Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
World Wide Church of God
What is Arianism?
Agape
Sabbath Abrogated?
Shepherds?
Prayer-Group Guidelines
The Sabbath and Hospitality
New Wine Skin Vs Old
Expository Style Sermons
Emotional Healing
We’re Salt & Light
How Should We Keep the Sabbath?
The Great Divide
Ministry of Reconciliation
Unity
Family Prayer Groups
Will He Find Faith?
Eye For An Eye
God Loves Our Brokenness
Questions About Evangelism
How Would You Judge You?
Fruit Filled Living
Crisis In Ukraine
God's Will Our Children Called?
To log onto UNITYINCHRIST.COM’S BLOG, Click Here
Unity in Christ
Introduction
About the Author
Does God Exist?
Gospels
Epistles
Prayer
Faith
the Prophets & Prophecy

Psalms

OT History
Early Church History
Church History
Sabbatarian Heritage
The Worldwide Church Of God
Messianic Believers
Evangelism


America-Modern Romans


Latin-American Poverty


Terrorism

Topical Studies
Guest Book
Utility Pages
Mission Statement
Share on Facebook
Tell a friend:
 

The Great Divide

By

Arthur Suckling

 

Australia is a country almost as large as the “lower 48 states” in America.  On Australia’s eastern side there is The Great Dividing Range, which is 2,175 miles long, the third largest in the world and superseded only by the Mid Ocean Ridge (which is under the sea), the Andes and the Rocky Mountains.  The Great Dividing Range varies in width from 100 to 190 miles and separates the eastern coastline from the outback on its western side much like the Rockies divide central North America.

 

The climatic effect on the land is amazing.  The eastern coast benefits from oceanic rain while the western side does not.  Climatically, the difference is understandable.  Moist air is blown from the sea and rises over the Range releasing its moisture before moving west to the outback.  This creates a dry and arid interior in contrast to the green lush coastline.

 

The Great Divide Analogy

 

There is an analogy that may be drawn from The Great Divide that exists between the Old Testament and the New Testament in the understanding of most modern day Christians.  In essence, the difference between the New Testament as a verdant period of grace and love and the parched dry Old Testament of an angry God with an eye for an eye harsh set of laws without love or grace.

 

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that this “Great Divide” between the Biblical Testaments is academic and artificial.

 

Is The Old Testament Old Passé?

 

Let us examine the proposition generally accepted that the Old Testament is old, done away, void, out of date and passé.  As such, it does not have much practical relevance in our modern world of theology.  Conversely, the New Testament is the green and verdant well-watered  land for the born again Christian who is under Christ’s sacrifice of love and grace.  The Law has been nailed to the cross.  Law keepers are branded as “legalists.”

 

Clearly, a great divide does exists in the belief system of modern Christianity compared to what the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God understand and teach as they follow the Early New Testament Church led by Jesus.  We hold the view that there is no great divide between Old Testament and New Testament.  God calls individuals across time from the beginning of history until today.  He sets the standards of righteousness for all humanity, which remain consistent for all time both prior to Jesus’ sacrifice and subsequent to it.

 

So when and how did this divide develop?

 

 

The  Emergence from the Dark Ages

 

Let us begin with a brief historic review by recognizing the Early New Testament Church basically disappears into the mists of history.  For all practical purposes the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD to Titus Vespacian ended the Jewish state.  Jesus’ followers fled to Pella in the Jordan Valley and were spared the slaughter that ensued.  We pick up the story in the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD.  We pause at the battle for control of the Empire by Constantine, which was successful.  His dominance of State and Church was complete and remained so until AD 476 when the Roman Empire fell.  The Roman Catholic Church then emerged from the political vacuum and dominated Europe for the next thousand years, until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

 

Leaping over 1,000 years from the close of the first century when the Early New Testament Church basically disappears into the mists of history, we pick up the story in the 16th Century.  The Protestant Reformation progressively created the freedom to read and discuss the Bible.  The stranglehold on doctrines and education enjoyed by the Roman Catholic Church for centuries was crumbling.  These Catholic doctrines had differed markedly from the teachings of the Old Testament and from the examples of Jesus and his disciples. 

