Trying to understand the Law!

Status
Not open for further replies.

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Is it right thinking to say that the whole of the Moral Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments?

If it is right to say that, then can we take any issue and compare it with the Ten Commandments in order to determine if it is binding?

I have been confused lately by the passages which I had thought were speaking of Civil or Ceremonial Law being considered by others to be Moral Law.

Certainly both thoughts cannot be correct and there must be a way for us to know, right? Please?

While I was fixing lunch, and still thinking about the Law, I had this personal breakthrough...unless, of course, I am wrong. Then this would be, I guess, a setback:(

I do not want to further debate the tattoo issue, since that has been closed, so I won't use that as an example. However, I did want to use something that is
A)Something possibly found to be impermissible in Leviticus
and
B)Something that even Christians cannot agree on the lawlessness of.

Since I cannot come up with any examples, I will use the eating of pork, which I know is NOT an issue for Christians today, nor are there any people who I know of who think so. And again,this is NOT the tattoo debate, though I am asking if this is an appropriate way to determine the legality of things, such as tattoos.

Is it biblical for a person to look at the passage of Leviticus 11:7
And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.
(or any issue: drinking, tobacco use, etc.) and go line by line with the Ten Commandments to see if that is an application of Moral Law?

For instance, can I say, "Does eating pigs, in and of itself, go against:

“You shall have no other gods before me."

Does pork, in general, always come before God?

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands [2] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Does pork serve as an idol?

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Is eating pork an attempt to take the Lord's name in vain?

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Is pork a violation of the Sabbath?

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Does eating pork bring dishonor to one's parents?

“You shall not murder."

Does eating pork work against the preservation of human life?

14 “You shall not commit adultery."

Is eating pork unfaithful to one's spouse (present or future)?

15 “You shall not steal."

Is eating pork somehow stealing from someone else?

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

Is eating pork a false testimony?

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”

Does eating pork necessarily and always make one covetous?


I am sincerely asking if that is a proper way we can look at issues to determine whether they are neutral (permissable but perhaps not always wise) or unlawful.

Or do other laws have to be taken into account??
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law, though I suppose theonomists would disagree with this (see below).

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

Although to break the ceremonial Law always was a violation of the 1st commandment... so in a real sense the 10 commandments (and the "Two Great Commandments") summarize it all.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.


I KNOW that pork is ceremonial, but I felt it would be disrespectful to Bob V. to reopen the tattoo debate and I couldn't think of something that people still debate over, other than tattoos.
So I was pretending that we still wondered whether pork was ceremonial or moral. For is that the way that we did determine that pork is no longer binding, because it does not go against the Ten Commandments??
And, is that the way we could determine any other cloudy area? Like tattoos, or headcoverings, etc.?????

So my real question is NOT about pork, but rather how did we determine that pork is ceremonial and was the way I showed a proper way to prove that pork is ceremonial, since it does not go against any of the MORAL law.
If so, then can we say that it is proper to line up tattoos with the Ten Commandments to determine their acceptance?

-----Added 1/9/2009 at 12:29:00 EST-----

Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law, though I suppose theonomists would disagree with this (see below).

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.

Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

Although to break the ceremonial Law always was a violation of the 1st commandment... so in a real sense the 10 commandments (and the "Two Great Commandments") summarize it all.

If that is true, then how is a ceremonial law not binding to us today, since God changeth not?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter XIX
Of the Law of God

I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.[1]

II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables:[2] the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.[3]

III. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits;[4] and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties.[5] All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the New Testament.[6]

IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.[7]

V. The moral law does forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;[8] and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it.[9] Neither does Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.[10]

VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned;[11] yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly;[12] discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives;[13] so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin,[14] together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience.[15] It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin:[16] and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law.[17] The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience,and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof:[18] although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.[19] So as, a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law: and not under grace.[20]

VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it;[21] the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requires to be done.[22]

Good questions.

I'm sure you will get some thorough answers here.

Only a few quick observations (this is a big topic) that may be helpful:

1) The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments
2) Ceremonial law is fulfilled, and therefore set aside in the perfect life and sacrificial death of Christ
3) Civil law given to Israel as nation is not applicable but the general equitable principles of the laws may still apply

The latter is one way one might inform an opinion about whether "tatooing" one's body is sinful. For example, a specific Leviticus law regarding fencing an activity might apply as a principle of perhaps fencing a swimming pool to protect young children who might fall in because it is sinful to not consider your duty, in creating an "attractive nusaince" hazardous to children, to protect them from the harm you are creating. (Incidentally, much of the "tort" law in the United States, coming from the common law of England, is based on this concept).

One other aspect is that the ten commandments have broad application. The Sermon on the Mount really brings that out. The Larger Catechism does an excellent job of bringing out the ramification of the Ten Commandments, e.g.

