few laws as no longer valid like sacrificial regulations. nor should they. has set forth his perspective on the continuity and application of the Law. David Dorsey. Galaxie. Reconstructionism argues for the continuity of all the commands including the “judicial laws. Can the Dispensationalist make a case from the Old                                                              13  13. 13 The thought that has developed historically how the Old Testament and New Testament might fit together when it comes to “law” runs from absolutely no use of the law to a use that is completely binding.

  . he affirms that “Jeremiah unmistakably shows [the new covenant’s] continuity with the provisions of the old law. Dwight Pentecost outlined these three views in his book.’ In short. Kaiser.” it was now seen that the Church was also involved. Dr. It was about that time that Dispensationalists decided that no longer would they hold to two new covenants. Gileadi  (Grand Rapids: Baker. One new covenant is strictly for Israel with its provisions and the other new covenant (mentioned. the new covenant assumes the content of the old Mosaic treaty. Even though Jer 31:31 clearly affirmed that God had directed the “new covenant” to “the house of Israel and … the house of Judah.” 17                                                              15  15.  electronic ed. Walter C. 54 Church and the specifics of how teaching “all Scripture” writes the Eternal Law of God upon the hearts of the saints. Waltke.” With respect to the promise of God in the new covenant that he would “put [his] law in their minds” (Jer 31:33).  16.  17  16  17.” JETS 33 (September 1990. Scofield View—One New Covenant to be fulfilled in detail for Israel in the future and now applied to the Church during our current dispensation. quotes Bruce K. Things to Come. Ohio: Dunham. Things to Come (Findlay. It is summarized by the expression ‘Know YHWH. 16 CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p.” in Israel’s Apostasy and Restoration: Essays in Honor of Roland K.. 136‐37. 1999): 298. 15 The most popular and widely accepted view of the New Covenant has been the Scofield view. “God’s Promise Plan and His Gracious Law. ed. Walter Kaiser speaks of this change: A new setting for the stalemate over law and grace is now possible because of the dramatic change effected around 1965. In recent days. “The Phenomenon of Conditionality Within the Unconditional  Covenants. Galaxie. While commenting on the phenomenon of conditionality within the unconditional covenants. Harrison. 121–25. Waltke correctly asserts that “the law in view here is unquestionably the Mosaic treaty. 1958). one for the Church and one for Israel. 55 • • • Furthermore.Testament and still be dispensational? The answer lies in defining the New Covenant as it applies to the CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. Bible scholars suggest that the teachings of law under the New Covenant comes from the Law of Moses. but practically undefined in the New Testament) is for the Church. Ibid.. Walter Kaiser and Bruce Waltke seem together on this point: The identical point has also been raised recently by Bruce Waltke. The New Covenant The New Covenant given specifically to Israel originally spawned three premillennial views. Jr. Walvoord. some holding to the two-covenant view have come to adopt the Scofield one covenant view. J. 1988). Dwight Pentecost. A. Ryrie View—There are two new covenants. The views are listed by their Premillennial proponents: Darby View—The New Covenant is strictly for Judah and Israel with no Church-age involvement at all. Chafer.

that would mold the responsive hearts given to us as another spiritual blessing of the New Covenant. Arnold G.) Under the New Covenant. Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology (Tustin. etc. 56 its ultimate and complete fulfillment with Israel. 1989). truly righteousness would have been by the law (Galatians 3:21). 355. Therefore the Lord took the participation of the flesh away and replaced the external Law of Moses with a system dependent upon the Holy Spirit and a growing internalization of His Word. Luke 22:20). And the author of Hebrews pictures the Church as being under a new and better covenant (Hebrews 7:22. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (Romans 7:22). For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh. What the Church is now enjoying are the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic and New Covenants. CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. the New Testament has only good to say about the standards and principles of the Law                                                              18  18. It is the internalization of the Word of God and the Laws of God that becomes the focus of modifying our view of the Old Testament and its use. on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3). including Law.  . and (4) The internalization of the Word and Laws of God. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life. the one New Covenant contains both physical and spiritual blessings. As with the Abrahamic. CA: Ariel  Ministries. the one New Covenant is made with Israel. It was specifically given to Israel and will ultimately be fulfilled by Israel as they receive both the physical and spiritual blessings. The Law of Moses was an external system that could not accomplish life because of its reliance upon the flesh. 57 Is the Law of Moses included in this internalization? Reason exists for believing that it is. The Church participates spiritually by enjoying the spiritual blessings of the covenant. The Apostle Paul calls himself a minister of the New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3:6. the physical promises are limited to Jews only but the spiritual blessings were to extend to the Gentiles. the New Covenant contains both physical and spiritual blessings. (2) Personal relationship with God. After all. 8:6. Like the Abrahamic.Under the Scofield or one covenant view. Mark 14:24. There was nothing wrong with the Law (Moses) except that it was dependent upon the flesh that was weak. 18 The Scriptures affirm the Church age believer to be intricately involved in the New Covenant. To this point Messianic Jewish scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum says: Like the Abrahamic. God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. 9:15. Fruchtenbaum. This in no way limits CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. the spiritual blessings enjoyed by the Church include (1) Sins forgiven. The Lord Jesus Christ in the institution of the Lord’s Table introduced the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28. (3) The indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.