 

How Theologians Developed the Notion of a Divide?

 

The first great example of going against the tide of the Catholic Church was John Wycliffe (1320-1384).  Known by the honorary title, The Morning Star of the Protestant Reformation.  He was the first to translate the Bible into English.  Of course, this attracted great resistance. The Catholic hierarchy who controlled religion with the Latin language, ritual, power and wealth, did not want a translation in the common tongue.  Persecution and resistance ensued but did not prevent the eventual limited success indicated by the following quote.

 

What I note about Wycliffe is that he was a turning point for taking the Bible out of the exclusive hands of the Roman priesthood and putting it into the hands of the common folk everywhere, revealing to them truths of the scripture, and lies the Roman church had used to hold them spiritually captive.  Knowledge and freedom are wonderful things” (http://endoftheage.blogspot.com).

 

Next to arrive on the scene was William Tyndale (1492-1536).  He was determined to build on Wycliffe’s seminal work and was the first to print an English New Testament.  Motivated to stop corruption in the Catholic church, he completed the task before being hunted down and strangled.  The final indignity was to burn his body at the stake in 1536.  Emerging from these humble beginnings, the Protestant Reformation sparked a schism around 1517 when Martin Luther posted his Ninety Five Thesis confronting the Papacy in particular about the power and efficacy of indulgences.

 

The dyke was cracking as differing ideas began to merge in opposition to Catholic dogma. The Fathers of the Reformation, Martin Luther, Jean (John) Calvin, Urilch Zwingli and John Knox led the movement.   A violent battle for freedom and reform raged all over Europe as hundreds of thousands or people perished in the struggle.  The result of these rebellions spawned theological studies, which in time increased the growth of many different denominations.  A few are Anglicans, Anabaptists, Baptists, Puritans, Lollards, Calvinists, Congregationalists, Lutherans and Reformed Churches who exploded into existence in the 16th century.

 

What was once a continent controlled for 1,000 years by fear, education, language, wealth and ritual began the course of religious freedom that we enjoy today.  In addition, research and progress in theological study and an increased access to the Bible, spread the word.  Various editions of the Bible were printed, which led to questioning the soundness of Catholic teachings by the masses.

 

The Fruits of Academic Inquiry

 

James D. Smart notes in his book, “The Strange Silence Of The Bible in The Church”, as academic progress was being made during the 18th and 19th century in understanding the Bible, something else was also occurring.  Through the various academic disciplines of linguistics and etymology, archeology and history, religious schools of thought began to emerge.  Hermeneutics (the approach of using a method or theory of interpreting the Bible) was developed.  German Scholars were particularly influential in the nineteenth century (De Wette,  Eichhorn, Gunkle, Herder, Vatke, and  Wellhausen).  They laid the foundation of the modern approach used today to investigate the Scriptures.  On the one hand, great light was shed on the Scriptures but in so doing it also created a negative and opposite result. 

 

The Old Testament was viewed distastefully.  This in turn effected the teaching of it in seminaries and the pulpit.  The result was to shape the minds and thinking to the point of viewing the Old Testament with distaste and eventually embarrassment!  Progressively there were few individuals who actually could understand and explain the Scriptures and interpret them intelligently to others (Smart, p.18).  This caused a recession (going back) of interest in the Old Testament in the church at large. 

 

The importance of the Old Testament was reduced to a simple historical background to understanding the New Testament, according to Smart.  “The OT is an alien factor in recent theology, according to Walter Zimmerli, in his Sprunt Lectures of 1963” (Ibid. p. 20). It became an embarrassment to Protestant theology.  Why was this so?  The reason was because theologians could  not describe their Christian beliefs in the light of the Old Testament witness.  Christmas and Easter, for example, have no place in the Scriptures or the example of Jesus.  These modern holidays are firmly grounded in tradition and pagan origins.