Drunkeness is a violation of the sixth commandment
"Gossip" violates the ninth commandment, etc.

So, as we grow, we really do become more aware of how we offend our God, every day...and also how much He loves us in forgiving us and choosing us in spite of it all.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.


I KNOW that pork is ceremonial, but I felt it would be disrespectful to Bob V. to reopen the tattoo debate and I couldn't think of something that people still debate over, other than tattoos.
So I was pretending that we still wondered whether pork was ceremonial or moral. For is that the way that we did determine that pork is no longer binding, because it does not go against the Ten Commandments??
And, is that the way we could determine any other cloudy area? Like tattoos, or headcoverings, etc.?????

Yes, this is the question. Who decided what was ceremonial, and how?

Your example of pork is easier because of issues raised in the book of Acts and the NT epistles, related directly to clean and unclean food. Those principles are then taken and applied to other laws of the OT to find out which fall into the same category as the food.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

Although to break the ceremonial Law always was a violation of the 1st commandment... so in a real sense the 10 commandments (and the "Two Great Commandments") summarize it all.

If that is true, then how is a ceremonial law not binding to us today, since God changeth not?

Because God Himself has revealed to us the passing of the ceremonial law. He hasn't changed in doing this.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Jessica,

As Davidius has pointed out, there are distinctions made over which type of law a law may be. Opinions are divided between baptists and reformed, and then further among reformed folk. This is mainly because reformed theologians take for granted that there is "one covenant of grace, not differing in substance" but only administration. If I am in the one covenant of grace with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Elisha etc., then it stands to reason that the laws given to Old Covenant saints were not a form of bondage, but were a "perfect law of liberty" to direct their sanctification. This is the basic premise: one covenant, one God and Father of all, one Sacrifice for sins, one Spirit of power. Amen!

The tricky part is whether or not reformed are willing to apply the "covenant principal" consistently, and to what matters they will apply it. All reformed will accept the 10 Commandments as a summary of the Moral Law. The 10 Cmds are themselves summarized by the "two great commandments": Love God and neighbor.

Underlying some laws given in Moses are moral principals, while other laws were peculiar to the people of the Jews. For example, God told them to put borders on their garments, to set them apart from other nations. This, in itself, has nothing moral attached to it. The idea of "loving God" bound the Jews to do this thing, even though no moral law undergirds the type of cloth a man wears, or whether he has borders, etc. The moral part was that God said to do it.

It's similar to when parents tell their young children: "don't touch mommy's shoes". There is nothing moral about touching mommy's shoes; you just want them to do what you say, which falls under the 5th Cmd.

In the New Covenant, a reformed person ought to assume that "man shall live by every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God." Further, he should assume that Christ did not come to dismantle the law and the prophets, but to fulfill; to show us how we are to properly interpret and apply the laws of Moses, and the teachings of the prophets. Christ and the Apostles, if their claims are to be believed, were not anti-legal or anti-Moses.

Thus, on the covenant principal, we should always assume a law applies, unless we have specific information from God that this is otherwise. For instance, God specifically told Peter that food distinctions are not moral by commanding him to eat "unclean foods." God also informed us that the shadows of the law (temple, animal sacrafice, priesthood, etc.) were to be abrogated by the Greater: the substance, Christ our Lord. Thus, a reformed theologian, standing in one covenant of grace, and having one law, ought to assume a law applies, unless he may explicitly or by good and necessary consequence, determine that a law no longer applies. Further, if the N.T. informs us that a law no longer applies, then you may rest assured that there is nothing moral about it.

When this principal is not adhered to, we quickly drift into chaos and antinomianism.

To quote Piscator and Gillespie:

These are not my reasons (if it be not a word or two added by way of explaining and strengthening), but the substance of Piscator's reasons. Unto which I add, 1. Though we have clear and full scriptures in the New Testament for abolishing the ceremonial law, yet we no where read in all the New Testament of the abolishing of the judicial law, so far as it did concern the punishing of sins against the moral law, of which heresy and seducing of souls is one, and a great one. Once God did reveal his will for punishing those sins by such and such punishments. He who will hold that the Christian Magistrate is not bound to inflict such punishments for such sins, is bound to prove that those former laws of God are abolished, and to show some Scripture for it.

Thus, the burden of proof lies with whoever wants to overturn Mosaic laws, and not vice versa.

Cheers,
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Although to break the ceremonial Law always was a violation of the 1st commandment... so in a real sense the 10 commandments (and the "Two Great Commandments") summarize it all.

If that is true, then how is a ceremonial law not binding to us today, since God changeth not?

Because God Himself has revealed to us the passing of the ceremonial law. He hasn't changed in doing this.

