Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever – Heb 13:8

Growth Through The Word Of God – Part 2 – The Legal Document

THE WORD OF GOD AS A LEGAL DOCUMENT
Deu 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
Deu 30:12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Deu 30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
Deu 30:16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Deu 30:17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
Deu 30:18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

INTRODUCTION: CONTRACTS: I DEAL WITH THEM EVERY DAY.
Wording is important. Become a legal document. It becomes enforceable by the law.

Last week we looked at the Word of God as a detailed textbook. We saw that it contains not only the theory or sections containing certain truth, but that it also contains the examples of that truth demonstrated with real life examples in its pages and through its recorded history. With that said, it also provides tests or questions that we must answer for ourselves in order to see whether we have understood the message it teaches. Through its study, we grow in spiritual maturity. Today we examine the Bible as a legal document, with statutes, witnesses and judgments.

In the passage we just read, God had rescued Israel from Egyptian slavery. Soon after they departed and walked between walls of water across the red sea, they managed to disobey, murmur and complain, rebel and reject His ways. Their disobedience would cause them to walk in the wilderness as a people for 40 years. Only two people of the original group were left. Not even Moses made it into the promised land.

But before they would enter that promised land, God reminded them that they had been given His law from the top of Mt Sinai. They had it written down and memorised in their hearts. They now had a choice. On one hand there was a promise.

Deu 30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
Deu 30:16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

On the other hand, there was also a curse. It was their choice.

Deu 30:17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
Deu 30:18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

But God was making it clear before heaven and earth that an agreement was about to be entered into. A contract was about to be signed. A promise was about to be delivered.

Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

This book we hold in our hands contains the wording of that contract. This is the legal document signed off by the people of Israel in an agreement that was supposed to be the foundation of their new life in Israel, but they failed to keep their agreement with God time and time again. In fact there are other agreements made between God and man in the pages of the word of God.

The Bible is made of two main sections: Old Testament and New testament.

The subject that I am speaking of here is the significant agreement / covenant made between God and man. Specifically, between God and the people of Israel, who were the custodians of His law, His promises and His expectations. Why do I say expectations? Because they were to be the heralds of God to the whole world. They were to be His witnesses and the people who would receive the coming Messiah and King…they were to let everyone know about it BEFORE He arrived. But they failed. In fact they did not even recognise Him when he did arrive.

Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

They failed in their basic obligations to the Lord as His representatives in this world. But was this a surprise to God? No. And it was not a surprise to Moses himself either.

Now let’s look at a chapter further on in Deuteronomy, where Moses gives instructions as to what to do with the Book of the Law that he had written. Essentially these were the first five books of the Bible we hold in our hands today.
Deu 31:24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
Deu 31:25 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying,
Deu 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
Deu 31:27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?
Deu 31:28 Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
Deu 31:29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
What an amazing declaration! What a stinging rebuke for something they had not even done yet!
And why were these first five books (including Genesis) be put inside the ark of the covenant (agreement) for? As a testimony AGAINST them!

The Ark of the Covenant literally means the “Box of the Agreement” Two angels are on each side of the Mercy Seat on top and their wings touch. They looked down into the box (the ark) which held the books, the manna and the staff of Aaron. All things which were evidence against Israel (mankind) in a legal manner!

Deu 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

It was this same box that would be put in the holiest place in the temple and once a year, the high priest would sacrifice a lamb for the sin of the people and spill its blood on the top of that box. And as the two angels (witnesses) looked down into that box they would see the blood which covered the sin and be satisfied.

Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

In these passages, God calls heaven and earth as witnesses in this agreement.
When the law was placed in the ark of the covenant, there were two sculpted angels which looked at that law as a reminder of the agreement.

There is a principle that God established in the Bible that for any crime worthy of death, there must be two or three witnesses otherwise there would be no penalty.

Deu 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

In the same manner two or three witnesses were required to establish the truth in a legal matter and in the church as well.

Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

DISPENSATIONS:

For those of you who are a little more interested in the nuances of biblical interpretation, one of the systems of Biblical interpretation which brings out these covenantal agreements between God and man is what is called dispensationalism. It essentially looks at the various ways God has dealt with mankind over the ages and the agreements that have existed and will exist and how man has essentially broken them each time.