 

In the United States churches today we see that many churches have abandoned the Old Testament teachings as a source of inspiration.  Generally speaking, little preaching is undertaken from the Old Testament, as it has slipped quietly into obscurity and abandonment.

 

The Old Testament is the foundation of salvation on which the entire New Testament writers based their letters to the early Churches.  Their writings are commentary on the actions of Jesus and his disciples who lived the teachings of the Old Testament.  The teachings of The Messiah from the Old Testament with its emphasis on love and grace was the main thrust.  The Old Testament was the author’s point of reference as may be seen from the multiple references from it in their writings.

 

 

The Problem of a Double Standard

 

Does God have differing standards for those He calls?  Adopting “The Great Divide“ concept between the Old Testament and the New Testament creates a double standard of salvation for those called at different times.  This position proposes all the faithful God called before Christ’s sacrifice had to obey the principles of the laws in the Old Testament that he stated.  Conversely, after Jesus’ sacrifice, it is commonly taught today that modern Christians do not have to obey those same laws.

 

As a result, today, we are expected to believe the untold number of faithful people who did obeyed God prior to the Messiah's sacrifice kept laws that were temporary.  These all then became null and void after the crucifixion.  Jesus paid the price on the cross for all sin and we can’t earn salvation by law keeping, so it is a matter of salvation by faith alone, according to Martin Luther (Romans 3: 28). Despite the fact that alone does not appear in Romans 3: 28 millions of Lutherans believe Luther’s conclusion is true.  That conclusion means that we, in the New Testament period, don’t have to obey applicable laws of God stated in the Old Testament, so the argument goes.

 

I have difficulty with that reasoning, not that faith and grace are not important because  of course they are.  What the Great Divide concept creates is two different standards for salvation.  For example, from creation we see the sanctification of the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3).  The Sabbath’s are mentioned in the Old Testament 109 times and 60 times in the New Testament.  Jesus’ custom was to observe the Sabbath (Lk. 4:16).  The Sabbath was made for man and Jesus is called Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2: 27).  There is no specific change to the Sabbath law evidenced in Scripture which would be necessary for its abrogation (Hebrews 7:12).  Therefore, would not obedience to the Sabbath commandment be necessary for both Old Testament and New Testament Christians, or does God have two standards?

 

The Case for Consistency

 

When I read the book of Hebrews it presents me with another question.

 

The date of Hebrews is an approximation of about A.D. 66-70 and we don’t know who the author was (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol.12 p. 8).  This date is some 30+ years after the establishment of the Early New Testament or Primitive Church.  At that time those early Christians believed many people were saved or had salvation through faith before the Sacrifice of Jesus.

 

Hebrews 11, the famous faith chapter, makes this point clearly.  There is a long list of believers beginning in Genesis with righteous Abel and continues all the way through history to the date of Hebrews circa A.D. 66 -70.   For all these having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us”  (Hebrews 11:39-40).  The clear indication here is that those believers called of God in the Old Testament and those who were called after Christ’s sacrifice would be made perfect together and at the same time.

 

This would appear to void the Great Divide concept!

 

Again, “Does the LORD God have two standards, one for those in the Old Testament and another for those in the New Testament?”  If there is no difference, should we not be obeying God in similar fashion as those who are used as examples of faith deemed to be made perfect with those who followed them on the road of salvation?

 

There is no place for the artificial divide conceived by theologians in the 19th century.  This false idea has misled academic inquiry, teaching in seminaries and sermons from the pulpit ever since.