I think I misunderstood your original post. I agree that obeying God is part of the Moral Law. Thanks!
Jessica,

As Davidius has pointed out, there are distinctions made over which type of law a law may be. Opinions are divided between baptists and reformed, and then further among reformed folk. This is mainly because reformed theologians take for granted that there is "one covenant of grace, not differing in substance" but only administration. If I am in the one covenant of grace with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Elisha etc., then it stands to reason that the laws given to Old Covenant saints were not a form of bondage, but were a "perfect law of liberty" to direct their sanctification. This is the basic premise: one covenant, one God and Father of all, one Sacrifice for sins, one Spirit of power. Amen!

The tricky part is whether or not reformed are willing to apply the "covenant principal" consistently, and to what matters they will apply it. All reformed will accept the 10 Commandments as a summary of the Moral Law. The 10 Cmds are themselves summarized by the "two great commandments": Love God and neighbor.

Underlying some laws given in Moses are moral principals, while other laws were peculiar to the people of the Jews. For example, God told them to put borders on their garments, to set them apart from other nations. This, in itself, has nothing moral attached to it. The idea of "loving God" bound the Jews to do this thing, even though no moral law undergirds the type of cloth a man wears, or whether he has borders, etc. The moral part was that God said to do it.

It's similar to when parents tell their young children: "don't touch mommy's shoes". There is nothing moral about touching mommy's shoes; you just want them to do what you say, which falls under the 5th Cmd.

In the New Covenant, a reformed person ought to assume that "man shall live by every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God." Further, he should assume that Christ did not come to dismantle the law and the prophets, but to fulfill; to show us how we are to properly interpret and apply the laws of Moses, and the teachings of the prophets. Christ and the Apostles, if their claims are to be believed, were not anti-legal or anti-Moses.

Thus, on the covenant principal, we should always assume a law applies, unless we have specific information from God that this is otherwise. For instance, God specifically told Peter that food distinctions are not moral by commanding him to eat "unclean foods." God also informed us that the shadows of the law (temple, animal sacrafice, priesthood, etc.) were to be abrogated by the Greater: the substance, Christ our Lord. Thus, a reformed theologian, standing in one covenant of grace, and having one law, ought to assume a law applies, unless he may explicitly or by good and necessary consequence, determine that a law no longer applies. Further, if the N.T. informs us that a law no longer applies, then you may rest assured that there is nothing moral about it.

When this principal is not adhered to, we quickly drift into chaos and antinomianism.

To quote Piscator and Gillespie:

These are not my reasons (if it be not a word or two added by way of explaining and strengthening), but the substance of Piscator's reasons. Unto which I add, 1. Though we have clear and full scriptures in the New Testament for abolishing the ceremonial law, yet we no where read in all the New Testament of the abolishing of the judicial law, so far as it did concern the punishing of sins against the moral law, of which heresy and seducing of souls is one, and a great one. Once God did reveal his will for punishing those sins by such and such punishments. He who will hold that the Christian Magistrate is not bound to inflict such punishments for such sins, is bound to prove that those former laws of God are abolished, and to show some Scripture for it.

Thus, the burden of proof lies with whoever wants to overturn Mosaic laws, and not vice versa.

Cheers,

Are you saying that since the NT does not show the abrogation of the clothing laws, we are to still have borders, etc, as to please God? Or does the NT show the abrogation of that specific law?

I agree that we are supposed to do and want to do all that pleases God.

This is theonomy, saying that the civil law should still be upheld by magistrates, right? (I know this is sometimes a bad word and I don't mean it to be) Does that really speak to ceremonial law?


So in your opinion, is this the answer: Any law in the OT is still binding, UNLESS it is abrogated specifically by Christ in the NT?

Rather than: Any law in the OT is fulfilled, UNLESS it is moral by nature (and thus will fit into the sphere of the Ten Commandments, if not by exact speech, but by principle).

If I believe the second statement, where did I get that from and am I alone, or is this a debatable issue???

And do you disagree with the Standards here, or do you think what you described is supported here:
III. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits;[4] and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties.[5] All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the New Testament.[6]

IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.[7]
(from Scott!)
I am asking, if that isn't clear, if you think only the ceremonial laws or judicial laws which have been specifically pronounced fulfilled are now abrogated, as stated in the Standards.

Thank you all! And this is a time when I really wish my husband was home, b/c I know he could explain it to me and spare you all:)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Here's Samuel Rutherford on the Judicials:
He that is circumcised becomes debtor to the whole law, sure to all the ceremonies of Moses his law: So I argue, a peri, from the like: He that will keep one judicial law, because judicial and given by Moses, becometh debtor to keep the whole judicial law under pain of God’s eternal wrath.
He is not arguing there FOR meticulous attendance to the Judicials, but contrasting our freedom from the law.

God's positive prescriptions were MORAL when he gave them because they came from him. God could tell the Israelites to buy clothes only on Tuesday, and that would be moral, and who cares where you could "slot" that law in the 10C.

A positive law is one is circumstance-specific. "Do this because I said so and how I said so." It doesn't have to be grounded in anything except authority to give the order. When the Sabbath Command is said to be "positive, perpetual and moral" (WCF 21.7), "positive" there refers to the fact that at one point God could assign the 7th day, and at another time he has reassigned it to the 1st day.

God can give a positive command to Abraham (like: sacrifice your son), and Jacob doesn't have to obey that command. It's positive, and it didn't apply to him.

Moses' Law is gone. It's history; its done away with. The moral law, on which it was founded (like a cornerstone) is as immutable as God himself. The laws defining crimes and penalties for crimes were positive laws. Do they still advise the nations? Without question; they do absolutely, and they ought to be paid greater heed to. George Gillespie wrote:
I know some divines hold that the judicial law of Moses, so far as concerneth the punishments of sin against the moral law, idolatry, blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, adultry, theft, etc., ought to be a rule to the Christian magistrate and, for my part, I wish more respect were had to it, and that it were more consulted with.
That statement asks no more than the magistrate take heed to revelation given in the past, but stops far short of a full-blown commitment to theonomy. We are not obligated to Mosaic Judicials as if they had been positively given to us, as if we had inherited a judicial mantle from Israel. We are obligated only to the moral law undergirding the Judicials (what Calvin and our divines termed "the general equity").

And I've quoted Calvin already elsewhere to the same effect.


My counsel to Jessica: If you think the Bible might be speaking to a specific situation as yours from the Mosaic Law, try to determine what moral principle is present, and make a judgment on its applicability to you. Ask your pastor for help. And absent any comfort, always err on the side of caution and conscience.

And remember Paul's counsel, "ask no question for conscience sake." (1Cor.10:25, 27)
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
(Sorry, but one quick [slightly] off topic question)

Adam, Christusregnat, is that quote from Wholesome Severity?
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Are you saying that since the NT does not show the abrogation of the clothing laws, we are to still have borders, etc, as to please God? Or does the NT show the abrogation of that specific law?

Good question. I would say that the N.T. by good and necessary consequence, demonstrates that clothing and dietary laws were for the people of the Jews, and are abrogated in the N.T. Consider, for instance, that the kingdom of God is not "meat and drink", but "righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost". If it is not meat and drink, how much less clothing? Peter was commanded to call no man unclean (meaning, Cornelius, the Gentile), and Cornelius did not observe such customs (whether clothing or food).


This is theonomy, saying that the civil law should still be upheld by magistrates, right? (I know this is sometimes a bad word and I don't mean it to be) Does that really speak to ceremonial law?

Theonomy is not a bad word; it simply means God's law in family, church, individual decisions and commonwealth. It is not exclusively about the civil aspects, although this is generally the bone of contention.


So in your opinion, is this the answer: Any law in the OT is still binding, UNLESS it is abrogated specifically by Christ in the NT?

Yes. "abrogated specifically" meaning explicitly or by good and necessary consequence.

Rather than: Any law in the OT is fulfilled, UNLESS it is moral by nature (and thus will fit into the sphere of the Ten Commandments, if not by exact speech, but by principle).

I don't think these two views are "either/or". If any OT law is moral in nature, it would not be abrogated in the NT. If a law is abrogated in the NT, it was not a moral law in itself.

And do you disagree with the Standards here, or do you think what you described is supported here:
III. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits;[4] and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties.[5] All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the New Testament.[6]

IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.[7]
(from Scott!)

I believe that the point I've made above, that ceremonies are abolished, but that Judicials have ongoing requirements in the NT. Notice that the ceremonials have no ongoing obligation, while the Judicials do. Notice also that the ceremonies were abrogated, while the Judicials expired. For more detail on the applicability of the Judicial laws, one may review the Larger Catechism's teaching on the 10 Cmds.



I am asking, if that isn't clear, if you think only the ceremonial laws or judicial laws which have been specifically pronounced fulfilled are now abrogated, as stated in the Standards.

Thank you all! And this is a time when I really wish my husband was home, b/c I know he could explain it to me and spare you all:)

Indeed, defer to your husband. As for the judicials being pronounced as abrogated, this is not the teaching of our standards, nor of Christ. To quote Gillespie (an influential Scottish delegate to the Westminster Assembly) further:

(2.) Christ's words (Matt. 5:17), Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill, are comprehensive of the judicial law, it being a part of the law of Moses. Now he could not fulfill the judicial law, except either by his practice, or by teaching others still to observe it; not by his own practice, for he would not condemn the adulteress (Jn. 8:11), nor divide the inheritance (Luke 12:13-14). Therefore it must be by his doctrine for our observing it.

