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    April 15, 1886

    “Abolishing the Enmity” The Signs of the Times, 12, 15.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Although we have shown by repeated arguments and texts of Scripture, that the law endures forever, and have shown that Christ did not come to relax any of its claims, but that he is the “end of the law,” in that he enables sinners to keep it, and thus to secure the life to which the law was ordained, there is a text which to some may seem to be a contradiction, or which may at least cause confusion in their minds. That text, therefore, shall be our next study; it reads thus: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:14, 15.SITI April 15, 1886, page 231.1

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.” 2 Timothy 3:16. Therefore there can be no contradiction in the Bible, and the text just quoted cannot contradict those texts which say that the law cannot be abolished. Although a certain “law of commandments contained in ordinances” is spoken of as having been “abolished,” even before we study it, our faith in the integrity of the Scriptures forces us to conclude that in this text a law is referred to, different from that of which Christ said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17.SITI April 15, 1886, page 231.2

    Let us contrast certain expressions. That which is abolished is said to have been “enmity;” but Paul says: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10. And John says: “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3. Certainly the same thing cannot be both love and enmity. Again Paul says: “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12. Surely then it is not the law of God to which he applies the term “enmity.” He also says: “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Romans 7:22. But he would not delight in that which was enmity; therefore we know that Ephesians 2:15 has no reference to the law of God, or ten commandments.SITI April 15, 1886, page 231.3

    Go back now to the time when the law was given from Sinai. The record says that after God had spoken the ten commandments, “he added no more” (Deuteronomy 5:22); and we have seen that all that God spoke from the mount on the day of the assembly, was written by him on the two tables of stone, and that nothing but the ten commandments was so written. The people, however, could not know that God intended to speak no more than his own holy law, and they said to Moses: “Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” “Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee.” Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 5:27.SITI April 15, 1886, page 231.4

    Accordingly God told Moses to say to the people, “Get you into your tents again.” “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” Deuteronomy 5:30; Exodus 20:21. Moses was in the mount with God forty days, receiving instruction for the people; and the fact that the people received instruction through Moses, besides that which the Lord spoke to them directly, is thus noted in Nehemiah’s prayer: “Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments; and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.” Nehemiah 9:13, 14.SITI April 15, 1886, page 231.5

    Those things which were given by the hand of Moses are recorded chiefly in Exodus, chapters 25-30, and in Leviticus. Among them were many burdensome ceremonies,-the requirement that every male should go up to Jerusalem three times in every year, circumcision, “diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:10. We say that these ceremonies were burdensome, for Peter himself said that they were a yoke, “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” Acts 15:10.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.1

    Moreover, some of them, at least, were an “enmity,” or a cause of enmity, between the Jews and Gentiles. The ceremony of circumcision, which was designed to serve as a line of demarcation between the Jews and the Gentiles, was especially the cause of much enmity. The Jews regarded it as a sure proof of their superior sanctity, and therefore looked with contempt upon the uncircumcised Gentiles; while the Gentiles in turn hated the Jews, and despised their circumcision, looking upon it as little different from a badge of slavery. Acts 11:2, 3 indicates how the Jews regarded those who were uncircumcised.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.2

    This rite of circumcision was done away in Christ. It was given to Abraham as a sign or “seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised.” Romans 4:11. Thus we see it was designed to mark a real separation, the separation which always exists between the righteous and the wicked. But when a Jew departed from God, his circumcision and separation from the Gentiles was only an outward form, a mockery. Paul assures us that real circumcision is “of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:20.God looks upon the heart, and demands that righteousness shall be from within, and not merely from without, as an outward sign. The man who is pure in heart is really separated from the world more completely than he could possibly be by any mere outward mark. And so “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” Galatians 6:15.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.3

    Thus this source of enmity, which really served as a barrier to the Gentiles, was taken away. We say it served as a barrier to the Gentiles, because, being uncircumcised, they were held to be rejected of God, and would naturally make less effort to become his followers. The Jews, also, in their sectional pride and vain confidence, were really separated from the true Israel. But when this cause of enmity was removed, both could be united in one body by the cross, and so find peace. But after circumcision as an outward sign lost its force, the keeping of God’s holy law still remained as a primary obligation. Said Paul: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” 1 Corinthians 7:19. And the keeping of the commandments from the heart constitutes the true circumcision, whose praise is of God.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.4

    Among the “ordinances” there were also various sacrifices. In the fourth chapter of Leviticus we find an account of the sin-offerings. We cannot take time to go over the ground in detail, but simply refer the reader to that chapter, also Leviticus 6:25-30; 10:16-18, and chapter 16. In the service for sin, an innocent animal was substituted for the sinner, whose sins were confessed over it, and it was slain. Either the flesh or the blood was carried within the sanctuary, and the sinner was forgiven. On the last day of the year, a goat was slain as a sin-offering for all the people; its blood was taken within the sanctuary, and its body was burned. In every sacrifice for sin, the sin was considered as laid upon the substitute as a whole, and it was entirely consumed.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.5

    But these sacrifices did not atone for a single sin: “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. The only one who can remove sin is the Lamb of God. John 1:29. He “appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:26. On him was laid “the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6), and he “bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” 1 Peter 2:24. After Christ’s sacrifice, those typical sacrifices that could not take away sin, were no longer required, as we read: “Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” Hebrews 10:5. And so it is literally true that “in his flesh” Christ abolished “the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” So it is that we are required to eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, if we would have eternal life. John 6:53-56.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.6

    One thought more. Where these ordinances were abolished “in the flesh,” it was “to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” And what alone can make peace? Let inspiration answer: “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165. “O that thou hadst hearkened unto my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:18. Paul, also, speaking of those who have sinned (i.e., transgressed the law), says, “And the way of peace have they not known.” Romans 3:17. Therefore we see that instead of the ten commandments of God being abolished “in his flesh,” they “stand fast forever and ever,” and are the bond of union of the “one new man;” they are the basis of the peace which both Jews and Gentiles who believe may have with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.7

    And so both those who are near, and those who were afar off, become together members of “the household of God,” not settled on a new basis, but “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20. E. J. W.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.8

    “Is It a Whimsey?” The Signs of the Times, 12, 15.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A noted California clergyman says that the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath is “a whimsey,” and a prominent religious journal of the coast indorses the statement. A whimsey is, “a whim; a freak; a capricious notion.” Let us see about this. About four thousand years ago a mountain in Arabia “was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as a spoken of a furnace, and all whole mount quaked greatly.” Exodus 19:18. “He came with ten thousands of his holy ones; from his right hand went forth a fiery law for them.” Deuteronomy 33:2. This law was spoken by God himself “out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice (Deuteronomy 5:22); and was written upon tables of stone. “The tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Exodus 32:16. Of this law the psalmist says: “Thy word is true from the beginning; and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever.” Psalm 119:160. And again: “And his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” Psalm 111:7, 8. Christ himself said that “one jot or one tittle” should in no wise pass from the law (Matthew 5:18), and that “it is it easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.9

    And now we find that the commandments which were spoken by God’s own terrible voice, amid scenes of the most awful grandeur, and which were written with his own finger in the imperishable stone, to indicate that every letter was to be as enduring as his own eternity, the fourth one reads as follows:-SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.10

    “Remember the Sabbath day [literally, the day of the Sabbath], to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.11

    What do you say, frieend? Is the keeping of the seventh day a capricious notion, a whim? If so, do you know of any thing that is reasonable, and which rests on a solid foundation? Read the book of Malachi, and see what the prophet says of those who say, “It is vain to serve God.” E. J. W.SITI April 15, 1886, page 232.12

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