 

 

The Great Divide Part II

 

 

Where we are Today: Modern Christian Teaching

 

The average person may find the complexity of theology and a multiplicity of religious organizations to be confusing.  How did we get from a fairly simple religious system that Jesus modeled to the current religious diversity?  It is confusing.  Every possible permutation and variation on a theme exists.  Huge numbers of religious broadcasts flood the airwaves espousing their unique brand or approach.  Of course, “All roads lead to Rome” it is claimed. Interpretation; it does not really matter what organization you belong to, God loves you and all roads lead to heaven.  Despite this the competition to attract members to a particular group or organization is constant with the view that  numbers of attendees is the mark of success.

 

Most Christian denominations would accept the notion that Jesus loves us and grace covers all.  From one point of view that is true, but what happened to God the Father in all this?  What is it that He and Jesus expect us to do?

 

Modern Christianity doesn’t generally teach today that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament.  However, the fact that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament is firmly demonstrated by Scripture (see Exodus 3:13-15 and John 8:58-59 and John 1:1-5,14).  Therefore, the laws He gave such as the 10 Commandments and the seven Holy Days were said to be a perpetual memorial, everlasting and consecrated observances to all generations (Exodus 12:13-14,17 & 31:16; Leviticus 3:17 & 23:1-2,14,21,41; Deuteronomy 4:40).

 

The Witness of Jesus and His Disciples

 

Is there really any question that Jesus and his disciples observed all of the laws previously mentioned?  By example Jesus’ parents taught him by going to Jerusalem every year to keep the Passover and the Feast (Unleavened Bread Luke 2:41-49).      Also all seven Holy Days are also mentioned in the New Testament.  Specifically, Jesus’ custom was to obey the Sabbath day (Matthew 12:8, Mark 12:28, Luke 6:5, Luke 4:16).  Additionally, it is clear by the New Testament Scriptures that Jesus, his disciples and the early New Testament Church observed these same commanded assemblies (Luke 2:41-42; 22:14-15; John 7:2,8,10,14;  Acts 2:1; 18:21; 20:19; I Corinthians 5:6-8; 16:8).

 

These sacred and undeniable truths of God are abundantly evident in Scripture.

 

Opening of the Mind

 

In order for a person to understand God’s Word, God must intervene in their life and open their mind (John 6:44,65).  After his resurrection, Jesus opened the minds of two men on the road to Emmaus by expounding the Scriptures concerning Himself (Luke 24:27,31-32). He also appeared to his disciples and “...opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-49).  When we examine the four Gospels and the book of Acts, the internal evidence is strikingly clear regarding their observance of the Holy Days and Commandments of Jesus in the Early New Testament Church.

 

So why do we not follow their example?

 

Law or no Law, that is the Question: Love and no law or law and no love?

 

 

Two approaches exist in modern theology about God’s laws and they both can’t be right. However, they can both be wrong!  How can we explain and resolve this apparent contradiction?

 

Jesus before his incarnation gave the commandments of the Old Testament.  As God incarnate, he lived those very same commandments as an example to all in the role of the Messiah.  He nowhere abrogates these laws either by example or command.  Rather he criticized the religious leadership of that day for making burdensome rules and regulations binding on people (Matthew 23:4).

 

So, how does modern Christian teaching explain the position that a divide exists between the Old and New Testaments?  The notion being that the laws given by God in the Old Testament were cruel and harsh.  Does this not create a double standard?  If so, this does not make sense.

 

Well meaning people can focus on the law area too much and fail in the love area.  Equally well meaning individuals can focus on the emotional domain too much and neglect the principles of God’s laws (Matthew 23:23).  As in a marriage, it takes male and female to form a family and have children.  You can’t have one without the other.  Likewise, we need God’s laws to guide us objectively in behavior applied with a right heart (emotion) of love.

 

The Great Divide in Jesus’ Day

 

There was great division among religious groups when Jesus lived.  What caused this was a departure from the basics of God’s law from the perspective of keeping the letter of the law and not the intent of it.  Putting it another way, they kept the rules but neglected the emotion or heart intended by God’s laws when combined with mercy.