(3.) If Christ in his sermon (Matt. 5), would teach that the moral law belongs to us Christians, in so much as he vindicates it from the false glosses of the scribes and Pharisees; then he meant to hold forth the judicial law concerning moral trespasses as belonging unto us also; for he vindicates and interprets the judicial law, as well as the moral (Matt. 5:38), An eye for an eye, etc.

More can be read here:

Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty, by George Gillespie

Cheers,

Adam

-----Added 1/9/2009 at 01:46:46 EST-----

(Sorry, but one quick [slightly] off topic question)

Adam, Christusregnat, is that quote from Wholesome Severity?

Indeed, generously provided to all us Cyber-geeks by our very own Chris Coldwell:

Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty, by George Gillespie

Cheers,

Adam
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Here's Samuel Rutherford on the Judicials:
He that is circumcised becomes debtor to the whole law, sure to all the ceremonies of Moses his law: So I argue, a peri, from the like: He that will keep one judicial law, because judicial and given by Moses, becometh debtor to keep the whole judicial law under pain of God’s eternal wrath.
He is not arguing there FOR meticulous attendance to the Judicials, but contrasting our freedom from the law.

God's positive prescriptions were MORAL when he gave them because they came from him. God could tell the Israelites to buy clothes only on Tuesday, and that would be moral, and who cares where you could "slot" that law in the 10C.

A positive law is one is circumstance-specific. "Do this because I said so and how I said so." It doesn't have to be grounded in anything except authority to give the order. When the Sabbath Command is said to be "positive, perpetual and moral" (WCF 21.7), "positive" there refers to the fact that at one point God could assign the 7th day, and at another time he has reassigned it to the 1st day.

God can give a positive command to Abraham (like: sacrifice your son), and Jacob doesn't have to obey that command. It's positive, and it didn't apply to him.

Moses' Law is gone. It's history; its done away with. The moral law, on which it was founded (like a cornerstone) is as immutable as God himself. The laws defining crimes and penalties for crimes were positive laws. Do they still advise the nations? Without question; they do absolutely, and they ought to be paid greater heed to. George Gillespie wrote:
I know some divines hold that the judicial law of Moses, so far as concerneth the punishments of sin against the moral law, idolatry, blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, adultry, theft, etc., ought to be a rule to the Christian magistrate and, for my part, I wish more respect were had to it, and that it were more consulted with.
That statement asks no more than the magistrate take heed to revelation given in the past, but stops far short of a full-blown commitment to theonomy. We are not obligated to Mosaic Judicials as if they had been positively given to us, as if we had inherited a judicial mantle from Israel.

And I've quoted Calvin already elsewhere to the same effect.


My counsel to Jessica: If you think the Bible might be speaking to a specific situation as yours from the Mosaic Law, try to determine what moral principle is present, and make a judgment on its applicability to you. Ask your pastor for help. And absent any comfort, always err on the side of caution and conscience.

And remember Paul's counsel, "ask no question for conscience sake." (1Cor.10:25, 27)


I meant no offense and was not trying to take an easy way out. I was simply trying to determine HOW we realize if something is moral or civil. I was not trying to "slot" anything into the Ten Commandments just to make myself feel that something was permissible. I was sincerely wondering if, in order to be Moral, we would see that the specific law would have to be accounted for in at least one of the Ten.

I obviously know that obedience to God IS moral. I was asking which part of the "obedience to God" parts were specific to Israel and how do we determine so.

I have no personal issue, right now, but thank you for the advice. We were discussing tattoos, and that thread was shut off. There were a few of us confused about which Levitical laws remain. So I decided to ask if a Levitical law would have to be supported by the revealed Moral Law, as in the Ten Commandments, in order to classify it as Moral, rather than ceremonial or civil. I did not use the tattoo example b/c I did not want to disrespect the mod who chose to close the thread--nor did I want to ask specifically about tattoos.

But I guess what I'm hearing is,

Only if the law is specifically abrogated, it is not binding,

instead of what I thought:

Only if the law can be found to represent a specific principle reflected in the Ten Commandments, it is binding.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
But I guess what I'm hearing is,

Only if the law is specifically abrogated, it is not binding,

instead of what I thought:

Only if the law can be found to represent a specific principle reflected in the Ten Commandments, it is binding.

I think that I would hold to both, because I think they are compatible, while others may hold to the latter only. That is what I meant by a subdivision among the reformed in my first post.

Cheers,

Adam
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
But I guess what I'm hearing is,

Only if the law is specifically abrogated, it is not binding,

instead of what I thought:

Only if the law can be found to represent a specific principle reflected in the Ten Commandments, it is binding.

I think that I would hold to both, because I think they are compatible, while others may hold to the latter only. That is what I meant by a subdivision among the reformed in my first post.

