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    July 27, 1891

    “The Law and the Gospel Co-extensive” The Signs of the Times, 17, 30.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In Nehemiah 9:13 we find the following words in the Levites’ confession to God: “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.” Here we have reference made to true laws and good statutes. A good and true law would in every case condemn sin; therefore the law here referred to is of the same character as that which, being transgressed, makes it necessary for the gospel to be preached. This law was given upon Mount Sinai; so we examine the law there given to see if it meets the requirements.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.60

    In the nineteenth chapter of Exodus we have a description of the preparation of the people to hear the law from Sinai. We read:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.61

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.” Exodus 19:10, 11.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.62

    “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” Exodus 19:16-18.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.63

    This was the condition of Mount Sinai when from it God spoke “true laws, good statutes and commandments.” Chapter 20, verses 3 to 17, contains the words which God spoke at that time. We quote them in full:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.64

    1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.65

    2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.66

    3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.67

    4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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 July 27, 1891, page 171.68

    5. “Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.69

    6. “Thou shalt not kill.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.70

    7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.71

    8. “Thou shalt not steal.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.72

    9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.73

    10. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbors.”SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.74

    These are the words which the Lord spoke in the hearing of all the people, from the midst of the fire and smoke upon Mount Sinai. Soon afterward he spoke to Moses, as follows:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.75

    “Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Exodus 24:12.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.76

    Accordingly, we find by reading the remaining verses of the chapter, that Moses went up into the mount, and remained there with God forty days and forty nights. While he was there, the Lord gave him minute directions concerning the building of the sanctuary. Then we read:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.77

    “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.78

    “And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand; the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Exodus 32:15, 16.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.79

    Then we are told how Moses, as he drew near the camp, saw the golden calf, and the people dancing around it, “and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath [at the foot of] the mount.” But this was not the end of the matter; for very soon we read thus:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.80

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” Exodus 34:1.SITI July 27, 1891, page 171.81

    We will now read the words of Moses, as he rehearses the whole matter to the Israelites, just before his death. We begin with the point last quoted:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.1

    “At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.” Deuteronomy 10:1-5.SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.2

    One more quotation on this point. In the course of Moses’ final address to the people, in which he rehearsed all their history in the wilderness, he repeated the substance of the ten commandments, and at the close he said:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.3

    “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” Deuteronomy 5:22.SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.4

    The gist of these texts of Scripture may be expressed as follows: The good and true laws which were spoken upon Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13) were the ten commandments, found in Exodus 20:3-17; these ten commandments were written by God himself on two tables of stone; and there was nothing spoken to the people by the Lord, except that which was placed upon the tables of stone (Deuteronomy 5:22). Therefore the words found in Exodus 20:3-17, and no others, form the ten commandments, the perfect law of God.SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.5

    But what has this to do with the gospel? Just this: We found that the gospel is the remedy for sin, which is the transgression of the law; and that the law must be in force as long and as extensively as the gospel is preached. We were concerned to know what law it is the transgression of which makes it necessary for the gospel to be preached, and we have now found it. One more step completes the identification. It is this:—SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.6

    Paul says (Romans 7:7): “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not know sin, but by the law; for I had not know lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” The law here referred to must be the same law that is referred to in John 3:4, because it is one that points out sin; it does this because it is “holy, and just, and good.” Therefore it is the law to which the gospel relates. And what law is it?—It is the law which condemns unlawful desire by saying, “Thou shalt not covet.” But this is the last one of the ten commandments. Therefore we have proved to a demonstration that the ten commandments of Exodus 20:3-17,—those commandments which were spoken by Jehovah, in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the smoke, and of the thick darkness, and which were written on two tables of stone and deposited in the ark,—form the law which points out sin. They are the law which has been universally trodden underfoot, making it necessary that the gospel should be preached in all the world, to every creature; and, therefore, it is as plain as the Scripture can make it, that they are still binding upon every creature in every part of the world. If it were otherwise, there would be no sin, and, consequently, no need of the gospel. Whoever, therefore, says that he is not under the jurisdiction of those ten commandments, virtually says that he has no sin; and whoever says that he has no sin, places himself outside of the gospel plan; for “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and no others. His salvation has reference only to those who have transgressed the law of God, the ten commandments.SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.7

    The above argument is, we think, so conclusive as to make it almost unnecessary to notice the assumption that the gospel of Christ is that which points out sin. If this were true, we should have Christ introducing the gospel into the world in order to save men from the rejection of it! That is, the remedy for the disease creates the disease, the remedy being introduced to cure that which without it would never have existed! Such an absurdity is too puerile to be entertained for a moment. The gospel must relate to something outside of and prior to itself. Since the gospel saves from sin, it is evident that sin existed before the gospel, and that it continues to exist so long as the gospel exists; and since sin is the transgression of the law, it is just as evident that the law existed before there was sin, and, consequently, before there was any gospel, or any need of it, and that it exists as long, at least, as the gospel exists. E. J. W.SITI July 27, 1891, page 235.8

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