 

A prime example of this hard heartedness is found in several places.  For example, in John 7 Jesus was teaching in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles (vv. 2,14).  Jesus uses the example of circumcision, which according to the law had to be performed on the eighth day after the birth of a boy.  Naturally, some children were circumcised on the Sabbath in order to keep the law of Moses.  Jesus contrasts this ceremony with his healing on the Sabbath.  “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?” (v. 23).

 

There are many other similar examples of hard-heartedness when Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  There is the man who had a withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14).  A lady who was bent over for 18 years was relieved from her infirmity (Luke 13:10-17).  A man who had an infirmity for 38 years was healed (John 5:1-10, 16).  What physician would not love to be able to do this sort of good deed on the Sabbath like Jesus.

 

The hypocrisy of obeying the letter of the law and not rejoicing over someone who is healed of great infirmity is instructive.  These good religious people considered that healing was work if done on the Sabbath (Matthew12:2). The question Jesus asked them was, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or evil, to save life or to kill?”  The Pharisees refused to answer the question! (Mark 3:4).  Rather they sought to kill him (Mark 3:6; John 5:16), which is against the sixth commandment thou shalt not murder (Exodus 20:13).

 

So you may have the statement of a right rule being taken literally and applied without any concern for the intent.  Human compassion is erased by this attitude of being right, without care for the particular situation and destroys the intent of doing good and saving lives.  Jesus  said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge a righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

 

Attitude and Intent.

 

Two elements should be considered in considering how to apply the laws of God.  The first is the basic rule and the second is the intent of the rule.  Then two more things need to be added, is the rule being taken too literally and is it being applied with love and mercy?

 

The Lesson of the Good Samaritan

 

That famous teaching story of The Good Samaritan clearly illustrates this point.  It is found in three Gospels (Matthew 22, Mark 12 and Luke 10).  Reading all three will bring out various important elements in the story missed by only reading the one account.  We will use Luke 10:25-37 as our reference point to illustrate the basic principles involved in the law and love, attitude and intent.  Encouragement is given to read all three accounts carefully.

 

The question to Jesus was posed by several possible candidates, the Pharisees, Sadducees, a Scribe and a lawyer (in Luke 10:25, margin: expert in the law).  The question asked by the lawyer was, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Other accounts say what is the greatest commandment or the first commandment of all.  In all three cases it is clear that Jesus is being tested with the hope of being found at fault.

 

Jesus replies, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (Luke 10:26).  It is important to understand what this term “the law” meant.  It indicates the first five books of the Bible and was known as Torah (teachings and instructions of the LORD) and The Law of Moses.  A summary answer was given by the lawyer citing love God and love neighbor.  Jesus said, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live” (v.28).

 

At this point the justification begins with the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” (v. 29).  Then Jesus tells of the story of the Good Samaritan who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and came across a man badly beaten and robbed.  A priest and Levite had both passed by and did nothing to help the victim.  The Samaritan, on seeing the situation had compassion.  The Samaritan did what the two good religious Jewish men did not do, i.e. love their neighbor.

 

The beaten man was given medical assistance, was put on a donkey, taken to an Inn, supplied with money for his keep and treatment.  In addition further money was promised to the Inn keeper if needed by this generous Samaritan.

 

What we do not know is the race of the victim of this robbery.  Let us suppose for discussion sake he was a Jewish man.  Here two fellow Jews, who knew the law, abandoned their responsibility to help a fellow Jew.  In contrast, a despised Samaritan who had a corrupted understanding of the law according to the Jews comes along and did fulfill the command to love his neighbor! (John 4:21-22).

 

Despite having “the truth” the Jews did not have the heart or emotional capacity to assist a fellow countryman and believer.  Just imagine the contrast that Jesus was illustrating to the lawyer and the other good religious men with him!  The Samaritan whom they despised was more righteous in applying God’s law of love than those who had all the rules right!

 

Jesus posed the question to the lawyer, who out of the three men, the priest, Levite or Samaritan, was a neighbor to the victim of robbery?  The lawyer answered,  “He who showed mercy on him”   Jesus replied, “Go and do likewise”(Luke 10:37).