Cheers,

Adam

Can you tell me what you think this would look like with tattoos, only b/c that is a good example, not b/c I really want to debate tats. Would tattoos also be, "if not meat, how much less tattoos?" Or is there another way to determine that that is still a binding law. (TRULY, I am not wanting to debate that. As far as I can tell, it was tattoos to commemorate the dead, anyway. I just want to see a specific thing go through this system. Since you said it allowed for clothing, without a specific mention, do you think it also allows for tattoos, or how about beards, or...)

Your post:
I would say that the N.T. by good and necessary consequence, demonstrates that clothing and dietary laws were for the people of the Jews, and are abrogated in the N.T. Consider, for instance, that the kingdom of God is not "meat and drink", but "righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost". If it is not meat and drink, how much less clothing? Peter was commanded to call no man unclean (meaning, Cornelius, the Gentile), and Cornelius did not observe such customs (whether clothing or food).
 

Zeno333

Puritan Board Freshman
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.


I KNOW that pork is ceremonial, but I felt it would be disrespectful to Bob V. to reopen the tattoo debate and I couldn't think of something that people still debate over, other than tattoos.
So I was pretending that we still wondered whether pork was ceremonial or moral. For is that the way that we did determine that pork is no longer binding, because it does not go against the Ten Commandments??
And, is that the way we could determine any other cloudy area? Like tattoos, or headcoverings, etc.?????

So my real question is NOT about pork, but rather how did we determine that pork is ceremonial and was the way I showed a proper way to prove that pork is ceremonial, since it does not go against any of the MORAL law.
If so, then can we say that it is proper to line up tattoos with the Ten Commandments to determine their acceptance?

-----Added 1/9/2009 at 12:29:00 EST-----

Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law, though I suppose theonomists would disagree with this (see below).

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.

Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

Although to break the ceremonial Law always was a violation of the 1st commandment... so in a real sense the 10 commandments (and the "Two Great Commandments") summarize it all.

If that is true, then how is a ceremonial law not binding to us today, since God changeth not?

This may help or it may not, but here is how I understand it...(a pretty famous preacher said this, but I forget who it was, sorry about that, but I will summarize it here...

The main purpose of the Ceremonial Law was to help "prepare" Israel for a particular "aspect" of the coming of the Messiah, and that "aspect" was the concept of "Holiness". One of the principle definitions and meanings of being Hoily was and is to be "separated from". This was a concept that was very foreign to the ancient Israelites and God wished to sort of gradually introduce the concept of "Holiness" to them....so God chose to do it many different ways, and one of those ways was to "separate", or "make Holy" certain types of foods. So if a Ceremonial Law has behind it the idea of "making holy", or "separating", then it is not to now be taken as moral law, since God has already successfully introduced the concept of Holiness by way of the ultimate example of Holiness, Jesus.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Jessica,

This is a cloudy area for me as well, but I think the standard response would be that the law against eating pork was ceremonial, not moral (the standard Reformed distinction recognizes ceremonial, civil, and moral law in the Pentateuch). Therefore this particular law would not need to be subsumed under one of the ten commandments, since they summarize the moral law, not all of the law.

I'll add that the practical application of the formula is mostly arbitrary. Throughout Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are "laws" that are more or less obviously moral, while some say that many laws overlap more than one of the groups. So we have this general principle (three-fold division of the law) espoused in important Reformed documents, but when it comes to deciding which laws actually fit into which category, it's every man for himself, as you have seen in the tattoo thread.


I KNOW that pork is ceremonial, but I felt it would be disrespectful to Bob V. to reopen the tattoo debate and I couldn't think of something that people still debate over, other than tattoos.
So I was pretending that we still wondered whether pork was ceremonial or moral. For is that the way that we did determine that pork is no longer binding, because it does not go against the Ten Commandments??
And, is that the way we could determine any other cloudy area? Like tattoos, or headcoverings, etc.?????

So my real question is NOT about pork, but rather how did we determine that pork is ceremonial and was the way I showed a proper way to prove that pork is ceremonial, since it does not go against any of the MORAL law.
If so, then can we say that it is proper to line up tattoos with the Ten Commandments to determine their acceptance?

-----Added 1/9/2009 at 12:29:00 EST-----



Although to break the ceremonial Law always was a violation of the 1st commandment... so in a real sense the 10 commandments (and the "Two Great Commandments") summarize it all.

If that is true, then how is a ceremonial law not binding to us today, since God changeth not?

This may help or it may not, but here is how I understand it...(a pretty famous preacher said this, but I forget who it was, sorry about that, but I will summarize it here...

The main purpose of the Ceremonial Law was to help "prepare" Israel for a particular "aspect" of the coming of the Messiah, and that "aspect" was the concept of "Holiness". One of the principle definitions and meanings of being Hoily was and is to be "separated from". This was a concept that was very foreign to the ancient Israelites and God wished to sort of gradually introduce the concept of "Holiness" to them....so God chose to do it many different ways, and one of those ways was to "separate", or "make Holy" certain types of foods. So if a Ceremonial Law has behind it the idea of "making holy", or separating, then it is not to now be taken as moral law, since God has already successfully introduced the concept of Holiness by way of the ultimate example of Holiness, Jesus.