not of the letter but of the Spirit. capital . then. we establish the law (Romans 3:31). The following passages show the attitude of the New Testament toward the Law of Moses. the New Testament Scriptures themselves proclaim that the whole of them. that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4). CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6). and the commandment holy and just and good (Romans 7:12). On the other hand. on whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Corinthians 10:11). In the New Testament (Covenant) era. I agree with the law that it is good (Romans 7:16). and is profitable for doctrine. This includes the history. for the letter kills. Now these things became our examples. thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). writing it upon our hearts. But now we have been delivered from the law. but as an example of the very “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) as God and as part of the Eternal Law of God. Old and New Testament. it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to internalize the teaching of the whole of God’s Word. and they were written for our admonition. Under such a scenario. for instruction in righteousness. are the content of preaching and teaching.of Moses with the exception that it was weak because of man’s participation and could not give life. When teaching the Law of Moses to a New Testament saint it is not taught to be an external system to be imposed as the “yoke” of Moses. I do what I will not to do. the Spirit and the Word of God in the heart (from all Scripture). but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary. the New Testament believer is limited in his “inner man” concerning the Eternal Standards and Law of God. Of course one of the most important passages that upholds the value of teaching and preaching all scripture is 2 Timothy 3:16–17. Under this scenario. 58 Now all these things happened to them as examples. that the man of God may be complete. if preachers do not teach the whole of Scripture. Consider the following Scripture passages that uphold the value of the Old Testament and its Law to the New Testament saint beginning with a most important passage: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. For whatever things were written before were written for our learning. not the letter of the law becomes the standard in keeping with Romans 7:6 and 2 Corinthians 3:6. poetry. to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted (1 Corinthians 10:6). If. for reproof. Therefore the law is holy. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8). for correction. but to be (1) walking in the Spirit (2) having put on the New Man renewed in knowledge (Colossians 3:10) from the whole of Scripture. Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant. and laws of the Old Testament. it is easy to see where division arises over subjects such as war. The function of the Christian way of life then is not obedience to an external system (Mosaic Law) of law. Furthermore. having died to what we were held by.

Paul writes this change under divine revelation into Colossians 2:16. (2) The Regulations on Diet—The Law of Moses sets forth in Leviticus 11 a complete set of dietary regulations that govern what those under the Law of Moses could and could not eat. the Believer is without Divine guidance in these areas. In these areas the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) presents itself primarily in the Old Testament as incorporated into parts of the Law of Moses. So let no one judge you in food or in drink. preaching about criminal law from the Old Testament stands as the New Testament has not modified (to my knowledge) how a nation entrusted with human government is to deal with its criminals. 60 law. The Extent of Teaching the Old Testament . there are also a number of changes. revealed at a later time. The law would continue. Yet.” these portions of Scripture. etc. Furthermore. One change made between the Patriarch period and the Law of Moses period would be the laws on marriages of near kin. The obvious conclusion is continuity in God’s Eternal Law—the law that succeeding ages would draw upon. Two examples would be: (1)The Sacrificial System—The Law of Moses had a complete system of ordinances for the sacrifices and offerings. possibly in a different approach. One also sees clear changes between the Old and New Testament periods. Therefore. 59 practically “throwing out. Since He has come and once for all offered Himself as the Perfect Sacrifice for sin. In the New Testament the Lord approaches Peter in a vision of many unclean animals and commands him to eat what God has now cleansed (Acts 10:11–16). debt. By CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. the shadow system is now superseded (Hebrews 8–10). unless the later CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. if one were to preach on the Old Testament Tabernacle and sacrificial system. The book of Hebrews explains that the sacrificial system was a foreshadowing of the real sacrifice of Jesus Christ. On the other hand.punishment. It is obvious that under the Patriarch Law that Seth and Cain married sisters as they had families and progeny. the superseding revelation in Hebrews also should be preached showing the end of that system. superseded and modified the earlier law. With the Law of Moses. Does all the Old Testament Apply? There are similarities in each era or dispensation that seemingly shows continuity in the Eternal Law of God. or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths (Colossians 2:16). Leviticus 18 spelled out the change on prohibitions on marrying near kin.