 

The Two Great Commandments

 

Today, much is made about these two commandments that summarize all of God’s Laws.   Observation will confirm that most Christians will believe that all they need to do is to love God and man and that is the totality of the requirement today.  Why? The law as well as Jesus was nailed to the cross.  It is claimed that we will do the Ten Commandments automatically when we love God.  The flaw in this position is that most believers don’t automatically obey the Ten Commandments.  The most obvious one is the fourth Command to keep the Sabbath Holy (Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 23:1-3; Deuteronomy 5:12-15).  Neither do they follow the example of Jesus (Mark 2:27-28, Luke 4:16).

 

It is naive to say that the lawyer who approached Jesus would agree with the conclusion held today by millions of sincere people seeking eternal life!  The reason being that no lawyer or rabbi would ever consider countermanding God’s laws.  Remember, the question asked was, “What is written in the law.”  The law or torah mean the teachings and instructions of the LORD!  How do we know what we should be doing to love God and neighbor?  We look into what torah teaches and the lawyer knew what that was.  I say this because he correctly gave a truncated summary sufficient to demonstrate his grasp on principle in Leviticus 19:18.   The lawyer could probably cite the whole section of scripture by heart as no doubt Jesus could!

 

To understand the background to these two principles (love God and love neighbor), we are wise to return to the original source of them.  Only then will we see what the teaching and instruction actually is.  A primary source is the original.  In this case there are two primary sources of love for God and man.  We will address love for neighbor first and then love for God.

 

The Second Great Commandment

 

We must reach back into the Old Testament to find what the lawyer was citing and the first use of love.  The Hebrew word for love is aheb (Strong's‘  H. 157).  Aheb is a verb and is action based.  We find it used for the first time in Lev 19:18 in the context of a command from God to love our neighbor.  Obviously, aheb is used to indicate love between two humans earlier in Genesis 29:32 & Exodus 21:5.

 

A verb is an action, condition or state.  So, when we read, “...you shall love your neighbor as yourself:...” (Leviticus 19:18) it is important to know and understand the context in which the verb aheb is used.  Viewing the context from verses 9 through 18 we find a number of socially beneficial actions that the Israelites were commanded to do.

 

In this section a statement is repeated four times, “I am the LORD (YHVH) [thought to be Yahweh or Jehovah].  Put another way, “for this is who I am” seems to be the indication given for the reason why we do or don’t do certain things to one another.  Verses 9-18 could come under the subtitle of, help the unfortunate and be fair and neighborly.  There are many actions worthy of consideration here.

 

Positive and directive terminology is seen in, “shall not...,” “...shall do no...,” “...shall not go about...,” “...shall not be...,” ”...but you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (v.18).

 

We won’t take the time to spell out all these objective criteria here but the reader is encouraged to study this section of scripture.  If we were to actually do all of the things contained in these nine verses (9-18) what a wonderful world it would be.  It is not what we feel emotionally, rather it is what we actually do that is important.  Our emotions motivate us to do the right thing as indeed was the case with the Good Samaritan!

 

His actions demonstrate his emotions or compassion in loving the victim of assault and robbery.  He placed himself in the same position as the victim and said, “would I like to be helped?”  Then he acted and helped.

 

Therefore, when the lawyer cited love neighbor as one of the two great commandments,  the context and background would have been known to this expert of the law with his summary statement of love God and love neighbor.

 

Did the Israelites Love their Neighbor?

 

Despite all of the miracles surrounding the Exodus, that carnal community could not bring themselves to either love their neighbor or obey the LORD!  The consequence of this attitude of constantly tempting and disobeying God resulted in their dying in the wilderness (Numbers 14:20-30).  A new and more obedient generation was needed to inherit a land blessed by God.