Where have you been!!!;)That was very helpful!!
Thanks, Roy!!!!
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Can you tell me what you think this would look like with tattoos, only b/c that is a good example, not b/c I really want to debate tats. Would tattoos also be, "if not meat, how much less tattoos?" Or is there another way to determine that that is still a binding law. (TRULY, I am not wanting to debate that. As far as I can tell, it was tattoos to commemorate the dead, anyway. I just want to see a specific thing go through this system. Since you said it allowed for clothing, without a specific mention, do you think it also allows for tattoos, or how about beards, or...)

Your post:
I would say that the N.T. by good and necessary consequence, demonstrates that clothing and dietary laws were for the people of the Jews, and are abrogated in the N.T. Consider, for instance, that the kingdom of God is not "meat and drink", but "righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost". If it is not meat and drink, how much less clothing? Peter was commanded to call no man unclean (meaning, Cornelius, the Gentile), and Cornelius did not observe such customs (whether clothing or food).


Jessica,

The standing principal of continuity would demand that I have evidence to overturn the levitical prohibition to marking oneself:

Leviticus 19:27-29 (King James Version)
27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. 28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. 29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.

What one does to his body, in my understanding of Scripture, is a moral issue. If any of these would be restricted by the qualifier "for the dead" it would be making cuttings in your flesh. Printing marks upon us does not seem to be connected with "for the dead."

Even if it were, however, the body is still God's temple, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Our body is for the Lord, and to purposefully put graffitti on the temple of the Holy Spirit is sinful, in my opinion. I have yet to hear a Christian argument for making cuttings in your flesh, but I'm sure it's coming.

Also, when connecting tats to "cutting the corner of your beard" wouldn't it make more sense to connect it with what follows (29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness)? Our bodies are for the Lord, and are not for whoredom, or for tats.

All that to say, I find that the N.T. only strengthens the law's teaching on prohibitions to wilful disfigurement of God's masterpiece of clay: the human body.

Cheers,

Adam
 

Zeno333

Puritan Board Freshman
Where have you been!!!;)That was very helpful!!
Thanks, Roy!!!!

Glad it helped. I think I remember who said it.. it was probably the late Dr Boice who was at 10th Presbyterian in Philadelphia...I think it was one of his radio sermons some years ago.

I remember another part of Boice's sermon on the subject....God did not want to right away slam the ultimate example of Holiness, that being God in the flesh, upon the earth, that would be too much of a shock, so people had to gradually be inclined to the idea of Holiness....God was merciful in doing it gradually, and not in a "wham bam" style of just throwing Jesus down to an unprepared earth.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Can you tell me what you think this would look like with tattoos, only b/c that is a good example, not b/c I really want to debate tats. Would tattoos also be, "if not meat, how much less tattoos?" Or is there another way to determine that that is still a binding law. (TRULY, I am not wanting to debate that. As far as I can tell, it was tattoos to commemorate the dead, anyway. I just want to see a specific thing go through this system. Since you said it allowed for clothing, without a specific mention, do you think it also allows for tattoos, or how about beards, or...)

Your post:
I would say that the N.T. by good and necessary consequence, demonstrates that clothing and dietary laws were for the people of the Jews, and are abrogated in the N.T. Consider, for instance, that the kingdom of God is not "meat and drink", but "righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost". If it is not meat and drink, how much less clothing? Peter was commanded to call no man unclean (meaning, Cornelius, the Gentile), and Cornelius did not observe such customs (whether clothing or food).


Jessica,

The standing principal of continuity would demand that I have evidence to overturn the levitical prohibition to marking oneself:

Leviticus 19:27-29 (King James Version)
27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. 28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. 29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.

What one does to his body, in my understanding of Scripture, is a moral issue. If any of these would be restricted by the qualifier "for the dead" it would be making cuttings in your flesh. Printing marks upon us does not seem to be connected with "for the dead."

Even if it were, however, the body is still God's temple, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Our body is for the Lord, and to purposefully put graffitti on the temple of the Holy Spirit is sinful, in my opinion. I have yet to hear a Christian argument for making cuttings in your flesh, but I'm sure it's coming.

Also, when connecting tats to "cutting the corner of your beard" wouldn't it make more sense to connect it with what follows (29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness)? Our bodies are for the Lord, and are not for whoredom, or for tats.

All that to say, I find that the N.T. only strengthens the law's teaching on prohibitions to wilful disfigurement of God's masterpiece of clay: the human body.