Since the essence of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament (see chart above). namely. 61 such declarations.” BSac 143 (July‐September 1986). CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p. These are declarations of basic law.In studying the Law of Moses. 1973). and Judgments (Judicial Laws). lays down broad and basic principles.. shows why the Law of  Moses cannot be the Christian’s way of sanctification. correction. let us examine a second characteristic of Biblical law. 1999). 21 Under this principle of understanding many lessor laws of the Old Testament. 19 they have done much work in relating the Ten Commandments (Moral Law) to their respective case laws (Judicial Laws).  21. by citing a minimal type of case. The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutley. the New Testament saint receives Divine Revelation when taught all Scripture. Ibid. NJ: Craig. Though the Reconstructionists. on what parts of the Old Testament and to what extent can it be taught? The answer is all of it (2 Timothy 3:16) together with any Old or New Testament modifications that need to be included to show changes in God’s Eternal Law over the various dispensations. “Theological Perspectives on Theonomy. changes in the sacrificial system of Moses’ Day. 20 Rushdoony continues to illustrate this concept by citing: 1) Basic law declaration: Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15) 2) Illustrative case law: Don’t muzzle the ox treading the corn (Deuteronomy 25:4) 3) Paul’s application of the Old Testament on proper payment for elders (1 Timothy 5:17–18).  21  22  22. the necessary jurisdictions of the law are revealed. 62 Summary Thus. and instruction in righteousness. first. that the law. formerly headed by R. Rushdoony says. and their fulfillment  and cessation in Christ as Hebrews teaches. Lightner.e.  . but are the basic laws of which the various laws are specific examples… . 22 The Old                                                              19  19. certain broad premises or principles are declared. all Scripture is profitable for doctrine. the modified  prohibitions outlined in Leviticus 18. reproof.J. 2 Timothy 3:15 says that. These specific cases are often illustrations of the extent of the application of the law. 10–11. The Ten Commandments are not therefore laws among laws.With this in mind. The Ten Commandments give us CTSJ 8:3 (July 2002) p.. Ordinances (Sacrificial System).. A Dispensational Response to  Theonomy. Rousas John Rushdoony. Galaxie. that is. the cases or case laws are equally instructive as to the limits of the commands of the Lord. i. Part 3. electronic ed. 11‐12. Robert P. Changes include marriages to near kin in Adam’s day before the law of Moses. there is a true threefold division as spelled out in the Westminster Confession: Moral Law (Ten Commandments). wrongly see the Law of Moses continuing as a system and as the way of sanctification. … First. the illustration of the basic principle in terms of specific cases. Rushdoony. The New Testament saint can come to an internal knowledge of the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) on the limits of stealing even down to the level of stealing from an animal. that the major portion of the law is case law.   20  20.

 Thomas Ice answered a question after reading a conference paper about twenty years ago  concerning the current use of the Law (of Moses).8. but is part of the all Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) that the Holy Spirit will internalize to give the believer direction and the mind of Christ in practical areas of Christian living. it forms background principles which are  obviously a part of God’s Eternal Law. He considered it as “Wisdom Literature” for giving the  believer wisdom.3. (2002.3. but as the greatest revelation of God’s Eternal Law. to ignore approximately two thirds of the Bible in favor of the last one  third is to do ourselves a great disservice. Wisdom23 concerning the “mind of Christ” or the popular “What Would Jesus Do” in such a situation can be imparted by believers making use of the Old Testament—all Scripture—in their edification process.45‐ 8. Chafer Theological Seminary Journal Volume 8 (vnp. Thus. Even so. Chafer Theological Seminary. it is absolutely  necessary for the believer to fully understand the mind of Christ. I take this a step farther by proclaiming that as a part of the all Scripture being  profitable and under the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant (for the Church). the law is not as a yoke about the neck (Acts 15:10).  2 Chafer Theological Seminary.64).  .Testament is not taught as a binding system of external law like the Law of Moses. God no  longer imposes His Law as an external system. 2003). Unlike the Law of Moses. In the Church Age under the New Covenant. —End— 2                                                                23  23. The believer has truths internalized as laws written upon the heart  for functioning spiritually under the walk in the Spirit with an even higher spiritual standard than the  original letter of the Law.

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