 

The First Great Commandment to Love God

 

Where do we find the commandment to love God?  Interestingly, it is in the book of Deuteronomy and chronologically just prior to entering the Promised Land.  Some 40 years later, the entire adult generation that left Egypt had died in the wilderness.  Two exceptions were Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 14:6,38).  Moses wrote this final work prior to dying, and he said to the people with Joshua beside him who was their new leader,

 

      “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe all the words of this law.  For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your day in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess”  (Deuteronomy 32:46-47).

 

We find In chapter 6 the “Shema.”  Shema means “hear.”  Implicit in hearing is also doing!  Chapter 6 begins with the commandments, statues and judgments from God.  They were to be observed in the Promised Land that they were about to enter.  Verse 5 says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart [emotions] with all your soul [life] and with all your might [ability].  They were to be taught diligently within the family to children and grandchildren.  They were to be lived in every way according to the instructions of God.  Every evidence of the believers life were to demonstrate obedience to God!

 

A little later Moses wrote, “...man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).  We also read in chapter 10:12-22 what God requires of us...it is to fear [respect] Him, walk in His ways, to love [the verb aheb] Him and serve Him with all our hearts and soul (V. 12).

 

When we consider again the conversation between the lawyer and Jesus in the teaching of the Good Samaritan story, two things stand out.  The first is that Jesus asked, what is written in the law and what is your reading [understanding] of it?  Secondly at the end of the “teaching” Jesus said, go and do likewise.  It is unimaginable to consider that Jesus is doing away with the law in any way any more than the lawyer was.

 

The Great Divide is not evident and should not be drawn from the example of Jesus.

 

Conclusion/Summary

 

Division may be both good or bad depending on the circumstances.  It can be useful and un-useful.  Nature provides us examples of useful divides in geographical terms.  Humanity provides innumerable examples of negative divides.  The greatest example of this would be The Great Wall of China.  Built over 11 centuries (5th-16th) it is the longest (4,160 miles) and biggest structure ever built at the estimated cost of 2 to 3 million Chinese lives.  It purpose was to keep people out!

 

The artificial divide created by tradition and arrogant academic pursuit based evolutionary ideas is clearly evident today.  The divide between the Old and New Testaments causes division between God’s way and the revelation of the plan of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus is the fruit of man’s thinking.  The moral laws of God, such as the Ten Commandments can bring people together on an equal basis if obeyed.  God did not create laws designed to divide and separate individuals.  Rather the opposite is true. They were created to give people a solid foundation that keeps them safely together on an equal moral basis.  Imagine the wonderful benefit of obeying the law against adultery. 

 

Consider, that today in America about 50% of all marriages end up in divorce, and adultery is one major reason.  Jesus took the law against adultery and expanded it in The Beatitudes.  He magnified it from a specific act into a mental process of lusting, which leads to the act.  The emotions that surge through all of us must have boundaries.  The law of adultery gives us physical boundaries we need.  It is the emotional domain where we demonstrate our love for God’s law and the safety and security that it provides in a home and family.

 

To argue that we don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments to be saved is erroneous.  We have to keep them as perfectly as we are able.  When we fail, the grace and mercy of God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Messiah, covers our sin based on our sincere repentance.  Therefore, a combination of law and love brings us into the Devine realm of God’s love.

 

God’s principles of Devine Law never change.  To suggest that there is a divide between the Old and New Testaments suggests that the Father and His son are divided on their principles of Law.

 

Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

 

 

[copyright © Arthur Suckling, 2012]

 

Arthur Suckling is a pastor in the United Church of God

 

Related Links:

 

Has the Sabbath Been Abrogated?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm

 

What was the early New Testament Church like?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm

 

Does the New Covenant Abrogate God’s  Laws?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/newcovenant/TheNEWCOVENANT.htm

 

How Should We Be Observing God’s Sabbath?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Observe%20His%20Sabbath%20Day.htm

 

Click Here to Print

 

Content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
Questions or problems with the web site contact the WebServant - Hosted and Maintained by CMWH, Located in the Holy Land