Cheers,

Adam

Thank you! I still see a disconnect, but I see what you're saying! I would say that the prostitute issue is Moral Law, b/c it would be causing your daughter to be in adultery, at the very, very least. I would think, maybe that verse, though, is still actually not the Moral Law, since the reasons were to keep the land from becoming wicked. I think "don't turn your daughters into prostitutes," was given as an example of a work that Israel could do to earn or keep righteousness. But the prostitution, itself, does go against Moral Law.
Does that make any sense?

Thank you, very much, for helping clarify this!
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Thank you! I still see a disconnect, but I see what you're saying! I would say that the prostitute issue is Moral Law, b/c it would be causing your daughter to be in adultery, at the very, very least. I would think, maybe that verse, though, is still actually not the Moral Law, since the reasons were to keep the land from becoming wicked. I think "don't turn your daughters into prostitutes," was given as an example of a work that Israel could do to earn or keep righteousness. But the prostitution, itself, does go against Moral Law.
Does that make any sense?

Thank you, very much, for helping clarify this!

You are welcome. Israel did nothing to earn God's favor, or His righteousness. God gave them the judicial, moral and ceremonial laws as an act of His grace.

Perhaps I should state the case another way. The moral law is summarized by the 10 Cmds. The moral law applies to many different areas of life: personal, family, church and civil. Therefore, what we call "judicial laws" are merely civil applications of the moral law. What the WCF refers to as "judicial laws" are things peculiar to Israel, or the state of that people.

Therefore, preventing the land from going to harlotry is merely a moral law applied to civil society, calling for harlots to be executed, etc. as moral sanctions applied by the civil ruler.

Thus, prostitution is against the moral law in its personal, family, and civil applications. Personal: God will judge such a one, and her conscience will gnaw at her; family, because such a person would be liable to lawful divorce; civil, because such a person ought to be executed. One law, applied by different spheres with different sanctions to protect the law.

Cheers,

Adam
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I guess I should clarify that I don't believe that it was possible for Israel to actually earn God's favor, or His righteousness, because they were unable to be righteous.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Or, we could say that it was hypothetically possible for Israel to obey the law, but that, because of sin, they were not able to do so. Hence Jesus, the one True and Faithful Israelite who did obey the law perfectly.

-----Added 1/9/2009 at 03:54:19 EST-----

It also seems to me that an aspect of this that needs exploring is that of "general equity." When looking at how OT law still applies, we look for what is called general equity. I suppose one could define this as the principle by which a particular ceremonial or civil law connects to the moral law. This has been hinted at in the thread already. For instance, having some sort of guard on the top of one's flat-roofed house in ancient Israel is a way of protecting life, which is the positive aspect of the sixth commandment. So, the general equity principle here is to protect life in your home. The example would apply today, for instance, in putting something around a pool so that children will not fall in accidentally and drown. Of course, some might call this common sense. :p But there is, I believe, a connection with the moral law.

There will always be differences on how clear a general equity principle will be on a given OT law, although some laws are definitely clearer than others. What one could do as a great study is to go through all 613 OT laws and seek to discover the general equity principle involved in it. And we must also expand our definition of "application" so as to include what we must believe, not only what we must do in relation to what God has said.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Or, we could say that it was hypothetically possible for Israel to obey the law, but that, because of sin, they were not able to do so. Hence Jesus, the one True and Faithful Israelite who did obey the law perfectly.

Excellent point! It is helpful to keep the three uses of the law in mind in discussing the law:

1. The political use, to guide the magistrate in how to define the "evil" that he is to bare the sword against.

2. The evangelical use, to convict us of our need of God's mercy and righteousness in Christ alone.

3. The ongoing use for the Christian as part of his sanctification.


Anytime one of these uses of the law is denied, you have a non-reformed concept of law.

Cheers,

Adam

-----Added 1/9/2009 at 03:57:14 EST-----

There will always be differences on how clear a general equity principle will be on a given OT law, although some laws are definitely clearer than others. What one could do as a great study is to go through all 613 OT laws and seek to discover the general equity principle involved in it. And we must also expand our definition of "application" so as to include what we must believe, not only what we must do in relation to what God has said.

Amen!

So, when is your book coming out, and do you need a proofreader? :lol:

Adam
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
-----Added 1/9/2009 at 03:57:14 EST-----

There will always be differences on how clear a general equity principle will be on a given OT law, although some laws are definitely clearer than others. What one could do as a great study is to go through all 613 OT laws and seek to discover the general equity principle involved in it. And we must also expand our definition of "application" so as to include what we must believe, not only what we must do in relation to what God has said.

Amen!

So, when is your book coming out, and do you need a proofreader? :lol:

Adam[/QUOTE]

Good grief! Let me get my Ph.D. thesis done first! ;)
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Well, I'll PM you, so as not to hijack Jessica's thread (said while hijacking her thread in order to inform you that I'll PM you). :lol:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top