This Mosaic law that we have been looking at is but one of the agreements entered into between God and man. This is the age of law. Man has ultimately and individually failed to keep God’s laws.
Before the law, existed the period of human government, this is when God had to scatter man throughout the law and confuse his language because man chose to build a tower to heaven and seek their own fame and glory. Before this came a period of Conscience, after Adam and Eve were driven from the garden. During this time, violence became so prevalent throughout the earth, murder and hatred so great that God had to destroy the whole planet with a flood to save the few only 8 in total that were still undefiled. These were Noah and his family.

And before this time was the time of innocence, when the two first people created. Let’s look at that agreement with a little more detail.

THE GARDEN
When God created the universe and earth and everything in it, He created man as the sovereign ruler of this world and put him in a garden to teach him directly about love, work, creativity and morality.

Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

God gave them but one rule and one rule alone. Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is why we call this the age of innocence. They did not understand evil. They were like children in innocence but fully developed in terms of their intelligence.

Compare this to the hundreds and thousands of rules and laws that we must obey each and every day of our lives.
Yet with only one rule, a perfect environment, a perfect relationship and an innocent heart, Satan managed to convince Adam and Eve that it would be better to break the rule, gain the knowledge through the tree instead of through the gentle teaching of God and seek to become gods themselves. In other words, they would not need God anymore. They could be totally independent of Him.

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Satan managed to convince Adam and Eve with the same lie and corruption that he convinced 1/3 of the angelic host in heaven of. That they could break off the shackles of a God who wanted to hold them back and they could be like God Himself. But in their betrayal of their creator they would die both physically and spiritually.

In doing so, they bowed the knee to Satan rather than God Almighty and relinquished their sovereignty of the world to Satan who then became the god of this world and it is still so to this day. Have a look at some of the description that Bible has IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, of Satan.

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

In these three brief passages, the devil is described as the god of this world, a principality, power and ruler enthroned in high places and the prince of the power of the air, that works in the lives of sinners.
Is it any wonder that when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness his final offer to Jesus to break the commandments of God was:

Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

The devil was not lying here. Legally, he became the god of this world and the people of this world became his subjects when our parents obeying him and ate of that fruit.
The words written in this document we call the Bible is the testimony of God against mankind. It is the legal basis and the evidence of all we see around us and the rightful conviction and punishment that mankind deserves. Why? Because man, whether he understood this or not became an enemy of God and the citizen of a planet at war with heaven.

We are all guilty according to the laws of God. Clearly, the Bible teaches that mankind’s problem is one of sin and identity. And mankind has a problem with both, sinner by nature and conduct and an identity as a citizen of a kingdom at war with heaven.

But despite this God has extended an agreement to the entire world that we now live in and can receive for ourselves. It is a plan which cost Him the life of His only begotten Son. This is the agreement we call the New Testament (Covenant). This is what the Bible calls the Gospel (the good news) for mankind. This agreement is the only hope for all of mankind.

Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

These two verses repeat for us what we have exactly been speaking about. That we are without strength to save ourselves, much like a convicted criminal not being able to say a anything because of their guilt. But it also says that we were not worth according to human standards for a righteous man worth giving up his life for. How many good people would willingly trade places with a convicted murderer for instance. This is the analogy. BUT!
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
But the Bible says that God’s love was so great for us and His desire so powerful to save us, that He sent His Son (Jesus Christ) to die for us and in our place. Now this is where the legal stuff gets interesting.

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

If a person receives the payment for sin made by Jesus Christ on the cross, then the Bible declares that person JUSTIFIED before God. They are totally innocent and free from condemnation. MUCH MORE will they then escape the Judgment, Condemnation and penalty that they deserved.

Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

This is the real message of Christianity, that God has done everything He could do to redeem mankind back to himself, but the truth is that even though he has done this, mankind will by and large reject His offer and refuse His love. Jesus has already told us that there would be few who would choose to enter that narrow gate or walk that narrow path. In the end the record we have in the pages of the Bible will be a testimony against them. And what is the record that will one day be used against every one that rejects the offer that God has provided?

1Jn 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
The offer is simple and the genuine. If you have Jesus Christ in your life, you have life and God is offering this eternal life for anyone who will receive it. Yes, salvation is a wonderful gift and not something we have to try to earn… we never could.

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Every person must be judged: but whether you will one day stand before God and have to pay for your own sin will depend on your decision today. If you choose Christ, He will be your Saviour and you will know Him as Lord. The Bible also says that during your life, he will be your advocate as well

1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

What a wonderful deal, A Saviour and an advocate when I sin an fail, but one day he will finish His role as an advocate and He will become the Judge of the earth. Yes.

Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Joh 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: